At IMTS, Methods 3D to Place AM in the Midst of Machine Tools

Machining demos will show additive parts postprocessed on CNC machines, and a high-speed 3D printing system will show fully automated production. “This is a manufacturing technology,” says company COO.


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This year at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), additive manufacturing gets its own pavilion. And that is fitting, says Jamie Hanson, chief operating officer for Methods 3D. But he says he is proud of the extent to which his company will be bringing AM right into the midst of the CNC machine tool technology within this show’s Metal Cutting Pavilion in the South Hall.

“This is a manufacturing technology,” he says. “We want to show additive manufacturing working alongside, and even in conjunction with, the manufacturing technologies we all know.” That is why Methods 3D, which is the group born out of Methods Machine Tools to bring 3D Systems AM technology to its customers, will be an integral part of Methods’ exhibit at the show (Booth S-9119).

In an efficient production process, additive and subtractive capabilities work together, Mr. Hanson says. In the company’s demonstration of this, two metal additive parts, both grown using 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing (DMP) technology, will be postprocessed using machine tools in the Methods booth. The two parts, after having been grown additively and removed from their build plates via EDM, will be seen being finished on a machining center and a lathe.

Hanson notes the Methods 3D section of the overall Methods booth will show various production-ready 3D printers, not only for making metal parts through DMP, but also for making end-use polymer parts through processes including MultiJet, stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS).

Of particular interest for manufacturing at production volumes is the “Figure 4” system, which Methods 3D is demonstrating in its robot-automated version. Figure 4 is 3D Systems’ new high-speed SLA technology, capable of generating parts around 25 times faster than typical SLA printers. Discrete modules in this system allow robots to pass 3D printed parts from printing to washing, curing and final finishing, all without human involvement.

 “Our message is that additive manufacturing isn’t a distant possibility and it isn’t black magic,” Mr. Hanson says. “There is now a range of established, efficient technologies for additive manufacturing that can be implemented on the plant floor today.”

Learn more about attending IMTS at imts.com.