Page 10 - 3D Metal Printing Winter 2019
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New Compact Printer Handles Wire and Powder
New from Additec, the μPrinter, a compact 3D metal printer that processes both wire and powder feedstock via the company’s laser metal deposition- wire powder (LMD-WP) process. Advantages, accord- ing to company officials: The ability to produce parts from wire feedstock makes operation and material han- dling a clean process and ensures 100-percent material efficiency; and processing powder closes the gap to conventional LMD and delivers the ability to mix alloys on the fly. Switching between wire and powder report- edly is simplified, as it does not require a nozzle change and can be done automatically.
The μPrinter contains multiple high-power diode
laser sources arranged around the central axis of the
deposition head. Wire is fed through a central wire
guide, while powder is fed through an annular gap nozzle around the wire guide. The machine features a controlled-atmosphere enclosure, allowing for large material vari- ety, and a printing envelope of 120 by 160 by 450 mm.
Because wire-based coaxial deposition is not as common as powder LMD, the com- pany developed its own process-control structure, which adjusts processing parame- ters on the fly and also measures the height of the individual layers, adjusting nozzle- to-part distance automatically. Further, to grant users maximum flexibility, all process parameters can be set in G-code. An included macro utility reportedly allows users to change easily the parameters for certain sections of a build.
A benefit of closed-loop control: Print quality is high both in wire and powder mode, according to company officials, and the printer can be controlled either via a locally hosted web interface or through USB.
Software Tracks, Manages and Supports AM Operations
As AM solidifies its place in industry, more solutions have been introduced to cater to the process’ unique characteristics. This includes Bright AM, a production platform from Throughput | Bluestreak that tracks, manages and supports AM’s unique require- ments. The software tracks the process of disparate parts 3D printed together on a sin- gle build plate as well as everything from incoming orders to work in progress to deliv- ery confirmation, according to company officials.
Bright AM also supports unique serial numbers for each part being printed and tracks each serial number through the process, including any nonconformances, a criti- cal requirement for such industries as aerospace, aviation and medical.
“Although the additive manufacturing industry has been evolving rapidly into a viable production technology, what individual companies are working out for them- selves, is quality processes with repeatability,” says states Todd Wenzel, president and chief technology officer. “With so many parameters, how do you track, validate processes and ultimately pass certification which is necessary to compete in the bevy of industries of which AM benefits? That’s where Bright AM excels.”
The software reportedly enables businesses to conform to individual-part-specifica- tion requirements while automatically creating and maintaining a fully documented
audit trail, containing specification docu- ments, operating requirements and media attachments, as well as automati- cally cross-reference specifications to everything it impacts within the system. Bright AM:
Software Expands Manufacturing ERP Capabilities
At IMTS and FABTECH, Epicor show- cased its flexible, scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for man- ufacturers, with other offerings that com- bine with Epicor ERP to help users repeat or avoid certain production outcomes, sell more via ecommerce, and gain a deeper understanding of their operations.
The offerings include Epicor Data Analytics (EDA), which helps turn stored data into actionable data. Knowledge gained via EDA allows manufacturers to reduce costs, identify new opportunities, support specific programs and speed up decision making, according to company officials. Another, Epicor Commerce Connect, integrates ecommerce with other business processes in real-time for manufacturers interested in online sales, and reportedly results in a modern ecommerce website focused on conven- ience, ease of use and repeat ordering.
Epicor Mattec MES, a real-time manu- facturing execution system, monitors machines and analyzes machine-related data such as overall equipment effective- ness, run rates, scrap, yield and energy consumption. The system captures data directly from machines and operators, and delivers real-time production metrics and real-time operations analytics in a simple-to-digest visual manner. It helps customers drive profitability, increase capacity, improve quality, and empower employees on the shop floor to make better decisions using up-to-date infor- mation, according to Epicor officials. Epicor Software Corp.:

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