A report in April month of this year states that Mohammad Ehteshami, the Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive revealed that the firm has planned to launch a new metal 3D printer and had started working on the same almost before two years from now.
Now on Wednesday, the General Electric (GE) has announced that it is bringing the world’s largest laser-powered 3D printer. It is the metal additive manufacturing machine having a build volume of 1 meter cubed (1,000 mm³) and named as ‘ATLAS’ by the firm.
To develop ‘ATLAS’, GE has included the laser expertise of the German company and presently running Laser’s concept along with a build envelope of 800 x 400 x 500 mm. The project has been under development for the past two years.
Unlike other commercial and consumer 3D printers, this printer make use of metals like titanium, aluminum and other rather using plastics, resins, and filaments to print and can print up to one meter. It could print an entire engine block for a truck or car and can replace the current working specialized machines required to make such type of products in a factory.
GE announced that the ‘ATLAS’ will be available in November but with the facility to print objects up to one meter in only two directions, say length and width. But it also cheers users by adding that the production version coming next year will be able to print in all directions.
At the time GE was busy with its laser-powered 3D printer. Volkswagen is already experiencing the advantages provided by the 3D printing. The automaker announced that the engineers and line-technicians at the Volkswagen Autoeuropa factory in Portugal, manufacturing 100,000 cars per year are making use of Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 2+ printers. The printers here provide the custom-designed tools like jigs, gauges and fixtures to the 4,000 workers of the factory instead of relying on external vendors and printing parts for the cars themselves.
Volkswagen said that now the 3D printers can save up to 90% in production cost as well as can reduce the tool development time by 95 %, by itself, making 93 % of the tools that the factory need to purchase from external vendors. It also clarifies the aforementioned saying by reporting that the company has saved $150k last year and hoping it to reach 250k this year.
Luis Pascoa of Volkswagen Autoeuropa said that “we realize that ‘automaker’ make it possible to output the tools with complex designs and geometries such as undercuts, overhangs, etc. that being multifaceted, founded more useful in our daily basis operations”.
The CEO of Ultimaker, Jos Burger said,” the product increases the productivity of the manufacturers like Volkswagen Autoeuropa by reducing the tool lead time from prior sixty days to just six days now”.
The product proves to be beneficial as it saves time and cost to a large extent, increases the productivity, simple scalability, etc.
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