Additive metal parts

Laser manufacturer TRUMPF has increasingly established itself in the field of additive manufacturing. Its laser metal fusion (LMF) and laser metal deposition (LMD) machines have been well received by those looking to prototype and make small volume parts.

The company has established a division at its headquarters in Ditzingen, Germany to develop its metal 3D printing technology. Parts are generated, layer by layer, from metal powders that are melted using the laser. The system uses data taken directly from the CAD program.

“Additive manufacturing will not only supplement production techniques in the future, but will also exert a formative influence on them,” explains Peter Leibinger, head of TRUMPF. “We will be offering rugged and highly productive machinery with small and medium-sized parts incorporating complex structures.”

The choice of the process best suited will depend on the details of the specific application. LMF systems generate parts layer by layer in a bed of powder. These printers bring their strengths to bear when making up parts that are geometrically complicated and extremely elaborate.

With LMD systems, the laser creates a melted pool on the surface of a part and fuses the powder, which is added simultaneously in a powder stream, to achieve the desired shape. LMD systems are distinguished by the fact that they can add closely defined structures to existing tools and components, doing so at high processing speed.

“LMF and LMD are the two leading technologies in the additive manufacture of metal parts,” says Leibinger. “No matter whether you are dealing with injection nozzles, turbine blades, tools or even medical implants – with our broad range of technology we are offering the best solution for virtually every application.”

Justin Cunningham

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