Developed by additive users for additive users – Production deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2023
It’s been five years that OEM GE Additive has been developing a metal binder jetting platform that would enable to achieve high volume, low-cost additive production. Since then, a Binder Jet beta partner program has enabled the machine manufacturer to surround himself with a range of solid partners who would contribute to the development of the platform with a customer oriented focus. Kennametal was the latest to join this program predeced by Cummins, Wabtec, and Sandvik.
Core to this development and knowledge, sharing work remains a mutual commitment to formally identify, design and productionize specific applications at cost, quality, at needed scale, safely, GE Additive says. With these features in mind, GE Additive reveals more details about its Binder Jet Line Series 3.
The manufacturing capability reveals the industrial 3D printer’s ability to fabricate components that meet dimensional and feature resolution tolerances for production, with demonstrated capability in (but not limited to) parts up to 25 kg in stainless steel, and no known limitations on maximum wall thickness.
The Binder Jet Line also enables the user to:
- De-powder intricate parts without destroying fine features, enabled by GE’s proprietary binder systems
- Sinter parts within the desired tolerances, enabled in part by GE Additive’s Amp™ software’s distortion prediction and compensation capability
- Develop casting equivalent or better, high-quality parts much faster than traditional methods
- Print and sinter parts with low surface roughness
Cost & Scalability
These are two features that raise debate the most within AM users. No matter what AM technology we deal with, the aim of the manufacturer is usually to drive down the cost per part. While other processes related to the manufacturing process itself (e.g. post-processing) often play a key role in the final cost, GE Additive explains that the final cost will decrease over time, when more application space will be available for the technology.
In the meantime, usual comparison with conventional manufacturing processes has been made by taking into account tolerances and cost, from incoming raw material, to the final part in hand (total cost of ownership—not just the machine).
In this vein, GE Additive’s binder jet solution enables users of the 3D printer to save money on raw materials by recycling unused powder and leveraging less expensive material vs. other powder bed technologies, to leverage the entire build box, top to bottom, edge to edge, with no need for supports and to explore new applications with more complex parts.
As far as scalability is concerned, the machine manufacturer said the new line of metal 3D printers delivers high overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), automation readiness, predictive distortion and compensation, and material properties that meet and exceed industry standards. All of these come together with the goal of lowest total cost of ownership for metal additive production. Based on input from customers and partners during the technology development phase, GE Additive is focused on enabling the eventual deployment of 40, 50, 100+ machine installations that will drive repeatable process quality, while minimizing operator contact with equipment and materials – An argument that plays to the strengths of GE Additive regarding safety.
Installed and operated without hazard zoning required, with minimal operator contact with the system and metal powders
The system will be UL listed and CE certified, has a 100% inert and sealed environment, fully closed loop powder-free exposure and is designed for compatibility with reactive and flammable powder and binders.
The machine has also been equipped with a fully independent and real-time safety system on-board that constantly monitors its conditions. Furthermore, a real-time OPC UA data streaming can be integrated into factory MES and safety systems.
“Fast-tracking solutions and bringing them to market too soon is not a sound strategy and is often the reason machines end up gathering dust in R&D labs. During the Series 3 and Binder Jet Line’s development phase, we sought out customers who could give us honest, real-world insights from their high-volume manufacturing environments. We have taken their insights to complement our hands-on knowledge and experience of scaling additive production,” said Brian Birkmeyer, product line leader for Binder Jet at GE Additive. “The result is a modern, modular industrialized additive system – developed by additive users for additive users – that delivers quality parts, at cost, at scale and safely.”
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