Velo3D expands its systems portfolio with Sapphire® XC. The new large format metal 3D printer features an “Extra Capacity” that will increase production throughput by 5X and reduce cost-per-part by up to 75%, when compared to the existing Sapphire system.
Sapphire® XC is the second 3D printer the US-based manufacturer unveils this year, the former being a tall laser-powder AM system with a vertical axis of 1 meter. The Sapphire product family then comprises Sapphire® Gen 2, the 1-meter tall Sapphire 1MZ and Sapphire XC. All 3D printers are based on the company’s patented laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) process and aim to address the needs of aerospace, power generation, and energy industries, as already demonstrated by the manufacturer.
Sapphire XC Technical Specifications
With a build volume of 600mm x 550 mm, the new 3D printer integrates 8 lasers x 1,000W each. These are the main features that distinguish itself from the current system that offers a build volume of 315mm x 400 mm and 2 lasers x 1,000W.
Just like the other 3D printers, it requires the use of Flow™ pre-print software and Assure™ quality control software to ensure the ideal manufacturing process. Furthermore, it utilizes the same optical-train design, recoater technology, gas-flow technology, and metrology as the current Sapphire.
As far as materials are concerned, operators will also use similar qualified material alloys such as Aluminum F357, Titanium 6AI-4V, INCONEL® 718 and HASTELLOY® X.
“Printing larger parts without the additive manufacturing constraints of support structures is highly attractive to many industrial end-users,” said Benny Buller, founder, and CEO of VELO3D. “For the first time, customers will be able to 3D-print uncompromised geometries, with the highest confidence in part quality, in a large format system. Quality assurance with large scale components is critical because the economic impact of failed builds is very significant. We have demonstrated that our integrated solution is capable of producing a greater yield of high-quality parts, and that foundational technology will transfer to our new Sapphire XC.”
Plans to upgrade the current 3D printer
In a press communication, Velo3D suggests to roll-out Sapphire Gen 2, which will be a software and hardware upgrade to the current system. Users can expect an improvement of anywhere between 10-50% in productivity and part-cost metrics when compared to the current Sapphire system. The Sapphire Gen 2 upgrade will be available to retrofit on all installed systems starting in Q2 2021.
In the meantime, the commercial availability of the system is planned for Q4 2021. Early pre-order of Sapphire XC secures a price and an early manufacturing slot for the system. Existing orders of Sapphire XC will consume all available manufacturing slots for Q4 ’21 and most of Q1 ’22.
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