GROB Launches GMP300 Metal Additive Manufacturing System Based on LMP Technology » 3D Printing Media Network

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With the new GMP300 metal 3D printer, GROB, a German company specializing in automated production systems, seeks to offer its customers a production system for manufacturing near-net-shape components through the AM range for the first time. The new LMP (Liquid Metal Printing) system, which was first unveiled at an internal GROB exhibition, heralding GROB-WERKE’s entry into the additive manufacturing sector, has now also been showcased at the Forum additive manufacturing in progress in Berlin.

Since powder bed fusion (PBF) using lasers is currently the most common process in the metalworking industry, GROB-WERKE seeks to address critical aspects, such as the high cost of materials raw materials in conjunction with the effort required to handle the powder, the low thickness-increase rates of many systems and the long concurrent processing times, as well as the high degree of labor required for the post-processing steps required. As with all additive manufacturing processes, functional surfaces require additional post-PBF processing, negating the benefit of good component resolution in the real process. The many disadvantages are against an economically viable real use.

A 3D printed LMP metal part. Image credits: Gil Lavi, Alliances 3D.

New manufacture GROB GMP300

In light of this and to meet market demands for customized and near-net-shaped products, Liquid Metal Printing (LMP) was developed at GROB as a future-oriented additive manufacturing process, economically strong and at the same time flexible which eliminates the disadvantages of traditional additive manufacturing in the metalworking sector.

With the GMP300, GROB offers its customers reliable, efficient and economical system technology with maximum production flexibility for individual and small series production. GMP stands for GROB Metal Printing, and 300 for the size of the working area, 300 x 300 x 300 mm³, in the machine. The GMP300 is equipped with 3-axis kinematics and a maximum axis speed of 30 m/min. The inert atmosphere protects the component from oxidation, ensuring consistent material quality.

Advantages of the GROB LMP process

Unlike the known powder bed fusion process, the raw material of the LMP process developed by GROB is wire. This not only reduces material costs. Additionally, the use of wire poses no health or explosion hazard, simplifying the wearing of personal protective equipment and omitting additional work steps such as component dusting and sieving and processing. powder. Additionally, the LMP process is a micro molding process and not a welding process, having little or no thermal distortion. This allows the processing of non-weldable alloys.

The LMP process generates a homogeneous microstructure with elastic limits equal to or even sometimes higher than the values ​​of the raw material. Moreover, the process offers impressive flexibility and productivity. Flexibility is achieved by being able to change material quickly without excessive cleaning effort, by the highly variable drop diameter, and by being able to change both printhead and nozzle during the buildup process. The high productivity of the LMP process is mainly due to the high build rates achievable, reduced post-processing work, and the fact that component costs only slightly exceed the fill level of the build base.

Future-oriented LMP technology

LMP technology is not yet widespread on the market. GROB nevertheless sees it as an important addition to existing metallurgical additive manufacturing processes. Its process prevails with a higher buildup rate than comparable PBF systems and with better component resolution than current DED (Direct Energy Deposition) processes.

When developing the GMP300, GROB had already taken steps to ensure a robust and industry-ready implementation. “Without powder handling, integrating the system into an existing production line can be done without increased safety precautions,” said Johannes Glasschröder, PhD in Engineering and Additive Manufacturing Team Leader, citing another benefit. “In addition, we envision a great synergy effect for the required post-processing of functional surfaces with our existing portfolio in the machining range.”

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