Selective laser melting
Maximum design flexibility due to additive manufacturing
Short process chains, high complexity and maximum design flexibility – made possible by metal 3D printing. This material-saving process is thus the alternative to classic CNC milling for the production of small, highly complex parts. At ACTech we guarantee proven quality standards at all levels of the production process to offer you maximum reliability for your project.
Fast, precise production technology
Material-saving process for the production of complex parts
Implementation of delicate structures with extremely thin wall thicknesses
Delicate parts with complex geometries are often conventionally produced using CNC milling. However, the more complex the structures, the more difficult is implementation. In some cases, highly different tools are required and many surplus chips are produced which have to be elaborately recycled and processed. Metal 3D printing (selective laser melting, SLM) on the other hand offers significant advantages: Additive manufacturing reduces material expenditure to a minimum and the excess powder can be almost completely recycled.
In addition, even the most complex geometries can be processed without tools thanks to the process-related design flexibility. Selective laser beam melting is a powder bed process in which metal powder is locally exposed by a laser, layer by layer. Based on a defined, material-specific process parameter, the exposure is performed in such a way that the respective uppermost layer is locally completely melted and the underlying layer partially melted. The material then solidifies to a dense material with a melt-metallurgical bond between the single layers and the adjacent melt traces.
The build-up of parts starts on a substrate plate, which fixes the part during the construction process. Support structures are also partially printed along with the actual part. These act to dissipate heat from the part and for stabilization during the configuration process. Without the support structures, surfaces aligned parallel to the substrate plate for example could not be built up because the connection to the lower layer would be missing. As soon as a layer has been exposed, the substrate plate is lowered by the amount of the layer thickness and the coating unit applies a new powder layer.
The scanning process then starts again. This process repeats until the complete three-dimensional part including support structures has been configured. After completion of the part and subsequent heat treatment (stress relief annealing), the part is separated from the build platform by electrical discharge machining. The support structures that are no longer needed are then removed manually or semi-automatically. To exploit the full potential of 3D printing, it is advisable to finally machine any functionally relevant surfaces.
Innovative technologies and pioneering know-how are required to implement new ideas and visions. This is why, at ACTech, we integrate 3D metal printing into our proven process chain. As a consequence, we also guarantee our consistently high level of quality here which has made us the front-runner in the field of rapid prototyping in metal – whether for prototypes or batches. Thanks to our certified quality assurance and testing with test certificate, you can rely on above-average quality for every metal 3D printed part you order from us.
Our no risk strategy offers you even more: Project management, design and engineering, machining as well as quality assurance are available from a single source at ACTech. This means you benefit from one responsible contact person across the entire process chain who keeps you regularly informed via status updates. Thanks to consistent process optimizations and our experience with more than 230,000 prototypes in metal, you receive your finished part with batch-comparable properties in record time.
At ACTech we have a few things that place us ahead of the competition, and we also help you to expand your competitive advantage. On request, we develop 'tailor-made' parts and standards in close consultation with you – including test report of course. When you 'all in' with ACTech, you clearly set yourself apart from the run of the mill.
Can castings be printed 1:1 in metal?
In most cases this is possible, depending of course on the building space of the printer. One should however bear in mind economic efficiency, because simply substituting a traditional production technology such as casting is not economical with regard to the possibilities of 3D printing. Furthermore, the potential of 3D printing is not exploited in the slightest. Optimally, you will have designed a part suitable for printing or adapted the casting for a printable construction.
Are the materials in 3D printing comparable to materials in casting?
In terms of metallurgical composition, the materials in our portfolio are no different to cast alloys. As a result of the different production processes though, the materials differ in their microstructure or matrix. Due to process-dependent high temperature gradients during the 3D printing process, a very fine microstructure with relatively high density (>99%) is produced compared to the casting. The static properties of the additively manufactured parts in most cases generally exceed those of cast products. Consequently, the materials differ in terms of their microstructure from an identical part produced once additively and once conventionally. The static properties of both are at least comparable, or else the additively manufactured part is even better.