Tech Update


Compact DED Printers Include Automation for Batch Processing

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

From Formnext 2020… Optomec Inc. debuts two metal additive manufacturing (AM) machines, the HC-TBR and the CS250, based on directed energy deposition (DED) and designed around 250 by 250 by 250 build volumes. Both are suitable for small-part production and repair, including batch processing, and are available in three- or five-axis versions capable of simultaneous five-axis coordinated motion for full free-space printing, according to Optomec officials.

They each are equipped with an advanced-generation print head capable of automatically changing the laser spot size and output power on the fly, enabling rapid material application to larger areas of a part while still creating fine features with lower heat input to thinner areas. An optional inert-processing capability is optimized for printing reflective and reactive alloys such as copper, aluminum and titanium, in addition to a variety of steels, nickels and other common materials.

The HC-TBR (on the right of the image), designed for high-performance, high-volume production applications, offers the capability to automatically move and process titanium parts into and out of an inert atmosphere―a feature critical for high-quality metallurgy and plant safety, according to Optomec officials. The enabling automation module allows for continuous operation without the need for manual loading into and out of the controlled environment work area. For AM-repair applications, such as production turbine-blade restoration, the HC-TBR also includes an integrated vision system with proprietary AutoClad software that scans each part individually and uses pattern recognition to create a custom tool path and additive-repair recipe for the part, compensating for part-to-part variation while minimizing the heat input into the component. The HC-TBR is designed for simple integration into automated work cells and includes automatic antechamber doors that can be loaded and unloaded robotically.

“The HC-TBR is the first machine capable of high-volume production for reactive metals such as aluminum and titanium,” says Mike Dean, Optomec marketing director. “We’ve seen quite an increase in demand for these materials from our customers and expect the trend to continue as manufacturers move to lighter-weight designs.”

The CS250 (on the left of the image), designed for research, is an all-in-one system―compact enough to fit through a standard doorway―with as many as four integrated powder feeders, enabling rapid alloy development and graded-material part creation.  


See also: Optomec Inc.

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