Eplus3D has unveiled a 16-laser metal 3D printer in their latest release, titled Laser Wars.

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Chinese metal laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) manufacturer Eplus3D recently unveiled its latest innovation, the EP-M1550, a 16-laser metal 3D printer. This announcement comes as competitors Farsoon and Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) also introduced their own 16-laser systems at TCT Asia. The EP-M1550 features a 16-laser configuration, deployed in a four-by-four matrix, which can be operated synchronously, resulting in a high build rate of up to 650 cm³/h. Eplus3D has also made it possible to configure the optics system with up to 25 lasers and galvanometers, offering customization options for individual customer needs.

One of the standout features of the EP-M1550 is its large build volume of 1558 x 1558 x 1200 mm, with the option to extend the height to 2000 mm. This results in a functional printing volume of 2,670 liters, making it one of the largest metal PBF systems available for production. This extensive volume capability is particularly beneficial for industries such as aerospace that require the manufacturing of large-size, high-precision, and high-performance parts.

The EP-M1550 offers options for either 500W or 700W lasers and is capable of printing a broad range of materials, including titanium alloys, aluminum alloys, stainless steels, and mold steels. This range of materials is similar to what Eplus3D’s smaller frame systems offer. Mary Li, General Manager of EPlus3D’s International Division, stated, “We have solved the technical challenges and bottlenecks associated with ultra-large metal LPBF machines and approached the leading level in the industry in terms of advancement and stability of our systems.”

Eplus3D plans to provide more details about the EP-M1550 at Formnext 2023. However, it’s not the only company showcasing a many-lasered metal 3D printer at the trade show. Farsoon and BLT also introduced 16-laser machines at TCT Asia. Eplus3D’s system offers an impressive build rate of up to 650 cm³/h, surpassing Farsoon’s FS1521M with a build rate of up to 400 cm³/h. Farsoon’s machine, though, offers precise control over each laser’s operation and overlap through calibration algorithms, ensuring uniform mechanical properties across the build area.

BLT’s BLT-S800 stands out with its upgraded 20-laser high-efficiency printing technology aimed at optimizing output and productivity. While its build volume is smaller than both the Eplus3D and Farsoon systems, it is designed for large-scale batch production of specific industrial parts like turbine blades and engine casings. BLT’s market positioning is further enhanced by being the only qualified supplier in Asia for manufacturing Airbus flying parts.

It’s interesting to note that Eplus3D is using equipment from competitors Farsoon and BLT, despite not being named as a potential supplier for Apple’s LPBF 3D printing of titanium cases. This suggests that the future is still open for who the tech giant might rely on for this technology. The fact that all three major Chinese competitors have unveiled 16-laser systems, with the potential for more lasers, indicates the ongoing Laser Wars in the metal PBF market. Chinese LPBF competitors are already surpassing manufacturers in Europe and the U.S. in terms of growth. However, it remains to be seen how quickly these companies will be able to roll out machines with more than 16 lasers into the market.

In addition to the established players, startups are also emerging in the metal 3D printing space. With the continuous advancements in technology and growing competition, the market is set for further developments and innovations in the coming years.

Disrupting the LPBF Paradigm: Seurat, VulcanForms, and Freeform

The 3D printing industry has witnessed the emergence of several new players challenging the existing LPBF paradigm. Among these, Seurat, VulcanForms, and Freeform stand out for their unique approaches to deploying laser power in 3D printing. While VulcanForms has faced some setbacks, Seurat and Freeform still have the potential to disrupt the sector, provided they kickstart their commercial operations soon.

Traditionally, metal 3D printing has been dominated by Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) technology. This technique utilizes laser beams to selectively fuse a powdered material layer by layer, forming a solid object. Although LPBF has been successful, it has its limitations. The process is slow and time-consuming, making it impractical for producing large volumes of metal parts.

Seurat, a prominent player in the field, aims to overcome these limitations with their innovative approach. Instead of a single laser, Seurat employs an array of smaller laser diodes to achieve faster printing speeds. By dividing the printing task among multiple lasers, Seurat can simultaneously print different sections of the metal part, drastically reducing the overall printing time. This novel approach has garnered significant interest in the industry and holds the potential to revolutionize metal 3D printing.

Another player attempting to challenge the LPBF paradigm is Freeform. This company takes a unique approach by utilizing a proprietary technology called Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing (ECAM). Instead of relying solely on laser power, Freeform combines electrochemical and mechanical processes to construct metal parts. This approach not only improves printing speeds but also enables the production of intricate geometries and enhanced surface finishes. Freeform’s ECAM technology presents a promising alternative to traditional LPBF methods.

While both Seurat and Freeform offer groundbreaking solutions, their success hinges on their ability to transition from development to commercial operations. Introducing these technologies on a large scale would require substantial resources, including capital investment and industry partnerships. However, if they can navigate these challenges and establish true commercial viability, Seurat and Freeform have the potential to disrupt the metal 3D printing sector and capture a significant market share.

It is important to note that China also possesses its own equivalents to these novel technologies. With the nation’s emphasis on technological advancements and manufacturing capabilities, it comes as no surprise that Chinese companies have joined the race to revolutionize the 3D printing industry. Keeping abreast of the latest news and developments in the 3D printing sector is key to understanding how these novel technologies will impact the market.

To stay up-to-date and informed about all the latest news from the 3D printing industry, it is essential to follow reliable sources and subscribe to newsletters. Additionally, keeping an eye on the offerings and services provided by third-party vendors can provide valuable insights into the current trends and advancements in the field. By staying informed, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions about incorporating these disruptive technologies into their operations.

In conclusion, Seurat, VulcanForms, and Freeform are three prominent players attempting to challenge the existing LPBF paradigm in metal 3D printing. While VulcanForms has faced hurdles, Seurat and Freeform still have the potential to disrupt the sector if they can successfully transition to commercial operations. It is crucial to stay updated on the latest news and developments in the 3D printing industry to understand the impact these technologies will have on the market. With China also joining the race, the industry is witnessing an exciting era of innovation and competition.

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