Digital Metal begins commercial production of its 3D metal binder jet printers, offering unprecedented detail, surface resolution and design possibilities for small components
Höganäs, Sweden. – [September 19, 2017] – Digital Metal, a Höganäs Group company, the world’s leading producer of metal powders, today announced it has initiated commercial production of the industry’s first high precision binder jetting 3D metal printer that can produce smaller and more intricate components than any previous technology. The DM P2500 can be purchased or licensed from Digital Metal and is ideal for serial production and customised parts, opening up the possibility to print what was once impossible.
Digital Metal has produced both bespoke tiny objects and high precision small components at scale using its proprietary binder jetting technology for four years. To date, the company has produced approximately 200,000 pieces for customers in several industries, including aerospace, luxury goods, dental tools and industrial equipment manufacturing. It will continue to offer this production service, while also expanding its business with the commercial sale and licensing of its revolutionary 3D metal printer.
The DM P2500 continuously prints in 42 µm layers at 100 cc/hr without the need for any support structures. It has 2500 cm3 print volume available. This makes it possible to manufacture small objects in high quantities (up to 50,000 parts in one print run), comprising shapes, geometries and internal and external finishes never before achieved. The DM P2500 delivers a resolution of 35 µm and an average surface roughness of Ra 6 µm before additional finishing processes are applied.
For the first time, complex architectures with medical grade smoothness are possible on a small scale, as well as moving parts within other objects, and a gradient of holes in a single print. The process is also adaptable for a variety of materials because the heat treatment (sintering) happens after printing. Powder removed before sintering is reused for subsequent jobs, making it the most sustainable additive manufacturing (AM) technology available today. This results in high yield and low scrap rates, meaning downtime is kept to a minimum, and there is no de-generation of the powder that other AM processes experience.
“Our heritage, knowledge and experience in metal powders combined with the development and evolution of our cutting-edge printer technology has enabled us to succeed where others have failed. With the DM P2500 we are bringing to market a tried and tested 3D metal printer with the capability to produce objects with unparalleled accuracy and surface finish at high volume – from day one we delivered one-off parts in large volumes,” said Ralf Carlström, General Manager, Digital Metal.
“The Digital Metal business has doubled year on year since its inception, however we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential this technology offers for designers and engineers. We’ve seen relatively small (but previously unachievable) changes to the internal structure of components result in a 30% improvement in overall product efficiency, which would have been impossible to produce using conventional methods. As the design and engineering community begin to explore and understand what our highly repeatable and reliable technology enables, we believe we will see huge demand for this technology. By making the printers commercially available we hope to facilitate and fuel that demand.”
The second DM P2500 outside Digital Metal was installed in June 2017 and licensed to Centre Technique des Industries Mécaniques (CETIM), France’s benchmark institute and technological innovation hub for mechanical engineering. The machine started production just two days later and is already showing exceptional consistent results. While the first printer is confidentially licensed to a global leader in fashion design and will see its new serial production items available at the end of this year.
Luxury watch start-up Montfort approached Digital Metal to print the dials for its watches inspired by the Swiss Alps. The binder jetting technique was the only solution that allowed Montfort the creative freedom to make watch dials with a design and finish that resembles the mineral, crystalline structure of rocks.
Additionally, in the U.S., Honeywell Aerospace and Digital Metal are exploring a number of joint 3D printing projects that will merge Honeywell’s expertise in aerospace engineering with Digital Metal’s leadership in additive manufacturing.
“The binder jetting technology Digital Metal uses to print small metal parts has the potential for various applications within the Honeywell Aerospace program,” said Don Godfrey, Engineering Fellow – Additive Manufacturing, Honeywell Aerospace. “We believe this will also be critical to applications in other key areas of the broader aerospace industry.”
“Now it’s time to open the market by allowing other businesses and manufacturers to take advantage of our proprietary technology and know-how,” Carlström continued. From designers that crave more freedom to industries that hoard spare parts that are never used, we want to shake up their thinking for future product design and maintenance. Items can be printed on-demand, in the singular or en masse.”
In addition to the 3D metal binder jet printer, Digital Metal also provides all the ancillary equipment required with each machine, as well as introductory and ongoing training and support to ensure customers are achieving the ultimate productivity and outputs. The company will initially target key industries that have a lot to gain from additive manufacturing of small and complex components, including automotive, dental, healthcare, aerospace and luxury fashion.
Digital Metal is currently in discussions with various partners to help facilitate product distribution and support across the globe. The company plans to exhibit at TCT Show, 26-28th September, Birmingham, UK, and Formnext, Frankfurt, Germany, 4-17th November.
Digital Metal Capability Comparison
The below table produced by Digital Metal offers an at-a-glance comparison of its technology and alternative manufacturing processes, based on its industry experience. It compares AM processes like SLM (Selective Laser Melting), EBM (Electron Beam Melting), DED (Direct Energy Deposition) and conventional technology like MIM (Metal Injection Moulding) with Digital Metal’s high precision binder jetting. All AM technologies have their pros and cons, every organisation must consider what’s best for their application needs. All AM technologies are advantageous for prototyping or small series production but the greater amount of energy used during melting for higher productivity results in a tradeoff of less intricacy and limited surface resolution, while MIM is only 2D and productive for really small applications. Comparatively Digital Metal offers a unique combination as it provides high precision details, fine surfaces, print tolerances, and high productivity of multiple parts in a single print that be either uniform or customised.
|Small series||Part complexity||Productivity||Surface finish||Resolution||Part size||Materials|
About Digital Metal
Digital Metal is the world’s first company to commercially produce high precision 3D metal printers that have a proven production record. Digital Metal’s proprietary binder jetting technology enables intricate and detailed small objects and parts to be manufactured at high volume, whether identical or of custom design, which are impossible to produce with the same precision using any other additive manufacturing or traditional production process. Customers include Koenigsegg Automotive AB, Montfort Watches, and France’s Technical Centre for Mechanical Industries (CETIM). Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Höganäs, Sweden, Digital Metal is part of the Höganäs Group, the world’s largest producer of iron and non-ferrous metal powders since 1797. Read more at digitalmetal.tech and follow us on Twitter @digitalmetal3D.
+44 20 3861 3817
Digital Metal extends the range of available material for its 3D printing technology. Ti6Al4V will be offered on top of already existing Stainless 316L and 17-4PH.
Ti6Al4V is widely known and used in the additive manufacturing industry. It combines high strength, hardness and ductility with high corrosion resistance. It also means a 45% weight reduction compared to conventional steel. The Digital Metal Ti6Al4V offer follows ISO 22068. Typical values can be seen in the table.
|Ultimate tensile strength||Yield strength (0,2%)||Elongation||Hardness|
Digital Metal offers 3D printing of small metal components with a combination of high detail accuracy, high surface finish and tight tolerances.
A 3D printer developed by Digital Metal has successfully been installed at the French CETIM (Centre Technique des Industries Mécaniques/Technical Center for the Mechanical Industry), a non-profit establishment supporting French industry to adapt new technologies. The printer, A DM P2000, is part of a license agreement that was signed last year.
It is equipped with an upgraded build box, an upgraded ink supply system as well as an upgraded powder handling system.
– It is a covered printer, reducing the noise level dramatically, says Hans Kimblad, technical sales manager at Digital Metal. The required safety footprint is also smaller compared to the open printer concept.
Montford, a new Swiss watch maker, uses Digital Metal technology for 3D printing its dials.
At Digital Metal, we are convinced of the endless possibilities with metal powder technology. Our latest customer, Swiss watch maker Montfort, is proof of what can be done. Our 3D-printing technique allowed them the complete freedom of design they were looking for. The beautiful watches are inspired by the Swiss Alps, with dials produced by Digital Metal.
Höganäs extends its 3D printing capability by introducing high performance 17-4 PH stainless steel for Digital Metal printing technology.
17-4 PH enables production of components with high strength and hardness.
The material is a hardening grade exhibiting considerably higher strength compared to the more commonly used austenitic 316L.
It also provides improved corrosion resistance compared to 400 series ferritic stainless steels.
|Ultimate strength||Yield strength (0,2%)||Elongation||Hardness|