Nov 15, 2018 | By Thomas

GE Additive has announced that its first Concept Laser M LINE FACTORY systems will be delivered to customers in Q2 2019.

The Concept Laser M LINE FACTORY system is reported to offer automation and reliability, driving economical, scalable series production on an industrial scale. Since GE Additive’s acquisition of Concept Laser in December 2016, the M LINE FACTORY’s design architecture, system and software have undergone review and redesign in line with established GE processes.

GE said that during detailed rig testing and lifetime testing, a number of areas were identified for improvement and have since been incorporated into the system. For example, the build volume has been increased to 500 x  500 x 400 mm, and improvements have been made to the serviceability, process control and thermal stability, and on-board software system.

Part production, as well as set-up and the dismantling processes, is said to take place in two independent machine units. The units can be operated separately from one another or combined depending on each customer’s preference. This enables production processes to run in parallel rather than sequentially, which reduces downtime considerably and in turn increasing the availability and output quantity of the process chain.

The platform consists of the laser process station and the material handling station. M LINE FACTORY LPS (Laser Processing Station) boasts four lasers of either 400W or 1KW and comprises three independent modules: powder module, build module and overflow module. These for the first time can be activated individually – and do not form one continuous unit. These modules are transported automatically via the internal transport system. Meanwhile, the M LINE FACTORY MHS (Material Handling Station) serves as a pre and post processesing and powder management unit with an integrated sieving station.

“The positive impact the M LINE FACTORY can have on our customers’ operations and their bottom line is huge. It’s important we provide technologically advanced systems that are reliable and add value to our customers. M LINE FACTORY delivers on those commitments,” stated Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive.

GE Additive has also announced its intention to offer a suite of secure build preparation services to be commercially available at the RAPID + TCT show in May 2019. The company has also unveiled partnership agreement with the additive industry’s leading software vendors; Autodesk, PTC, Siemens PLM Software and Vera Security to address the need for simplified, interoperable and secure digital workflows. GE Additive has also initiated a collaboration agreement with industry leader Dassault Systèmes.The terms of each agreement were not disclosed.

At formnext, GE Additive demonstrated its forthcoming digital workflow software solution. GE Additive’s software strategy centers on simplifying the additive process and enabling an interoperable workflow. Its vision is to create a common experience through a secure, intuitive tool that reduces design iterations and speeds up the time to print a good part, according to the design intent.

GE says to do this it will involve the combination of several elements, including:

  • a simplified and secure build preparation workflow spanning the entire design to print process
  • Interoperable build prep services available to CAD providers
  • the speed and accuracy of GeonX’s simulation coupled with iterative thermal compensation
  • improved slicing performance
  • off-machine build processor

“We acknowledge that the industry needs to improve overall interoperability for design engineers,” said Lars Bruns, software leader, GE Additive.

Working with partners helps allow GE Additive to provide build preparation services directly into the tools of choice for design engineers. GE Additive says it will continue to seek feedback from customers and end-users during interactive demo presentations at formnext and announced it is recruiting interested parties to participate in beta testing, through its Software Advisory and Technical Preview program.

“Feedback is a critical activity in the development of any software system, which is why we are demonstrating our current capabilities in Frankfurt. Over the next eight months, we’re seeking customer input from our users to help us inspect, adapt and iterate ahead of our commercial launch,” continued Lars Bruns.

Another GE Additive announcement at Formnext comes through AP&C who will begin production of aluminum alloy F357 powder in Q1 2019 with customer deliveries expected from April 2019.

Aluminum alloy F357 powder will be produced using AP&C’s proprietary Advanced Plasma Atomization (APA™) at its recently expanded facility in Saint-Eustache, Canada. This new, automated plant offers a full production capacity of 1,000 tons.

Aluminum shares similar characteristics with titanium, and aluminum alloy F357 powder has the same quality signature as APA titanium powders - good processability, high flowability, high packing, low porosity and high purity - which are all required by the additive manufacturing industry to enhance performance and reliability of the aluminum printing process.

“It’s great to add aluminum F357 to our portfolio. Our customers have been asking us to provide aluminum solutions to address the challenges they currently experience. We are confident we’ve developed a solution that solves these challenges,” said Alain Dupont, President & CEO, AP&C. “The modular cell-based structure of our new plant in Saint-Eustache allows us to respond quickly to the additive industry’s demands as it rapidly evolves,” he added.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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