Additive Manufacturing Today

Digital Metal 3D Printer

The UK’s renowned centre for innovative technology, the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, has just decided to add a Digital Metal 3d printer to their already extensive range of advanced manufacturing equipment.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was established in 2010 as an independent Research & Technology Organisation, as part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which is supported by Innovate UK. It operates some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world and employs a team of highly skilled engineers, it is the go-to place for the development and demonstration of new manufacturing solutions on an industrial scale.

The MTC is home to the UK National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM), which offers deep expertise across a comprehensive range of AM processes, from initial design to final delivery of pre-production parts. Here, companies of any size can get support on how to understand and adopt AM for their business to realise its potential benefits. The capabilities at the NCAM can be utilised to de-risk the adoption of this rapidly developing technology.

Now, the NCAM is taking the next step in driving the AM revolution in the UK, by adding a state-of-the-art metal binder jetting printer from Digital Metal to its already impressive manufacturing armoury. The printer will be available to both its member companies and other organisations interested in testing the technology and the capabilities of binder jetting. This technology is not available anywhere else in the UK and provides an opportunity for UK industry to understand and utilise its unique capabilities, especially on small, highly complex, high precision parts.

“The Digital Metal binder jetting technology falls into the category of ‘bind-and-sinter AM’, where a multi-stage process chain incorporating sintering is required to achieve full density.” says Dr David Brackett, AM Technology Manager at the NCAM. “It’s a very fast technology that can create complicated and highly detailed designs, and there is potential for wider material choice than with AM processes that use melting. We are delighted to be able to offer this to the companies we work with.”

The centre also conducts advanced research in Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) which requires a similar set of post-processing steps to metal binder jetting. “Digital Metal’s technology offers great potential for metal AM productivity and capability”, says Usama Attia, Technical Specialist at the NCAM, who is applying his expertise in MIM processing to bind-and-sinter AM technologies. “I am particularly impressed by the production speed, and the quality of the parts produced are comparable to MIM in terms of level of details, tight tolerances and quality of surface finish, with the added advantage of geometrical complexity.”

“Our printer will be delivered and installed at the NCAM in July”, says Ralf Carlström, General Manager at Digital Metal. “Within a week, the first real tests will start. The NCAM personnel are currently performing training on the equipment to make sure they will be able to operate it safely and efficiently.”

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