Digital Metal Launches No-hand Production Concept for 3D Metal Printing

The majority of Digital Metal's 3d printing production process steps will be handled by a robot, which will eliminate most manual work, thus increasing productivity.

Digital Metal introduces a fully automated no-hand production concept for 3D printing systems. Image courtesy of Digital Metal.

Digital Metal, whose 3D printers feature binder-jetting technology, is launching a fully automated no-hand production concept.

The majority of the process steps will be handled by a robot, which will eliminate most manual work, thus increasing productivity. The robot will feed the printer with build boxes and then move the boxes for post-treatment in a CNC-operated de-powdering machine combined with a pick-and-place robot. There, the remaining metal powder will be removed and recycled, and the parts placed on sintering plates. The main robot will then move the plates to the sintering furnace for combined debinding and sintering, either in batches or for continuous production.

“Most AM technologies show a very low level of automation,” says Ralf Carlström, general manager at Digital Metal. “Our aim is to change that. With the new no-hand production line, our customers can further improve their productivity and lower the production costs. Almost all manually intensive work can be eliminated and in addition the powders removed in the cleaning machine can be recirculated in the process, thus minimizing waste. As we see it, the Digital Metal technology is now applicable for serial production of high-volume components.”

Digital Metal introduces automation during the powder removal step as an initial step toward full no-hand production. During de-powdering, the CNC-controlled movements are based on the information from the printing process. All removed powder is collected and recycled without any degeneration of properties.

“We believe there is a huge potential for our unique technology,” says Ralf Carlström. “Not only is it very fast and cost-effective, [but] it is also able to create complicated and highly detailed designs with wide material choice.”

Digital Metal commercializes high-precision 3D metal printers for the production of small, high-volume components. Digital Metal’sbinder jetting technology enables the production of high-quality complex objects with surface finish, which is not possible with competing technologies. The company also offers manufacturing of metal components. Digital Metal was founded in 2012 and has its headquarters in Höganäs, Sweden. The company is part of the Höganäs Group, a large producer of metal powders. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company.

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