In March 2018, Stratasys positioned itself on the metal additive manufacturing sector. Even though the platform is currently being developed, it is intended for short-run metal applications.
The platform integrates a new technology called, “Layered Powder Metallurgy” (LPM™) which aims at producing metal parts quicker, easier and in a cost-effective way. Technically speaking, the platform uses standard Powder Metallurgy (PM) alloys, mechanical properties with high accuracy and controlled shrinkage, as well as extremely fast throughput.
Current issues of metal 3D printing processes
So far, industrials still face some issues in their manufacturing processes. Post processing are still slow, and the removal of the part is not always easy as it seems to be in videos. Furthermore, it took so many hours of matching and grinding to industrials.
“Combined with the high cost of AM powders, this means each part is expensive, with a total cost of ownership that is too hard to justify,” explained Rafie Grinvald, Director of Product Marketing and Management, Stratasys. “Our new platform is being designed to transform the current metals additive manufacturing landscape – presenting a viable alternative to typical production methods – and helping customers dramatically reduce the costs of creating reliable, consistent production-grade, metal parts for short-run applications.”
The Layered Powder Metallurgy process
First of all, it should be noted that the manufacturer combines traditional powder metallurgy with its PolyJet™ robust ink-jet technology.
Furthermore, the LPM™ solution produces in three stages: printing of boundaries with proprietary thermal ink, powder dispensing and spreading, and then compaction of the powder layer to achieve high-density and controllable shrinkage.
The company is currently discussing with with OEMs and Tier-1s that might be interested in the new metal AM platform.
Discover in this video, a few applications showcased on Stratasys’ booth:
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