‘Disrupting’ the market with a hybrid production centre
ETMM: You’ve described this method of production as sequential process through addition and subtraction and then more of both. What advantages does this technique offer?
Lell: The Lastertec 65 Additive Manufacturing is unique in the way that it enables the design of workpieces that are purely function-optimised regardless of any restrictions found with traditional machining methods. Many components that can be produced on [the machine] don’t even exist today.
Hyatt: We can also switch materials mid-process. So, if we want a core of one alloy with a surface that is more corrosion-resistant or more wear-resistant, we can switch alloys at will through the deposition rate.
ETMM: How much will you work with buyers to develop such materials?
Hyatt: We have to leave most of this up to the user because the OEMs know exactly what material properties they need from what they are designing. We typically don’t know the stresses and conditions their components are subject to.
ETMM: It seems clear that this technology is well-suited to make conformal cooling inserts. Are there any other areas where die and mould shops might be able to apply this technology?
Hyatt: One area is to avoid having to build up the entire part by deposition. Because we have large envelope machines, we can take a big mould base or other component that has been conventionally manufactured and only deposit the areas that could not be manufactured traditionally.
ETMM: This all sounds great. What will it cost?
Lell: At this stage we are only presenting a concept study. The commercially available machine portfolio will be demonstrated at the upcoming IMTS and AMB, both taking place in September 2014. We plan to go into serial production at the same time.