As announced in our “verdict” of Formnext, last week was marked by major product launches in the Additive Manufacturing industry. However, it also gave us the opportunity to discover more about some interesting newcomers and rising AM players that we would like to introduce today.

Weber Additive and its Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF)

Weber Additive

WEBER brings a century of experience in the manufacturing of plastic extrusion machinery. Two years ago, the company decided to transfer this know-how in plastic extrusion machinery to additive manufacturing and created its AM unit: Weber Additive.

The company therefore specializes in FGF. In such process, melted plastic granules are deposited on a bed layer by layer to form a 3D component.

So far, Weber Additive was known for the development of a manufacturing cell. Developed with support from AI Build’s software, themachine produces large-volume components quickly and cost-effectively from a variety of plastic granules.

This year, during Formnext Connect, Weber Additive introduces its DX 025 manufacturing system. With a build volume of 2.5 m³, the system combines the capabilities of a high-precision CNC-controlled system with a WEBER extruder specially developed for additive manufacturing.

Already available for commercialization, it should be noted that the configuration of the additive manufacturing system depends on several factors.

Making Additive Manufacturing “Becker”

Another company that operates in stealth mode within this industry is Becker. If you are an operator that works with metal AM machines, then, it is no secret to you that a stable inert gas atmosphere must be ensured within the build chamber of the machine, as well as a specified temperature range. Furthermore, metal splash and smoke created during the melting process must be removed. Achieving that is one of the missions of Becker.

Becker, short for Gebr. Becker GmbH, is a global manufacturer of efficient vacuum pumps, compressors and air supply systems, components that are developed for a variety of industries including AM, printing & paper, electronics and medical industries – to name a few of them.

Designed for powder-bed fusion systems, the manufacturer’s gas-tight blowers allow for effective inert gas recirculation & pneumatic conveying of powders within AM factories. This means that there is no loss of valuable inert gas since there is no oxygenation.

pro-beam goes additive

Verena Uhl – image via pro-beam-additive

Aerospace engineer Verena Uhl gave a short introduction of pro-beam additive GmbH at Formnext Connect. pro-beam additive GmbH is a company of the pro-beam Group, a global company acknowledged for its expertise in the electron beam technology segment.

The new subsidiary debuted at Formnext 2020 with the launch of two metal 3D printing processes designed for industrial applications.

By bringing its process know-how, equipment solution competence and serial-production experience, pro-beam additive aims to enable flexible additive manufacturing of metal parts of all sizes – from a batch size of 1 up to serial production. The company’s new systems requires the use of various processes such as wire deposition welding and electron beam melting within a powder bed. 

The powder bed process is designed for components that have detailed structures, while the use of a wire, especially for large components, offers advantages over conventional production methods”, the company explains.

Currently, the team of the new AM division works on materials that used to be difficult to process before, as they want to ensure that the need for post-processing is kept as minimal as possible in order to significantly increase production speed.

In the long run, “pro-beam’s AM concepts will cover the requirements of the market and various industries in terms of quality, speed, flexibility and reliability”. 

Xact Metal and its in-depth overview of the XM200C metal 3D printer

Xact Metal – XM200C

US-based manufacturer of metal 3D printing Xact positions itself as the “accessible” metal AM alternative. Unveiled for the first time in 2018, the metal Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) process has been built to enable universities, labs and SMEs to get an easy access to metal AM.

With a build volume of 2048 cm3 (127 x 127 x 127 mm) / 125 in3 (5 x 5 x 5 in), the machine features a 100W Yb fiber laser and a scanner which fuses at speeds up to 500 mm/sec. Its small footprint simplifies its integration into a lab or a manufacturing plant.

As in most machines, 6 steps needs to be followed to manufacture on the XM200C:

  • Print preparation,
  • Load printer with powder,
  • Installation of build plate and recoater bulb,
  • Load print file and purge machine,
  • Level build plate and run print,
  • And unpack the print and remove the parts from the build plate.

Xact agrees with industry experts that believes pricing must be “meaningfully lower” to drive the adoption of AM hence its efforts to combine the requirements of metal Powder Bed Fusion and technology to establish a new level of price and performance for Additive Manufacturing.

The company’s technology is now accessible across the world through certified distributors.

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