Aug 17, 2016 | By Alec

While laser 3D printing has sometimes been criticized for being too expensive and too limited in its usefulness, it’s obvious that the technology’s popularity is surging. This is certainly reflected in the sales figures of numerous prominent laser-based 3D printing specialists. Just last week, SLM Solutions reported excellent growth figures, and now fellow German specialists Concept Laser have revealed that 2016 has been hugely successful so far – with an 88 percent increase in sales compared to the same period in 2015.

Concept Laser is a very promising company based in Lichtenfels that has been making a name for itself in industrial circles. Founded in 2000 by couple Kerstin and Frank Herzog, Concept Laser has been particularly praised for its patented LaserCUSING layer construction technology and its top-of-the-line industrial grade machines. What’s more, they have not at all suffered from a supposedly stagnating 3D printing market, as 2015 was the best year in their history in terms of sales.

But it looks like 2016 is ready to break this record, if these excellent figures for the first half of 2016 are anything to go by. According to the company, their technology is really taking hold in several sectors. “The aerospace industry in particular as well as medical technology but other sectors too are increasingly committed to 3D metal printing. This again presents Concept Laser with a high level of dynamism which is being attended to with numerous structural and organizational measures,” they said of their success.

QM Meltpool 3D monitoring concept.

According to president and CEO Frank Herzog, they also easily surpassed target figures for this period. Herzog further argued that their focus on technological progress is the biggest reason for this success, and added that they will continue heading in that direction. “The transition to the industrial series production of additively manufactured metal parts is increasingly stimulating our growth. But this is where our constant aspiration to advance the technology with further innovations and cater for the needs of the market and our customers in the best way possible is also paying off. From the end of 2016, the next logical step will then be the commercial launch of our new machine architecture,” he argued.

What’s more, the company has also seen increasing demand from service providers, while their 200R X 3D printer line, featuring the world’s largest build envelope for powder-bed-based laser melting has also contributed to their success. The company further expects to exceed sales expectations for the second half of 2016 as well.

Concept for decoupled AM Factory of Tomorrow

The German company believes that their QM Meltpool 3D, which enables in-situ process monitoring and has key to their products since 2004, also contributed to their popularity in the aerospace and medical technology sectors. “The system records positional characteristics of the meltpool while the part is being created. This data can be visualized on a three-dimensional map and analyzed by the user,” they say of the system. “The tool also saves time and money compared to conventional part testing.”

So what’s next for Concept Laser? At the end of the year, they will be releasing a new 3D printer based on their vision of the ‘AM Factory of Tomorrow’. They are envisioning stand-alone processing stations featuring a 400 x 400 x >400 mm³ build envelope, which will combine one to four laser systems with multilaser technology. A new 2-axis coating process, which cuts down coating process time, and new automated tool changing and material flow systems with high levels of flexibility will also be included. “The basic idea behind the new machine architecture from Concept Laser results in an increase in availability and downtimes kept to a minimum. But the basic concept of the ‘AM Factory of Tomorrow’ does in fact go beyond this approach and also envisages linking up with traditional manufacturing methods, e.g. in the post-processing of the parts,” they say.

The concept of the smart factory, which allows for automated and economical series production of metallic parts, is thus at the core of Concept Laser’s ‘Industry 4.0’ plans. And if the 2015 and 2016 sales figures are anything to go by, we won’t be at all surprised if the German metal 3D printing specialists extend their successful run into 2017 with this forthcoming 3D printer.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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