SLM Solutions enhances large-scale metal 3D printing by acquiring AddCreative Tech.

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Introducing Exciting AddCreative Technology: Transforming Large Component Manufacturing

Exciting news in the world of additive manufacturing (AM)! SLM Solutions, recently acquired by Nikon, is set to revolutionize its product lineup by incorporating ADIRA’s innovative AddCreative AM technology. This groundbreaking addition promises to transform large component manufacturing, catering to the growing demands in the New Space and defense sectors.

SLM Solutions has acquired the AddCreative technology from ADIRA, and the talented AddCreative team based in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal will now join SLM Solutions to continue their groundbreaking work. Developed by Fraunhofer ILT under the name Tiled Laser Melting (TLM), ADIRA commercialized this technology and rebranded it as AddCreative. This laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process introduces a remarkable approach to building large parts by breaking down the overall build volume into individual tiles. These tiles are then printed one by one in an optimal sequence within a movable build chamber.

One of the most intriguing features of this technology is that the laser head can be moved on a gantry, enabling independent operation of the recoater. This means that multiple lasers can simultaneously print several parts, significantly increasing the machine’s speed and capacity for creating larger objects. The initial quad-laser system has already expanded to five lasers, and there are even plans to expand it further to 12 lasers for SLM Solutions.

The incorporation of AddCreative technology provides SLM Solutions with a scalable production method for manufacturing very large parts. Given the current market demand for large parts in the New Space and defense industries, this deal holds immense value for SLM Solutions. However, it’s important to note that SLM Solutions will not abandon its existing technology approach. Instead, it sees the ADIRA system as a complementary offering between the NXG XII 600 and other large-scale systems in its portfolio.

The collaboration between SLM Solutions and ADIRA demonstrates a commitment to innovation and advancement in the 3D printing landscape. SLM Solutions’ CEO, Sam O’Leary, expressed his enthusiasm for the integration, emphasizing how it completes their offering and bridges the gap between their current systems and future large-scale AM systems. ADIRA’s CEO, Miguel Gil Mata, shared a similar sentiment, highlighting the recognition and opportunity this integration brings to their team and product.

At present, AddCreative technology boasts an impressive build volume of 1000 by 1000 by 500 CM, but the possibilities for even larger machines are on the horizon. Unlike traditional LPBF processes, AddCreative opens the door to selective heating of specific areas or employing multiple build units across an extensive area. This eliminates thermal stresses and the slow recoating process, making it a more efficient and distributed metal 3D printing technology that minimizes thermal stress and distortion.

Beyond this collaboration, the partnership with Nikon signifies their commitment to AM and potentially opens doors for future investments. The industry is experiencing shifts, with some investors doubling down on AM while others explore different ventures. Companies are either leaving AM behind or making significant internal changes to fully embrace manufacturing with 3D printing. The high growth areas of hypersonics, defense, new space, and satellites have generated a substantial demand for reliable large part printing. The market’s potential is vast and promising, especially with ongoing projects like Starlink’s ambitious 12,000-satellite plan.

As the 3D printing industry continues to evolve, staying updated on the latest news and developments is crucial. Sign up to receive information and offers from third-party vendors, and keep yourself at the forefront of this exciting industry.

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