3D Metal Printing Made Safer, More Efficient and Controllable
With metal powder at the heart of the process, 3D metal printing can be a messy business. It can also be a potentially hazardous one.
In the 3D printing process, a high precision laser is directed at the metal powder particles so that thin horizontal metal layers are built up one after the other.
This technology allows the production of metal parts with the most challenging of geometries. Geometries not possible to achieve using traditional subtractive or casting methods.
The metal powders used are typically microscopic in size (<100µm). It is this tiny size that creates the problems, often posing toxicity, reactivity, combustibility and instability hazards. Accidental swirling or shaking of powders can create dust clouds with the potential to catch fire even explode under certain conditions.
It has to be said that the chances of such an event are extremely slim. But for operators and those in close proximity to the 3D printer, health related risks resulting from inhalation, ingestion or skin contact are many times more likely.
Powder handling made safe
Our product partners, ALPHA LASER, have found a way to circumvent the powder safety issues created by 3D metal printing.
- The AL 3D-METAL system operates through a closed powder circuit involving an innovative cartridge system.
- The cartridge is safely loaded with the desired metal powder then inserted into the 3D metal printer.
- The process can then begin entirely within the printer without any powder emissions entering the surrounding workplace.
Time, cost and flexibility benefits
Through the cartridge system, frequent powder changes can be made in the shortest possible time.
Users also have more control. Depending on the filled powder, basic material parameters can be changed as required. So can the machine parameters to provide a high degree of flexibility in research and development tasks as well as in a certified production environment.
The closed powder circuit also ensures optimum material utilisation. The closed circuit is further supported by a specially designed powder bed layout with an integrated cleaning routine. Where high priced metals are concerned, especially in jewellery production, impressive cost savings can be made.
Further savings can be made in gas consumption. This is minimal thanks to a closed gas circuit with enclosed filter cartridges.
Space saving and easy to use
The AL 3D-METAL printer is equipped with a 200W fibre laser. To enable production of the most complex geometries, it is fitted with a 50µm spot coupled with high beam quality.
With a footprint of just 600x600 mm, the system requires very little space and can be operated in the smallest of rooms. With intuitive operation, the printer is easy and convenient to use. The CAD data is transferred to the system’s intelligent software AL 3D-OS. 3D data can be easily imported and provided with support structures.
The AL 3D-METAL printer has been specially developed for precision mechanics, medical and dental technologies and the jewellery industry as well as research and development laboratories.
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