New LaserProFusion additive manufacturing technology claims to rival injection molding

EOS polymer 3D printer

Industrial 3D-printing systems maker EOS (Krailling, Germany) announced today that it will introduce a “revolutionary technology for polymer additive manufacturing” at formnext 2018. The company claims that the process can replace injection molding in a number of applications. Formnext comes to Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 13 to 16.

EOS’ new LaserProFusion technology employs nearly one million diode lasers to melt the material and additively build parts instead of having a single CO2 laser move back and forth, as is customary in laser sintering. The company claims that the productivity of its build process makes additive manufacturing a feasible alternative to injection molding in many applications.

The laser array can achieve a maximum total output of up to 5 kilowatts. For each layer, only the diode lasers that match the CAD data of the part are activated, down to the exact pixel, said EOS. The new technology significantly shortens exposure times, regardless of the number of parts and their geometry.

At formnext 2018, EOS also will showcase its M 300-4 system, which it describes as the foundation of a production cell for serial additive manufacturing with metal materials. It multiplies productivity by a factor of 10 compared with other systems, according to the company, while producing industrial-grade parts.

Finally, EOS will be introducing a materials classification system, Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), to show attendees. Developed by NASA and applied in numerous industries, TRL classifies materials and processes according to their technological maturity. EOS will divide its material products into two categories: TRL 3 to 6 refers to core products, whereas premium products are placed in the TRL 7 to 9 category and are suitable for use in serial manufacturing. The objective, said EOS, is to provide transparency that will enable companies to compare industrial 3D printing with traditional manufacturing techniques and other 3D-printing technologies.

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