Unveiled for the first time at Formnext 2019, 3D printer manufacturer Meltio has brought a number of upgrades to its latest 3D printer, the Meltio Engine.
The modular system combines 3D printing technology with CNC machines, robotic arms, and gantry systems to enable smooth hybrid manufacturing.
Meltio Engine is based on a proprietary wire- and powder-compatible Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) technology that can print metal wire, powder, or both simultaneously, without the need to change the nozzle. This technology was first used in the company’s metal 3D printing system M450.
During the product launch, Ángel Llavero, CEO of Meltio explained that their goal with the Meltio Engine was to move the Meltio LMD to a new format, a format that would have enabled to solve one of the biggest constraints in AM: the manufacture of large parts.
“Now the part size is limited only by the capacity of the robot, the gantry, or the CNC in which the Meltio Engine is integrated”, he said.
With a size that might facilitate its integration into any shop floor, the hybrid manufacturing system is equipped with an on-board computer and a large integrated touchscreen. The latter features a comprehensive UI that enables easy operation and process monitoring (– as seen in the video below).
The LMD toolhead of the system is attached to the device. It utilizes several high-power lasers to melt the metal feedstock directly onto a substrate below, in order to achieve dense metal parts’ production.
As far as materials are concerned, the team at Meltio has tested a wide range of materials stainless steel (common grades), Inconel (718 and 625), and Ti-6Al-4V (grades 5 and 23). They are currently working on a variety of other materials that will be unveiled soon.
Their ultimate goal is to allow for easy processing of the most used powders such as aluminium, molybdenum, tungsten, X9, gold, invar and copper, to name a few of them.
However, it should be noted that operators that will work with wire-based raw materials will have a cleaner process as no specific device is required. Those who will use powders on the other hand can explore other application processes with their own special alloy mixes.
The Meltio Engine positions itself as an affordable system that brings the best of both worlds – AM and traditional manufacturing processes-. With an entry price of €90,000, the system seems to be a good candidate for anyone that is transitioning from traditional to AM, or that would like to overcome the limitations of each technology.
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