In a competition for hardware size, capabilities, productivity (and giant facilities) that has literally taken on in China, EPlus-3D, one of the leading Asian (and global) manufacturers of polymer and metal L-PBF systems, is launching the new EP-M1550, which is likely going to be (at the time of launch) the largest commercially available metal L-PBF system in the world.
The new system implements an innovative four-matrix sixteen-laser sixteen-galvanometer configuration (but can be customized to 25 lasers). Its XY direction net shape format measures 1550 X 1550mm and the Z direction net shape reaches 1000 mm (but can be customized up to 2000 mm). While SLM Solutions delivers on its plans with the new Adira technology, not many metal AM – especially PBF – machines are going to be able to compete.
The machine supports various metal powders such as titanium alloy, aluminum alloy, stainless steel, high-temperature alloys, die steel, cobalt-chromium alloys, etc. According to the company, the machine’s printing speed can reach up to 540cm³/h, which is suitable for direct manufacturing of high-performance components in the aerospace field. This is achieved via the sixteen lasers operating synchronously.
EPlus-3D also says that the EP-M1550 additive manufacturing system has been well received by the first customers. It is planned to be fully rolled out to customers in September.
According to E-Plus-3D, the EP-M1550 is the result of independent research and development, as well as the design of additive manufacturing technology. It features a unique and innovative design in optical system calibration, wind field system debugging, powder spreading system control, and mechanical and electrical control systems, which can effectively guarantee lap joints. Area splicing accuracy control makes full-format printing consistent.
The laser beam quality of the EP-M1550 is also said to be high (M 2 ≤ 1.1); the light source is stable and the spot diameter is small. Multi-laser optical path and function consistency are reportedly very stable, and forming accuracy is guaranteed. Furthermore, the positioning of the substrate is accurate and the installation is quick and convenient. The substrate is easy to adjust and can effectively ensure the accuracy of the printing area;
The precision of the laser printing splicing area is high, the deviation of the power value of the laser radiation to the processing plane is controllable, the deviation of the spot diameter of the beam focused on the processing plane is controllable, and the position deviation between the focal plane and the processing plane is controllable. The self-developed software accurately plans the laser scanning path to ensure uniformity of formed parts.
The actual size of the printing chamber is 1558 x 1558 x 1100 mm with a build volume of 2,670 liters. As the Z-direction height can be customized to be as high as 2,000 mm, and the maximum build volume can be larger than 4,854 liters, which significantly expands the application scenarios for net shape metal additive manufacturing technology. The machine can print continuously for a long time, and E-Plus-3D says mechanical properties are stable and controllable, with a density of the metal printed parts greater than 99.9%. Layer thicknesses are adjustable and layers can range from 20 μm to 120 μm. The printing layer thickness can be effectively adjusted according to the complexity, topology optimization degree, inner cavity wall thickness and other part characteristics to improve the printing speed.
In an effort to make 3D printing move towards direct manufacturing, the hardware manufacturer is also implementing several features to make running the machine more intuitive and user friendly. EPlus-3D control software can complete the entire control process from data to parts processing and molding. The software independently develops the EPHatch printing process planning software, which can optimize the effective printing path for the sliced data.
The final and fully operational EP -M1550 additive manufacturing system printing parts will be exhibited for the first time at TCT Asia 2023 in Shanghai.