SLM Solutions is the major contractor on a project set to build what should be the largest 3D printer ever.
According to a press release from Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), they have been awarded a US$5.2M contract that “involves building the world’s largest additive manufacturing (AM) machine.”
The intent of the project is to enable the US Air Force the capability to produce “longer” metal parts. The goal is an industrial metal 3D printer that has at least a 1.5m (1500mm) Z-axis. This is quite a bit larger than current metal LPBF 3D printers in this class.
SLM Solutions’ biggest device is the truly massive NXG XII 600, a device that uses no less than twelve independent 1kW lasers. As big as it is, however, the NXG XII 600 has a build volume of “only” 600 x 600 x 600 mm.
CTC is to work with SLM Solutions to build a custom LPBF metal 3D printer that meets the target specifications of 1500 mm in the Z-axis.
From the sounds of this, it would appear that SLM Solutions would attempt to “stretch” their NXG XII 600 model in the Z-axis to make it taller. We could then see something like the “NXG XII 1500” appear. However, from the project announcement banner it seems that the device is named as the “NXG XII 600E”.
This suggests two things:
The new machine will have twelve lasers, just like the NXG XII 600
They don’t know precisely the Z-axis height yet, so they’re using “E” instead of a number
The partners did not specify a date by which this massive device would be completed, nor the cost. However, with the US Air Force contract to CTC being US$5.2M, you can be assured it will be less than that.
SLM Solutions CEO Sam O’Leary said:
”Partnering with CTC, a premier research and development company, will help us achieve the goal to create a new AM capability. We look forward to collaborating on an AM machine that will work much faster than existing equipment and feature the largest build envelope in the industry by far.”
Making this device for CTC and the US Air Force is one thing, but it will surely lead to another. Having designed and produced the NXG XII 600E, it is likely there will be other parties also interested in the technology. After all, there are plenty of large metal parts that could be 3D printed.
In other words, this contract will likely fund the development of a new and very powerful device for SLM Solutions.
Via SLM Solutions