GE Additive has announced its first Concept Laser M Line Factory systems will be delivered to customers in Q2 of 2019.
Launched at Forrmnext 2016, the Concept Laser M Line Factory is a modular system which is supplemented by automation to deliver a reliable series production tool. Having undergone rig and lifetime testing, the build volume has been increased to 500 x 500 x 400 mm, while improvements have been made to the serviceability, process control and thermal stability, and on-board software system. The platform consists of the laser process station and the material handling station. The former boasts four lasers of either 400W or 1KW and comprises three independent modules: powder module, build module and overflow module. These can be activated individually and do not form one continuous unit. They are also transported automatically. Meanwhile, the material handling system serves as a pre- and post processing and powder management unit with an integrated sieving station.
GE Additive believes with this system, manufacturers can reduce downtime and increase output, amounting to a significant impression on how their business is run.
“The positive impact the M Line Factory can have on our customers’ operations and their bottom line is huge,” commented Jason Oliver, President & CEO of GE Additive. “It’s important we provide technologically advanced systems that are reliable and add value to our customers. M Line Factory delivers on those commitments.”
GE Additive has also revealed its intention to offer a suite of secure build preparation services, set to be commercially ready by RAPID + TCT 2019 in May. Partnerships with Autodesk, PTC, Siemens PLM, Vera Security, and Dassault Systemes have been announced but details not disclosed.
The company wants to reduce the risk of mistakes that can occur when using several different tools for build preparation by enabling an interoperable workflow that is both secure and intuitive. It hopes this will in turn lead to reductions in the number of design iterations required and the time its takes to print a part of quality. GE says to do this it will need to combine several elements, including improved slicing performance, an off-machine build processor, and the speed and accuracy of Geonx’s simulation coupled with iterative thermal compensation. The partnerships will enable GE Additive to provide build preparation services directly into the tool of choice for design engineers.
Gaining feedback from users during interactive demonstrations at Formnext this week, GE Additive has also been recruiting for beta testing through its Software Advisory and Technical Preview program.
“Feedback is a critical activity in the development of any software system, which is why we are demonstrating our current capabilities in Frankfurt. Over the next eight months, we’re seeking customer input from our users to help us inspect, adapt and iterate ahead of our commercial launch,” commented Lars Bruns, Software Leader, GE Additive.
Another GE Additive announcement at Formnext comes through AP&C who will be offering aluminium alloy F357 from April 2019, with production commencing in Q1.
The new powder offering will be produced using AP&C’s Advanced Plasma Atomization (APA) at its Saint-Eustache facility, a recently expanded, automated plant which offers a full production capacity of 1,000 tonnes.
Said to share the same quality signature as APA titanium powders, from processability to high flowability and low porosity, the Aluminium F357 is in high demand from customers in the aerospace and automotive industries, among others.
“It’s great to add aluminium F357 to our portfolio. Our customers have been asking us to provide aluminium solutions to address the challenges they currently experience. We are confident we’ve developed a solution that solves these challenges,” said Alain Dupont, President & CEO, AP&C. “The modular cell-based structure of our new plant in Saint-Eustache allows us to respond quickly to the additive industry’s demands as it rapidly evolves.”