Materialise releases e-Stage for Metal

Materialise has developed a version of its e-Stage software for working with metal. The e-stage software automatically generates supports. Stefaan Motte, vice president of Materialise Software, claims that “55 percent of all the large SLA machines are using e-Stage” and that this saves an average of two hours per build.

Koen Neutjens, Product manager for e-stage for Materialise Software.

Motte says: “Metal is becoming huge with more and more production happening on the metal side. We are just at the beginning.” He adds: “Those customers need to generate supports but more things can go wrong so it’s a huge labour intensive process.”

Product manager Koen Neutjens says that the new software will save about 90 percent of the time taken for data preparation, as there’s no need to edit the supports. He adds: “There’s also a benefit for powder consumption where we can save up to 20 percent by using e-Stage for Metal. It’s designed that any powder particles will go outside the support structure so there’s no trapped powder any more, which we think is a big challenge these days.” He says that it’s also twice as quick to remove the supports.

The new e-Stage for Metal software will work with titanium, aluminum and stainless steel parts though Motte says that there’s a specific tuning needed depending on the type of metal being used.

Stefaan Motte, Vice president of Materialise Software.

The new software took about two years to develop. Materialise has been using the software at its own production facility in Bremen, where roughly 90 percent of the parts have been printed using this software. Ingo Uckelmann, technical manager of Metal 3D Printing at the Bremen plant, commented: “The time savings delivered by the automated generation of metal supports enables engineers to focus on other tasks. The elimination of manual work makes the process much more reliable and efficient, which allows us to meet increased customer demands.”

It’s also been beta tested at Airbus APworks.

Meanwhile, Materialise has also signed an OEM license agreement with Simufact Engineering to incorporate its simulation software into Materialise Magics. Simufact Additive is a software tool for the simulation of metal-based AM processes, which can cut down on the number of prototypes built in development, while improving the quality and lifetime of the products.




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