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Titanium And Aluminum: The World's First 3D Printing Mass Production Pilot Plant Is Put Into Operation
Nov 12, 2018

Recently, German aircraft parts manufacturer PremiumAerotec, Daimler Automotive Group and 3D printing giant EOS have cooperated. The three parties have set up a pilot plant in the northern German city of Varel to apply 3D printing technology in industrial mass production. Sex test.

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The three companies' joint projects were named NextGenAM and the project aims to develop a complete system for the production of aluminum alloy components for the automotive and aerospace industries. After more than a year of preparatory work, the first large-scale additive manufacturing pilot plant was officially put into operation recently. In the next few months, the production process will be tested and each part of the facility will be reviewed and inspected.


According to reports, the pilot plant is equipped with machinery and equipment for additive manufacturing, post-processing and quality inspection. Unlike previous production systems that are well known, many of the processes and production steps here are fully automated and integrated, and manual steps have been largely eliminated, which is an important basis for the economical application of 3D printing to metal parts. The highly automated system guarantees a high degree of economics in the additive manufacturing process.


The test plant uses EOS' M400-4 four-laser metal 3D printer for high quality metal parts. Four lasers can achieve up to 4x productivity, and each laser works independently, regardless of the actual print schedule. The system can automatically fill the aluminum powder, prepare a new print job, and dig the finished component from the powder bed. Can be done in parallel. The additive-manufactured components are then transported to each workstation by an unmanned, fully automated vehicle in a gas-filled container.


In the subsequent post-processing steps, the assembly is taken out by the robot and placed in an oven for heat treatment. Finally, the robot sends the processed parts to the 3D measuring station for quality inspection and completes the final production steps here.


Since the beginning of 2016, PremiumAerotec has started to produce some 3D printed titanium parts for Airbus. This time, as part of the NextGenAM project, the additive manufacturing technology for aluminum materials will also be successfully applied in the field of aerospace manufacturing. Coincidentally, on September 19, Kaiser Aluminum, Calif., announced that it had acquired the Imperial Machine & Tool in New Jersey. This seems to indicate that in the aerospace industry, regardless of titanium, aluminum or other metal alloy materials, 3D printing industrialization has emerged.


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