Hermle Hybrid production service for toolmakers
Hermle offers an alternative process to laser sintering in the shape of the MPA technology. This involves a form of thermal injection, in which powder particles are accelerated to very high speeds using a carrier gas and directed onto the substrate with a nozzle.
In 2013, Germany’s Hermle Maschinenbau, Ottobrunn, introduced a new service using a Hermle hybrid machine, offering customers the opportunity to take advantage of its MPA technology (metal powder application). At Euromold 2014 the company was showcasing this technology and the range of available services and advantages for plastic injection moulding applications.
Efficiently building large-volume components
MPA technology, a thermal injection process for metal powder that uses kinetic energy to compact the material to the build surface is said to enable the generative production of large-volume components with almost any desired inner geometry. According to Hermle, workpieces with a diameter of up to 500 mm can be processed, while heating of functional elements can be integrated. To apply the material, powder particles are accelerated via a carrier gas to high speeds and applied via a nozzle to the substrate. Due to high local pressure and low temperatures, the particles are deformed at impact, thus creating a solid material composite.
The application unit for the metal powder is integrated into a Hermle 5-axis processing centre. The company noted that the hybrid notion of its machine means that “a proven cutting technology has been extended to include the numerous possibilities of generative production."
As early as 2007, Hermle presented an application and coating process developed by its Innovaris subsidiary, the so-called Alchemy technology. How the Alchemy coating technology of 2007 differs from the MPA process is explained by Rudolf Derntl, managing director at the Ottobrunn-based division. “The central components of the machine installation, which are decisive for the metal powder coating application, have been re-developed. Implicit in these changes in the hardware was a new design in the control and software area. With these changes, it was possible to guarantee the process security and thus also guarantee – for the first time – the production of generatively produced workpieces in hybrid form. With the help of the newly-developed ‘MPA-Studio’ software, components with free-form surfaces can be produced generatively on 5 axes. This means that cost-effective production with reproducible high component quality in high batch-numbers now exists and is already being used by Hermle’s customers.”