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Fonon targets mining industry with Bulk-To-Shape (BTS) metal PBF technology

The proprietary AM process and materials will enable rapid, on-demand production of parts that can endure intense shock and vibration

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Fonon Corporation highlighted applications for its upcoming systems based on Bulk-To-Shape (BTS) application-specific additive manufacturing/metal 3D printing technology for the mining industry. This technology is currently being developed by the US-based company – a multi-market holding company, R&D center, equipment designer and manufacturer of advanced laser material processing systems for subtractive and additive manufacturing – and has not been fully commercialized.

Mining equipment and structural elements must endure intense shock and vibration. Often situated in remote, less accessible locations where transporting spare parts is costly and time-consuming, mines employ equipment that is built to last – but some failures are bound to happen. Maintaining these machines can be a challenge. Fonon’s BTS additive manufacturing will provide mining professionals with a solution by delivering them a method to produce parts and tools locally.

Rather than collecting extensive inventories or risking downtime when replacement components are not available, operators will be able to use obsolete parts or raw materials for reproduction. When fully actualized, Fonon’s BTS system will be capable of re-creating a 3D model through a combination of conventional laser additive manufacturing with original metal powder production.

Fonon targets mining industry with Bulk-To-Shape (BTS) metal PBF technology for parts that can endure intense shock and vibration

As a result, critical parts can be obtained faster, less inventory is required onsite and a more sustainable supply chain carbon footprint can be achieved. Physical inventories can be replaced by digital inventories and new components and parts can be produced on-demand. Fonon’s BTS-powered systems will give users the power to fabricate complex geometries and optimize the designs of existing parts for better performance and reliability, as well as providing the benefit of reduced material waste.

Indeed, BTS technology aims to offer a way to improve practices in the industry and advance toward sustainability goals. Whereas traditional subtractive manufacturing methods generate waste, Fonon reconstructs the product and its subassemblies in one structure, achieving minimal waste and saving costs on materials. In addition, transportation resources are reduced as metal 3D printing would occur closer to worksites.

Fonon’s 3D laser metal printing systems will utilize a layered, digitally-driven additive manufacturing process that directs high-quality, focused laser energy to fuse metal powder into 3D objects. Production-quality parts and metal prototypes will be capable of being BTS-manufactured directly from a digital model.

Fonon’s advanced manufacturing systems will utilize Direct Drive Motion and proprietary LaserComb Beam Shaping technologies to position a powerful laser for enhanced production speed and consistency. The system will even ensure a balanced distribution of light across the powder bed, achieving a significant decrease in reflectivity and improved beam quality. This technology will not rely on galvo scan heads, ensuring a consistent laser focus throughout the entire build process and across all layers, which results in uniform products. The technology will also support rapid processing over a wider area with a uniform, high-precision laser beam.

BTS represents Fonon’s continuously growing umbrella of building-block technologies supported by patents, licenses, next-generation hardware and proprietary metal processing intellectual property dedicated to designing specialized 3D metal printing systems for industrial and manufacturing purposes that represent the fastest path to production readiness.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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