Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 33
generally considered a barrier to adoption. The raw metal powders for PBF
systems are identified as a particular
risk since they have multiple safety issues associated with them in terms of
skin contact and respiratory concerns.
ing down this key barrier to adoption
will make the many unique - and well
documented - advantages of metal
AM technologies available to a broader user base. The specific advantages
generated by AM adoption include
greatly increased design for manufacture (DfM) freedoms; production of
complex and functional parts without
assembly requirements; production
of stronger, lighter weight structures;
reduced material consumption; and
the cost and time savings associated
with tool-less production.
There are other barriers to adoption of direct metal AM, namely slow
build speeds, where OR LASER has
made progress, low production volumes, limited build sizes, a limited
material palette and lack of certification and quality assurance procedures
for AM. The latter issue is particularly
pertinent for highly regulated industries such as aerospace, automotive
Safety is also an issue, although not
ities of direct metal AM processes and
points to its future potential.
However, GE is a huge multi-national conglomerate with deep pockets
and the bandwidth to readily explore
the benefits of AM. Although just a
single company, this example is reflective of the type of companies that are
most actively at the forefront of working with metal AM processes. Indeed,
the industries dominating in terms of
progress with metal AM are those with
the deepest pockets, notably in aerospace, automotive and medical.
OR LASER believes in the validity
of these sectors as application leaders,
but sees great value in opening direct
metal AM up to more users including
the jewelry and engineering sectors,
as well as tier II and tier III suppliers
in aerospace, automotive and medical. To garner this type of accessibility
demands making the hardware more
affordable in terms of capital and running costs, as well as education.
The company believes that break-
OR LASER in 2017
This year is going to be particularly
busy for OR LASER as it begins shipping the ORLAS CREATOR to meet
its full order book commitments. Following its European launch, the company has scheduled the United States
launch for Rapid + TCT 2017 show later in May.
Subsequently, the ORLAS CREATOR will be introduced to the Japanese market at the Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo.
In addition, research and development continues apace with a particular emphasis on materials, which
involves working with powder manufacturers on qualifying their powders
for the ORLAS CREATOR. mt
MAY/JUNE 2017 manufacturing-today.com