Aurora Labs Ships First Metal High-Volume 3D Printer
Aurora Labs announced a couple of very interesting things on their journey to a high-volume metal 3D printing world.
Aurora Labs’ Metal Printing Process
The Australian company has been developing a highly unusual form of metal 3D printing that could, if they prove it out, enable practical 3D printing of up to 1 tonne of metal material per day. Their RMT (Rapid Manufacturing Technology) volume target is vastly larger than any other metal 3D printing process we are aware of.
Their system uses the familiar powder bed-laser approach, but with a twist: the system employs a kind of “grating” that slides across the build surface in a way that allows multiple layers to be produced in a single pass. They finally revealed the RMT metal 3D printing process last year. The concept seems to work, and is apparently quite scalable, which should lead to their lofty goal of 3D printing 1000kg of metal in a single day’s print.
Aurora Labs’ Print Speed
First, their engineers have apparently been tweaking the system and have achieved yet another milestone in metal 3D printing speed.
They say they have achieved a print rate of 350kg of metal per day. It’s not clear that they literally 3D printed 350kg, but rather that their prototype machine was able to print finished metal objects at that rate.
This is quite significant and demonstrates their progress towards the 1000kg goal. Their CEO, David Budge, said:
“When you consider that we recorded print speeds of 15.8kg/day on the Alpha printer last September, this equates to a greater than 2000% speed improvement in 12 months.”
That’s significant, and it now seems quite likely they will achieve their goal within a year or at most two by simply continuing to scale up their systems.
AdditiveNow Buys RMP-1 Metal 3D Printer
The second interesting announcement was that they have placed the first device using RMT at a customer site.
It’s a beta machine, obviously, and is now installed at their client, Australia-based AdditiveNow, a company providing bespoke manufacturing services for complex metal parts. They will no doubt be shaking down the RMP-1 device by using it for real customer requests.
The machine will be located at AdditiveNow’s Western Australia location, quite near Aurora Labs’ HQ. The arrangement will permit Aurora Labs to access the equipment for further testing and tuning.
This appears to be an excellent arrangement whereby Aurora Labs can obtain direct customer feedback. There’s nothing like letting something loose in the field to find out what’s right and what’s wrong. And in the latter case, trigger adjustments.
Via Aurora Labs