Aug 30, 2016 | By Alec

EOS, one of the world’s most prominent metal 3D printing pioneers, is about to up the ante. While already leading the way with their direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) 3D printers, their upcoming flagship 3D printer will doubtlessly turn the heads of all their competitors. Called the EOS M 400-4, which will debut at the IMTS show in Chicago two weeks from now, its their biggest and fastest DLMS 3D printer to date. Relying on an ultra-fast quad-laser system, featuring four independent lasers that can manufacture four parts simultaneously, it should take industrial metal manufacturing to the next level in terms of speed and quality.

This quad-laser platform is a huge step forward for EOS, who has been part of the metal 3D printing scene for decades. Founded way back in 1989 in Germany by Dr. Hans J. Langer and Dr. Hans Steinbichler with an eye on optics systems, they found tremendous success pioneering direct metal laser sintering platforms and are working with industrial partners all over the world. Just a year ago, they shifted their attention to the smaller scale when releasing the M 100 – a smaller, more affordable DLMS 3D printer intended for small batch production and companies that are completely unfamiliar to 3D printing.

But with this latest release, EOS is going in completely the opposite direction – seeking to shatter existing boundaries of productivity, industrialization and part quality. But it is, in every sense, building on the trusted EOS benchmark. THE EOS M290 was a huge success in its own right, but the M400-4 is simply four times more productive through its four lasers and a 400 x 400 x 400 mm build volume. The 400 Watt lasers each have an autonomous build space of250 x 250 mm (with a 50 mm overlap), enabling the production of four parts simultaneously. “As such it is the perfect choice for those Additive Manufacturing applications that need an up to four times faster production of metal parts,” they say.

But aside from its four-pronged laser attack, the M 400-4 also has some other upgrades. For starters, it features the new EOS ClearFlow process gas management system, which ensures optimal and consistent processing conditions. This clever system distributes the gas intelligently to avoid interfering with the lasers, while it also features a recirculating filter system that reduces operating times and expenses.

That is further supported by an improved software system and EOSTATE Monitoring Suite, which have been updated to cope with the production demands of four lasers. “The extensive EOSTATE Monitoring Suite ensures compliance with the requirements of industrial production: it enables monitoring of the powder bed, of a variety of parameters as well as the laser power. Data preparation and calculation is separated from the building process: the file prepared at desk is transmitted via the network,” the German engineers say.

The EOS ParameterEditor, meanwhile, will allow material parameter modification. Right now, the M 400-4 can 3D print both EOS NickelAlloy HX and EOS MaragingSteel MS1 materials, with more following in the near future.

According to EOS CMO Dr. Adrian Keppler, this 3D printer perfectly fits in their development strategy – which is aimed at opening up new industry markets. “The EOS M 400-4 is a perfect addition to our industrial systems portfolio. It shatters the boundaries of manufacturing as it meets the most demanding requirements of our industry partners in terms of efficiency, scalability, usability and process monitoring,” he says. “As the system offers a modular platform designed for industrial 3D Printing, it can easily be integrated into existing production environments and the customer set of future innovations.”

While the 3D printer won’t be unveiled until the IMTS show in Chicago, EOS has already found a very prominent adopter in Siemens. “We chose the EOS M400-4 system to bring our AM activities to the next level: from a small scale, single laser unit to a larger scale, multiple laser unit. By using a wider building platform, with the higher productivity it provides, and pairing it with a new handling system, new thinking in gas turbine design can be brought into the industrial workshop,” said Andreas Graichen from the Finspang Additive Manufacturing Centre of Competence at Siemens’ Power Generation Services.

Graichen further argued that this four laser system is the logical response to the fast pace at which metal-based industries are developing. “[It] provides us with the speed and efficiencies needed to progress in the energy industry’s fast-moving digital environment. And as such makes Siemens a unique player in the field of highly efficient power generation technologies,” he argued. While that system will be fantastic to witness, we will have to wait until the IMTS show in Chicago (12 to 17 September). If you happen to be planning to visit IMTS, you can catch EOS at booth N-79.



Posted in 3D Printer



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