Additive Operation Addresses Total System

The volume production of aluminum parts made with additive manufacturing has become one step closer to realization as a pilot operation that was announced last year by a joint venture established Daimler, German aircraft structures supplier Premium Aerotec, and additive manufacturing equipment producer EOS (eos.info), NextGenAM, has been established in a Premium Aerotec facility in Varel, Germany.

The volume production of aluminum parts made with additive manufacturing has become one step closer to realization as a pilot operation that was announced last year by a joint venture established Daimler, German aircraft structures supplier Premium Aerotec, and additive manufacturing equipment producer EOS (eos.info), NextGenAM, has been established in a Premium Aerotec facility in Varel, Germany.

The additive operation is centered on an EOS M 400-4, a machine that uses four lasers for sintering to improve throughput by as much as 3.5 times compared to a single-laser setup. The M 400-M is paired with the EOS Shared Modules concept, which means there is a powder station that allows the aluminum powder to be replenished as required and an unpacking station, which removes the parts from the machine.

Notably, NexGenAM engineers have calculated that the operations surrounding the additive processing represent 70 percent of the total manufacturing cost, so they are paying careful attention to that. One consequence is built the cell so that all processes are automated—using robots and AGVs—to get a handle on the 70 percent.

In the coming months, production data will be collected and analyzed with the aim of collating precise data on process times, profitability, and cost optimization.