3D Metal Printing
The 3D Metal printing is described as a process in which one can build a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model by continuously adding material layer by layer. It is also known as additive manufacturing. In the 1990s, this technique is considered suitable for the production of prototypes.
What’s New in 3D Metal Printing Technology?
The Targeted melting of metal powder by using high-power LED light sources i.e., Selective LED-based Melting(SLEDM), is the new technology has developed for 3D metal printing. It is now applied for a potent. This Technology is similar to SLM(selective laser melting) and EBM (electron beam melting), in which metal powder is melted with the help of laser or electron beam and build up a Three-dimensional object by adding material layer by layer.
Who Developed this Technique?
A team led by Franz Haas, head of the Institute of Production Engineering at TU Graz, has developed the “SLEDM”, 3D metal printing through LED-light.
Furthermore, SLEDM solves two major problems of these powder bed-based manufacturing processes.
- The time-consuming production of large volume metal products.
- The time-consuming manual post processing.
Reduced Production time:
The SLEDM process reducing the production time of components for fuel cell or medical technology, by a factor of 20 on average. In this process a high-power LED beam is used to melt the metal powder. The light-emitting diodes used for this were specially adapted by the west Styrian lighting specialist Preworks and equipped with a complex lens system through which the diameter of the LED focus can be easily changed between 0.05 and 20 mm during the melting process.
Tedious Reworking is no longer necessary:
This technology is combined with newly designed production plant which unlike other adds the component from top to bottom. The component is exposed; the required amount of powder is reduced to a minimum. The time-consuming, usually manual reworking i.e. smoothing rough surfaces and removing supporting structures is no longer necessary. Thus, saves further valuable time.
Fields of application of LED 3D Metal Printing:
A demonstrator of the SLEDM process is being considered in the K-Project CAMed of the Medical University of Graz. This process is used to produce bioresorbable metal implants. For example, preferably screws made of magnesium alloy which are used for bone fractures. These implants dissolve in the body after the fracture site grown together. So that the second operation which is very stressful for people, is no longer necessary. With the help of SLEDM, the production of such implants would be possible directly in operation theater, because LED light is less dangerous than a powerful laser source for operation.
The second focus is on sustainable mobility. For example the production of bipolar plates for fuel cells or components for battery system. So that we will produce a marketable prototype of this 3D metal printer, made by TU Graz.
The SLEDM process was developed in the FoE “Mobility and Production”, which is one of the five scientific research foci of Graz university of Technology.
At Graz University of Technology, various research groups are working on additive manufacturing processes.
(Content writer: umm-e-daniyal)