Renishaw SLM (selective laser melting) is an additive manufacturing process capable of producing fully dense metal parts direct from 3D CAD using a high-powered fiber laser. Parts are built from a range of fine metal powders that are fully melted in a tightly controlled atmosphere layer by layer in thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100 microns.
The current range of machines are third generation designs, which, according to the company, provide significant enhancements over previous models. They include variable powder delivery, ultra-low oxygen content in the build atmosphere and a safe change filter system to minimize user materials contact. The range comprises the SLM250 and the SLM125, both of which have been designed with a touchscreen interface and have various menu options for preparation and clean down.
The SLM125 is designed for rapid materials changeover via a cassette type materials delivery system and by the removable hopper on the SLM250. According to the company, the Renishaw SLM machines are intended to safely process reactive materials, such as titanium and aluminum. In particular, the gas knife that clears away reactive sooty emissions and the heated build plate are both pre-requisites for the successful processing of both materials.
Both the new machines feature a fully welded vacuum chamber, enabling low-pressure evacuation followed by a recharge with high purity argon gas. The gas consumption rate allows operation at oxygen concentrations below 50 parts per million.
All file preparation is completed off-line through a choice of interface, either Marcam Autofab software or via Materialise Magics. Once complete, the build file is uploaded to the machine via a secure network or direct connection. Product traceability is available with the addition of process data and event logging.
For more information, visit Renishaw.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company's website.