Desktop Metal announced the availability of 316L steel for their Shop System.
Desktop Metal has been in the news prominently over the past months, but ironically not for anything to do with metal materials. Instead, they’ve been on a bit of a buying spree, absorbing several competitors and building up a rather comprehensive array of different 3D printing technologies.
Meanwhile, their original two systems, the Studio and Shop Systems are still being produced and sold.
But there’s news about the Shop System, a metal 3D printer designed for use in workshops for low or mid-volume production. The Shop System uses a different 3D printing process than the office-friendly Studio system, binder jetting.
The binder jet process involves selectively dropping liquid binder onto a flat powder bed, layer-by-layer, until the object is completed. Then this part is extracted from the powder and placed in a smart sintering furnace to burn out the binder and fuse the metal particles together.
Desktop Metal has made the process reliable by accounting for the shrinkage that inevitably occurs during de-binding by adjusting print dimensions and thermal profiles during sintering. The result is a system that can produce multiple batches of metal parts per day.
Up to now the binder-jetting Shop System has been able to use 17-4PH stainless steel and chrome cobalt. But now the company announced the availability of 316L steel for the Shop System. They described the new material:
“Known for its corrosion resistance, high ductility, and excellent mechanical properties at extreme temperatures, 316L is an austenitic stainless steel well-suited for demanding environments and applications, such as parts exposed to marine, pharmaceutical, or petrochemical processing, food preparation equipment, medical devices, surgical tooling, and consumer products such as jewelry.”
Desktop Metal said they have been able to meet the MPIF 35 standard of the Metal Powder Industries Foundation when printing 316L steel on the Shop System.
Co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal Jonah Myerberg said:
“The launch of 316L for the Shop System is a part of an aggressive and extensive materials roadmap to broaden our AM 2.0 portfolio and address a rapidly expanding set of use cases for our print platforms. We are fully focused on developing opportunities for our customers to produce parts competitively with conventional manufacturing, and we are excited to be able to extend our binder jetting technology to meet this need and address key existing and emerging killer applications for 316L in the market.”
While this might seem to be a minor announcement, it really isn’t. That’s because many applications require very specific materials to succeed. In other words, there are absolutely companies that would not buy a Shop System simply because it could not print 316L steel parts.
Now they can.
With this move, Desktop Metal has certainly greatly expanded the size the market for the Shop System, and it sounds like they will be doing this again with other required materials.
The more materials, the better.
Via Desktop Metal