Velo3D Ships First Sapphire XC to an Aerospace Customer

The production scale up version of Velo3D’s end-to-end solution was shipped to a key aerospace customer to improve Its additive manufacturing capabilities.

The production scale up version of Velo3D’s end-to-end solution was shipped to a key aerospace customer to improve Its additive manufacturing capabilities.

Velo3D, Inc. has announced its first Sapphire XC delivery. The Sapphire XC, or “Extra Capacity,” is Velo3D’s newest and largest metal 3D printer that delivers faster production and larger parts. The Sapphire XC is a scale up version of the Sapphire printer, using the same Flow print preparation software, the same Assure quality control software and the same Intelligent Fusion manufacturing process.

Sapphire XC is built to enable a seamless transition of parts that were developed and qualified on Sapphire to the larger, more productive Sapphire XC, reducing the cost of producing parts, the company reports. Sapphire XC also expands the use of Velo3D’s production solution to parts that are larger in volume than the largest parts possible to produce with Sapphire, the company adds. The customer receiving the new Sapphire XC will use it to scale up production of its product that is built using the Sapphire fleet of metal 3D printers they already have.

“I believe that the Sapphire XC will quickly become the gold standard in advanced metal additive manufacturing,” says Benny Buller, Velo3D CEO and founder. “Because our customer is already utilizing our end-to-end production solution, they can immediately and seamlessly move parts to Sapphire XC to achieve a phenomenal production rate increase.

“We made a huge effort to ensure that Sapphire XC uses the exact same manufacturing process as Sapphire,” Buller adds. “The ability to move production seamlessly between different products was considered impossible when we started Velo3D, but I am proud to declare that we have unlocked this ability for our customers and partners.”

Velo3D currently has a backlog of firm bookings for 17 additional Sapphire® XC systems as well as 19 additional reservations. The demand is primarily driven by the lower production costs Sapphire XC can enable for customers who have adopted the original Sapphire printers and its ability to produce much larger parts. These improvements are largely driven by new features and capabilities the printer delivers, including:

  • Larger build volume: The Sapphire XC is one of the largest available laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) printers with a build volume of 600 mm in diameter and 550 mm in height—400% larger volume than the original Sapphire system, the company notes.
  • Additional lasers: The Sapphire XC uses eight 1-kilowatt lasers to selectively weld powdered metal layer-by-layer. Velo3D’s Sapphire system uses two 1-kilowatt lasers.
  • Faster non-contact recoater: Compared to its Sapphire system, Velo3D’s protrusion-tolerant recoater is now twice as fast on Sapphire XC, significantly reducing non-productive overhead time, the company adds.

The Flow pre-print preparation software analyzes part designs and prescribes a set of known recipes needed to manufacture the part. Customers upload the CAD file for a part they would like to print and the software’s integrated simulation engine creates a file that can be used across any device to build exactly the same part. As parts are printed, the Assure quality assurance and control system monitors the build and provides detailed reporting for full traceability layer by layer. This gives customers confidence that the parts produced are identical across Sapphire printers.

The Sapphire XC is able to print using various materials that are often used in the production of parts in the aviation, aerospace, defense, oil and gas, and energy industries. The list of available metals includes Inconel 718 & 625, Hastelloy X, Hastelloy C22, Aluminum, Scalmalloy and Titanium Ti-6Al-4V. Velo3D evaluates and qualifies new materials for use in its end-to-end solution.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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