Digital Metal launches precision metal printer

Digital Metal, which is part of the Höganäs Group, has begun production of its new metal printer, the DM P2500, which is designed for producing smaller and more intricate components than any previous technology.

Montford has used Digital Metal’s DM P2500 to produce the detailed dial patterns for its luxury watches.

The DM P2500 can continuously print in 42µm layers at 100 cc/hr without the need for any support structures. It has a total build volume of 2500 cm3 and can produce small objects in quantities up to 50,000 parts in one print run. It comes with all the necessary ancillary equipment as well as training.

The company claims that it’s proprietary binder jetting technology can produce shapes, geometries and internal and external finishes that have not been achieved by other printers. In part this is due to its resolution of 35µm, with an average surface roughness of Ra 6µm before additional finishing processes are applied.

The result is that it can produce complex architectures with medical grade smoothness on a small scale, as well as moving parts within other objects, and a gradient of holes in a single print. Any powder that’s removed before sintering can be re-used, resulting in high yield and low scrap rates, without the powder degenerating.

Digital Metal has been using this process for four years to produce both bespoke tiny objects and high precision small components at scale. This includes some 200,000 pieces for customers in several industries, including aerospace, luxury goods, dental tools and industrial equipment manufacturing. The company will continue to offer this service but is now selling the machine commercially, having already installed several units. Customers include Montfort, a start-up company that produces luxury watches, which used the process to make watch dials with a design and finish that resembles the mineral, crystalline structure of rocks.

Ralf Carlström, general manager of Digital Metal, says: “The Digital Metal business has doubled year on year since its inception, however we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential this technology offers for designers and engineers. We’ve seen relatively small (but previously unachievable) changes to the internal structure of components result in a 30% improvement in overall product efficiency, which would have been impossible to produce using conventional methods. As the design and engineering community begin to explore and understand what our highly repeatable and reliable technology enables, we believe we will see huge demand for this technology. By making the printers commercially available we hope to facilitate and fuel that demand.”

The main target markets for now include automotive, dental, healthcare, aerospace and luxury fashion, which in practice are the same markets that every other metal 3D printer is also aiming for.

 

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