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3D Metal Printing

Comparison of Two Multi-Laser 3D Printers

| Author / Editor: Simone Käfer / Alexander Stark

Last fall, two new multi-laser 3D printers were introduced. Both printers are based on the powder bed process. Where are the similarities and where are the differences of both systems?

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It is important to understand the similarities and differences of Renishaw and Trumpf multi-laser printers.
( Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

Both Ren-AM 500Q from Renishaw and Trumpf's Truprint 500 are designed to accelerate 3D metal printing and increase productivity. The two companies use different multi-laser systems in which each 500 W laser covers the entire installation space, allowing several lasers to process one component simultaneously. But it's not just about speed, as these multi-laser systems are also designed to reduce the costs per part. Renishaw also hopes that metal additives will be used in applications that are currently uneconomical for this types of materials.

Heat Generation Solved by Using Own Ressources

With an installation space of 250 mm × 250 mm × 350 mm, the Ren-AM 500Q is the smaller one of the two machines. It is equipped with four lasers and offers a melting capacity of up to 150 cm3/h. With four lasers in such a small space, heat generation was an issue that Renishaw solved by using its own resources. A Galvo mount made of AlSi10Mg with internal near-contour cooling channels — of course developed in-house and manufactured on their own machines — ensures the thermal stability of the optical system. Good vacuum preparation and low argon consumption are just as much a part of the features of the machine as the intelligent gas routing, which is intended to ensure efficient separation of emissions and a long filter service life. The dual Safe Change filter system automatically changes the filters. The Ren-AM 500Q takes a step towards integration with its automated powder and waste treatment system, which sifts the excess powder and returns it to the process.

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Focus on Automation

The Truprint 5000 from machine tool manufacturer Trumpf uses three of the company’s own fiber lasers. In this machine, the in-house exposure technologies further accelerate the printing process. The cylindrical installation space is suitable for components up to 300 mm in diameter and 400 mm in height. Preheating to a maximum of 500 °C is to ensure high component quality, especially for hot-work steels and titanium, and ensures a robust construction process for all types of materials. As an experienced mechanical engineer, Trumpf focuses on the automation of systems. This enables the Truprint 5000 to automatically start the production process and move the construction cylinder into the operating position. The integrated zero point clamping system is the basis for downstream process steps such as eroding, milling or turning. An integrated exchange cylinder principle allows the construction cylinder to be extended with the finished printed components, while the construction chamber remains inert with protective gas and can start directly with the next construction job. The unpacking station is also seamlessly integrated into the process chain, i.e. the covered construction cylinder can be moved directly into the station. The excess material is returned to the sieving station. Thanks to its flexible automation interface, the system is suitable for different industrial and production scenarios.

This article was first published by MaschinenMarkt

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