Linear expands laser sintering to support conformal cooling, more


Additive manufacturing has become a big part of Linear Mold & Engineering's  business as demand for end-use parts and conformal cooling lines for molds have grown. To help meet increased demand, Linear recently installed a new EOSINT M280 laser sintering system - Linear's fifth EOSINT machine - from EOS GmbH, and an SLM 280 Selective Laser Melting system from SLM Solutions GmbH, its first SLM machine.

Linear becomes the first additive manufacturing service bureau to install an SLM 280. According to John Tenbusch, Linear's president, the company chose the SLM 280 because of its larger build chamber (280-by-280-by-350 mm) and higher laser power (400/1000 Watts fiber laser).EOS Eosint

The SLM 280 also can be used with a new 1-KW fiber laser. Highly efficient protective gas consumption, along with the patented safe filter system and bidirectional loader movement, provides optimal process conditions in a high-performance system with consistent build quality.

The SLM 280 is capable of building parts using a wide range of metals including stainless steel, tool steel, cobalt-chromium, super alloys, aluminum and Titanium.

"With Linear's recent expansion and equipment additions, we are becoming a full-service production supplier of aerospace parts using additive manufacturing technology," explained Steve Spaleny, senior account manager. "Because we are seeing greater demand for more end-use parts, our customers require complete dimensional inspection data to certify the quality of the parts the aerospace companies are buying from us. We must have the capability to provide this inspection data to support the accuracy of our products manufactured using additive manufacturing processes."

Using the DMLS and SLM technologies means that Linear can help the aerospace industry eliminate significant weight, as well as minimize the need for welding, brazing and fasteners. Not only does additive manufacturing technology reduce weight, but it reduces time, costs and the environmental impact by cutting the number of components being produced singularly, which reduces energy requirements, scrap and packaging to ship the singular parts.

 "We have the capability to take smaller assemblies of 4-5 parts and 'grow' the entire component, and turn multiple part assemblies into one part," stated Spaleny.

"The more production parts we do using DMLS, SLM and plastic injection molded parts, the greater our need for higher levels of quality inspection to prove out that accuracy," said Spaleny. "The recent addition of a Coordinate Measuring Machine was a natural and critical step toward assuring quality in the continued growth of Linear's production manufacturing."

Additionally, Linear will present at two upcoming trade shows in June. The company will make a presentation at Amerimold (June 12-13; Donald E. Stephens Convention Center; Rosemont, IL). The session - Engineering Panel 2 "Mold Technology that Affects Your Customers" - begins at 9:30 am on Wednesday, June 12.

Jason Warr, senior account manager for Linear, will discuss the use of Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to "build" conformal cooling lines, a business that complements the company's mold manufacturing business.

Linear will also make a presentation at RAPID 2013, the largest conference and trade show in North America for the additive manufacturing industry. Attendees will learn about the advantages of Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for conformal cooling lines in injection molds. RAPID 2013, a program of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, takes place June 10-13 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Making the presentation at the 10 am session - Additive Manufacturing Applications - on June 12, is Brandy Badami, Account Manager for Linear Mold & Engineering's DMLS division. Badami will be explaining the benefits of DMLS for conformal cooling lines over conventional conformal cooling lines.

Linear will also be celebrating its 10th Anniversary June 5-7, with Linear Days.  In addition to the company's additive manufacturing and mold making capabilities, Linear operates nine injection molding machines ranging from 33 to 1000 tons clamping force to perform mold validation and tryouts in-house, as well as short runs, pre-production runs, and even production runs.

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