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Japanese precision equipment manufacturer Sugino Machine Limited has launched a hybrid system that combines CNC machining with Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) 3D printing.
By incorporating a Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies AMBIT printhead and CNC machining head, the ‘XtenDED’ is said to be capable of producing and finishing parts with a greater throughput and accuracy. Thanks to its compatibility with nickel superalloys, cobalt-base superalloys and stainless steels, the machine could address demanding aerospace applications, where heat resistance is vital.
Sugino’s existing equipment offering
Initially founded in Japan in 1936, Sugino’s business is primarily focused on the manufacture of systems for the high-pressure cleaning, deburring, machining, drilling, tapping, burnishing and waterjet cutting of parts. Over the last 86 years, the firm has expanded significantly, opening a US division in 1980, but it continues to focus on helping clients drive manufacturing reliability, flexibility and accuracy.
The majority of the company’s current offering is targeted towards post-processing, and includes everything from high-pressure cleaning and deburring machines, to dry burst milling systems and burnishing tools.
That said, Sugino’s portfolio has long-included a range of CNC machining centers and modules. The firm’s Xion-II 5AX Compact Precision 5 Axis Center, is designed for precision machining while maximizing floor space, and running at up to half the operating cost of competitors. With the H-720, meanwhile, Sugino markets a system with a horizontal design, making it ideal for fitting to index machines.
XtenDED manufacturing capabilities
At the core of the XtenDED is a twin-head setup that combines the AMBIT laser processing head with the tool magazine of a CNC machine. Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies’ portfolio of AMBIT heads is designed to turn machines into hybrid production, finishing and inspection tools, making them ideal for Sugino’s dual-function system.
On the XtenDED, the printhead works by using a laser to melt powder feedstock as it arrives at the surface of a workpiece, and as this material cools, more layers can be added on top. By positioning a CNC machining head directly alongside this Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, the unit’s developer says it can post-process parts with improved accuracy, while driving productivity on the shop floor.
As LMD uses less energy and is more controllable layer-to-layer, Sugino says the XtenDED also has “significantly smaller heat-affected zone (HAZ)” than plasma or wire-based 3D printers. This, the company adds, makes the system “less wasteful than machining alone and more productive and precise than 3D printing alone,” while enabling it to offer users the best of both technologies.
In practice, the 300 x 400 x 200 mm machine is said to accelerate the product design to manufacturing process, while addressing prototyping applications, and enabling metal part repair and resurfacing. Sugino is also marketing the XtenDED as means of combining different alloys to lend components corrosion or heat resistance qualities, in a process that can be completed in a matter of minutes.
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for Sugino’s XtenDED 3D printer. Those interested in buying the machine can request a quote from Sugino here.
|Build Volume||300 x 400 x 200 mm|
|Build Rate||10-25 cm3/h|
|Head Deposition Width||0.8-1.2 mm|
|Power Range||200-700 W|
|Laser Type||1064 nm Fiber Laser|
|Gas||Argon – Nozzle and Shield|
|Powder Requirements||40-90 micron, spherical, gas atomized|
|CNC Type||Vertical 5-Axis|
|Rotation Speed||40,000 rpm|
|Machine Size||3,125 x 2,500 x 2,550 mm|
|Machine Weight||5,000 kg|
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Featured image shows Sugino’s XtenDED hybrid 3D printer. Photo via Sugino.