12/15/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Concept Laser to Offer Modular AM System

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The “AM Factory of Tomorrow” machine concept will be available as early as late 2016.

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The “AM Factory of Tomorrow” is a modular integrated machine concept from Concept Laser designed for improved quality, flexibility and production. The concept is intended to reduce downtime by splitting up build job preparation, additive manufacturing and postprocessing within any number of combinable modules. Modules are identified via RFID interfaces and linked directly without use of pipes or tubes. With relatively large build envelopes, the modules are intended to take the place of stand-alone machines and will be available in various heights. According to Concept Laser, the AM Factory of Tomorrow will enable 24/7 AM production, automated flow of materials and reduced operator workload. Market launch is expected as early as the end of  2016.

Modules for additive manufacturing will feature a variable focus diameter and will be optionally available with one, two or four laser optics with a laser power ranging from 400 to 1,000 W. Multiple lasers will ensure redundancy so that if one laser fails, the remaining three can cover the entire build plate and complete the job. A two-axis coating system will enable the coater to be returned during exposure for time savings. The coater blades can be changed automatically during the build, similar to automated tool changes in a CNC machine.

The concept’s handling stations will be equipped with an integrated sieving station and powder management capability. Unpacking, preparations for the next job and sieving will take place within this self-contained system, protecting the operator from contact with the powder. Each handling station can be linked to two process stations to create a manufacturing cell, or to additional handling stations to create a material preparation facility separate from the process stations. The consistent modular structure of the workhandling stations as well as the build and processing units enables greater flexibility. The company also says the system will make it easier to handle diverse materials.

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