CHIRON Group’s First Metal 3D Printer

CHIRON Group’s First Metal 3D Printer
Deposition toolhead on the AM Cube metal 3D printer [Source: CHIRON Group]

A manufacturing equipment provider has developed their own metal 3D printer. 

Germany-based CHIRON Group has been producing manufacturing equipment for decades, currently having revenues of about half a billion euros each year. They have over 2,000 staff and offices and plants located worldwide. 

And now they have a 3D printer to add to their product lineup: the AM Cube. 

It’s an interesting device as it is designed in a modular fashion. 

AM Cube Features

The 3D printing process used is laser deposition welding, where a wire material is fed toward a deposition head. The deposition head includes a powerful laser that precisely melts the wire as it emerges and deposits it on the build surface. This process can use a wide variety of materials, including most usable for welding. 

This process enables several different types of applications. CHIRON Group explains:

“According to the objective of the development, the AM Cube should be very versatile: It can be used to produce semi-finished products, repair components or apply coatings. It should also be ‘easy to use’ and be used predominantly in mechanical engineering, tool manufacturing, energy production and aerospace.”

The most interesting aspect of the AM Cube seems to be the modular design. They explain: 

“A five-axis system for the construction, coating and repair of cubic components and a four-axis system for shaft processing. All core components are fitted to the base with a modular design and are housed in a laser-proof and gas-tight cab. Peripherals such as the laser source, wire feeder, cooling system and control cabinet are positioned outside. 

The modular design allows for adaptation to specific customer requirements and also further variants in future too, such as with automation solutions.” 

This unusual approach leads to an absence of specifications, such as build volume: it can change depending on the nature of the specific application. 

The AM Cube is new and seems to be still undergoing beta testing. CHIRON Group reports they have secured at least one company for initial testing, Stellba AG, based in Switzerland. This organization seems to be focusing on “repairs and coatings”, rather than additive manufacturing directly, but still testing will take place. This demonstrates the versatility of the AM Cube, as its ability to precisely position the deposition head enables the ability to deposit metal coatings on existing objects. 

CHIRON Group is one of several manufacturers of traditional equipment that have recently added 3D printing capabilities. While these vendors have considerable experience in making equipment for factories, they tend to be new into the 3D printing space. I’m wondering how quickly they will learn the space as there are plenty of well-established competitors at this point. 

Via CHIRON Group

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