3D Printer HardwareProduct Launch

Nikon launches Lasermeister LM300A metal DED 3D printer

Part of a complete package with the SB100 laser scanner to accelerate part repair

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Nikon Corporation is releasing its next-generation metal additive manufacturing system, the Lasermeister LM300A, which uses Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, as well as the complementary 3D scanner, Lasermeister SB100. These industry-leading products represent the latest strategic additions to the Nikon Advanced Manufacturing solutions portfolio. The AM products are not directly associated with those based on metal PBF technology and are sold under the brand Nikon SLM Solutions. Nikon’s corporate AM structure does however include the Nikon AM Technology Center (Long Beach, CA), which was acquired together with the company Morf3D.

Nikon launches Lasermeister LM300A metal DED 3D printer as part of a complete package with the SB100 laser scanner to accelerate part repair
The first-generation Lasermeister LM100 integrated both a laser scanner and a DED engine into the same system.

The first Lasermeister 100A metal additive manufacturing system series was launched targeting mainly research purposes. Now, Nikon is introducing this latest solution specially developed for industrial applications. Building upon the proven high-precision processing capabilities of the previous systems, the LM300A supports an expanded build area and is also equipped with the newly developed 3D scanner, the SB100. This advanced 3D scanner supports factory automation by enabling users to scan each workpiece with the click of a button and then automatically generate the tool path data for the 3D printing process to begin.

The successful pairing of the LM300A and SB100 delivers tremendous value to the industry, particularly for applications such as repairing turbine blades and molds. Currently, turbine blades are used in aircraft engines and power generators to help extract energy from hot gas. However, due to exposure to harsh conditions, these turbine blades degrade over time and periodically the worn-out blades must be repaired to continue usage. The traditional turbine blade repair process involves cutting and scraping the worn area for each blade, which takes time and generates waste. The blade is then manually welded for repair and grinding is performed to restore the part to its ideal shape. This rigorous repair process introduces many challenges including difficulties in securing highly skilled welders, which can lead to quality consistency issues and long lead times.

To address the numerous challenges in the conventional repair process, Nikon developed the LM300A and SB100 as a game-changing solution that can reduce lead times up to 65%* of the conventional welding process and minimize post-processing requirements. In addition to the turbine blade example discussed previously, this innovative technology will provide great value to automobile, railway, machinery industry and other repair applications as well.

Nikon launches Lasermeister LM300A metal DED 3D printer as part of a complete package with the SB100 laser scanner to accelerate part repair
A sample workflow for a turbine blade repair application

By simply placing a workpiece (eg. worn-out blade) inside the SB100, with a click of a button, the module begins to scan and measure the workpiece inside the chamber. It then compares its current actual shape with its ideal CAD model to extract the difference, using a built-in high-precision scanning feature. The SB100 then automatically generates the tool path data for repair specific to each damaged or worn-out workpiece. This entire process is easily completed and does not require any special skills or manual cutting of the repair area. The tool path data is then transferred to the LM300A to initiate high-precision additive manufacturing. Once the additive process is completed, the workpiece can be placed back into SB100, where it will be scanned and inspected to confirm the repair was performed to its ideal model. This automation and streamlined workflow can vastly contribute to reducing costs and lead time for industrial users.

LM300A performs high-precision processing by leveraging advanced optical and precision control technology developed across decades of Nikon semiconductor lithography systems. In the case of turbine blade repair for example, the LM300A can process within the accuracy of +0mm to maximum +0.5mm difference for the XY-axis direction and +0.5 mm to maximum +1.5 mm difference for the Z-axis direction, achieving ultra-high precision. In addition, real-time laser power control by the melt pool feedback system delivers smooth surface finishing and precise processing of parts, ultimately achieving crack-less repair with optimal quality and stability.

The ability to build onto existing parts with high precision and provide this advanced repair solution that is compatible with a variety of materials is a key benefit of Nikon’s additive manufacturing technology. LM300A supports metal materials such as Nickel alloy (Ni625, Ni718), Stainless Steel (SUS316L), High-Speed Steel (SKH51/M2/HS6-5-2) and Titanium alloy (Ti64/Ti-6Al-4V), and it is also an open system depending on customer requirements.

Specifications for Lasermeister LM300A

  • Dimensions (W x D x H) 1800 mm x 1350 mm x 2085 mm
  • Weight 1350 kg
  • Maximum processing range X: 297 mm x Y: 210 mm x Z: 400 mm
  • Powder provided by Nikon Nickel based alloy (Ni625, Ni718), Stainless Steel (SUS316L), High
  • Speed Steel (SKH51/M2/HS6-5-2), Titanium alloy (Ti64/Ti-6Al-4V)
  • Axes XYZ 3-axis

Specifications for Lasermeister SB100

  • Dimensions (W x D x H) 1040 mm x 1350 mm x 2085 mm
  • Weight 730 kg
  • Maximum scanning size Φ330 mm x H: 450 mm
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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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