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4/24/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Modular Machine Decouples Material Handling, Processing Units

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Concept Laser’s “AM Factory of Tomorrow” concept combines multiple machines and systems to enable automated, digitized and interlinked industrial series production.

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Concept Laser’s “AM Factory of Tomorrow” concept combines multiple machines and systems to enable automated, digitized and interlinked industrial series production. By decoupling preproduction and production tasks, the system enables both to be carried out in parallel and physically separate from each other, making series production of metal parts more economical, the company says.

Concept Laser offers standalone build stations with envelopes measuring 400 × 400 × >400 mm³. Each is equipped with one to four laser systems using multi-laser technology with variable focus diameters encompassing 400- to 1,000-W laser sources. A 3D scanning system integrated into the machine enables real-time adjustment of the laser spot with diameters of from 50 to 500 microns. According to Concept Laser, an available redundancy of the lasers will ensure that if one laser fails, the remaining three lasers will still cover the entire build plate and complete the job.

The new machine concept also features a two-axis coating system to allow the coater to return in parallel with the exposure, saving time in the coating process without spatter problems.

Dedicated modules for powder storage, building and processing unit can travel between machines, reducing interruptions and allowing a reliable flow of materials. These modules could be driverless transport systems in the future, reducing the workload for operators and enabling automated additive manufacturing.

New software combining machine data logging (MDL) with operating data logging (ODL) controls and monitors machine components and the flow of data. “Concept Laser Works” (CL WRX) 3.0 offers transparent process monitoring, active process configuration and automation through to component documentation, the company says. It is possible to see the amount of powder remaining, check the build progress, interpret error messages or see pending maintenance tasks in advance. At the same time, CL WRX 3.0 offers interfaces for incoming CLS data, automation tasks and links to the company’s ERP systems.

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