The Aachen Center for 3D printing, the Aachen University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) have announced the installation of a Concept Laser XLine 2000R SLM system at the Center for 3D Printing. The system is in operation as of June 1, 2017, following an unveiling ceremony attended by forty industry experts and researchers.
The system is located in the new Digital Photonic Production industry building on the RWTH Aachen University campus, Aachen, Germany, and will play a pivotal role in the SLM-XL research project, intended to accelerate and optimise the entire manufacturing process for large metal components. Scientists on the project are reported to be working closely with the Digital Photonic Production research campus, which is located in the same building and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
According to Fraunhofer ILT, the XLine 2000R is the world’s largest Selective Laser Melting system. With its build envelope of 800 x 400 x 500 mm, it is capable of manufacturing metal components with a maximum volume of 160 litres.
The Aachen Center for 3D Printing is working with local small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as leading Additive Manufacturing companies, to develop AM processes for large metal components, with the goal of significantly shortening the often extremely long and expensive development process and producing large-volume tools adapted to provide custom functions, that are either impossible or very difficult and expensive to manufacture using conventional processes.
Sebastian Bremen, Team Manager SLM Productivity at Fraunhofer ILT, stated, “The new joint SLM facility offers SMEs the opportunity to implement their own additive projects on an XXL scale using a facility that cost €2 million; a price tag generally too high for any individual company. Thanks to the Aachen Center for 3D Printing, SMEs now also have access to a technology that can make them more competitive and innovative. In addition, this unit is another important step towards establishing a joint research group between Fraunhofer ILT and the University of Aachen.”