December 5, 2018
Dear DE Reader:
We're now reaching that evolutionary tipping point where more manufacturers are getting into the 3D metal printing business and those already engaged are scaling up their capabilities. Wherever your footprint falls on that field, today's Editor's Pick of the Week should prove keenly interesting for you.
3D Systems recently broadened its DMP (Direct Metal Printing) platform series with its new DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 metal additive manufacturing systems. The skinny on the DMP platform is that it's engineered to provide volume production of critical components whether you're talking aerospace, transportation, healthcare or R&D. That word volume also means 24/7 operations, repeatable results, quick turnarounds between builds and fast art to part.
The DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 deploy much the same features. Among these is an improved gas flow technology for more uniform part quality across the entire build area compared to predecessors. Essentially that means a closed vacuum chamber that prevents gas bubbles from getting into the part during the build. This also maximizes powder re-use, which should help contain costs.
Among the specs these systems share are a 10.82x10.82x14.96 in. build volume and a typical accuracy of ±0.1%–0.2% with ± 50 micrometer minimum. In general, these systems are 15% more productive than preceding models.
Both the DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 work with a broad range of materials. That includes 3D Systems' newest member of its LaserForm material lineup, LaserForm AISiMg0.6(A). You can use this new aluminum alloy material to make strong, lightweight parts without the need for casting. Think parts for weight-sensitive applications.
So, if they share all these features, what's the difference? Primarily it's that the DMP Factory 350 has an integrated Powder Management Unit, a must where you require closed powder handling. It also comes with real-time process monitoring that lets you analyze and optimize parameters for higher quality final parts. However, you can field-upgrade the DMP Flex 350 with external powder management and the monitoring software as your production needs change.
Your takeaway: The DMP Flex 350 and the DMP Factory 350 could be how you bring 3D metal printing production to your shop floor or extend existing capabilities substantially. You can learn more about them starting with today's Pick of the Week write-up and from their dedicated web pages linked at the end of the article. Fascinating stuff.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE