The M 8K metal 3D printer introduced by AMCM is expected to redefine the limits of metal additive manufacturing.

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Title: Pushing the Boundaries of Metal 3D Printing: ArianeGroup and AMCM’s Partnership

Date: September 28, 2023

Author: Oliver Johnson

In a groundbreaking development, AMCM has unveiled the M 8K 3D printer, a cutting-edge technology that pushes the boundaries of metal 3D printing. With the support of a national grant from ArianeGroup, AMCM aims to enhance the competitiveness of the Ariane 6 program by introducing this innovative printing system.

The M 8K is a significant advancement from its predecessor, the M 4K, boasting a larger build volume and the capability to support eight lasers. While the M 4K provided a build envelope of 450 x 450 x 1000 mm and utilized four 1kW lasers, the M 8K offers an 800 x 800 x 1200 mm build volume and double the number of lasers. This enhancement opens up new possibilities for the aerospace industry and other sectors that demand complex, large-scale metal components.

ArianeGroup, a joint venture between Airbus and Safran, will be the first to benefit from this partnership. The M 8K will be employed to print the combustion chamber of ArianeGroup’s Prometheus rocket engine. This remarkable part, made from CuCr1Zr, a thermally aged copper alloy, will stand over 1,000 mm tall and have a maximum diameter of 800 mm, establishing a new benchmark for dimensions and quality in the industry.

Jan Alting, Head of Future Propulsion at ArianeGroup, emphasized the importance of finding a partner who shared their vision of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. AMCM’s reputation in the industry as a 3D printing solutions provider, combined with their willingness to challenge conventional limits, made them the ideal collaborator. Alting also emphasized the need for exceptional part quality that meets the stringent requirements of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Martin Bullemer, Managing Director at AMCM, acknowledged the challenges associated with designing a printing system of this magnitude. With a build volume four times that of the M 4K, the system’s z-axis must be capable of moving up to five tons of powder with utmost precision. Bullemer also emphasized the critical role of material supply, noting that reliable powder management is essential for printing large parts with high productivity and quality.

To ensure superior process control and validation, AMCM plans to integrate the latest technology from EOS Group, specifically SmartFusion and EOSTATE Exposure OT (optical tomography), into the M 8K system. These advancements in in-process quality assurance and process monitoring will contribute to reducing testing efforts and further enhancing the printing process.

Bullemer confidently stated that metal printing has the potential to revolutionize rocket engine manufacturing, making it more flexible, cost-effective, and faster. AMCM aims to have the M 8K system operational within a year, with a commitment to deliver the first printed combustion chambers to ArianeGroup before the end of 2024.

This partnership between ArianeGroup and AMCM marks a significant step forward in pushing the boundaries of metal 3D printing. By leveraging innovative technologies and expertise, these companies are paving the way for the future of aerospace manufacturing and beyond.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation about this breakthrough innovation, join the TCT Additive Manufacturing Network. Don’t miss out on the latest developments in the 3D printing industry – get your FREE print subscription to TCT Magazine. You can also exhibit at TCT 3Sixty, the UK’s definitive and most influential 3D printing and additive manufacturing event.

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