The positive impact the M LINE FACTORY can have on our customers’ operations and their bottom line is huge.
GE Additive has been working on the M LINE FACTORY ever since it acquired Concept Laser in 2016 and it has just announced that the first Concept Laser M LINE FACTORY systems will be delivered to customers in Q2 2019.
Since the acquisition of the M LINE FACTORY’s design architecture, system, and software have undergone extensive review and redesign in line with established GE processes and beta testing with selected customers.
According to Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive, “The positive impact the M LINE FACTORY can have on our customers’ operations and their bottom line is huge. It’s important we provide technologically advanced systems that are reliable and add value to our customers. M LINE FACTORY delivers on those commitments.”
M LINE FACTORY
As the demand for 3D printing grows, the demand for 3D printing systems will increase and the result will be number of AM systems on the shop floor with additional operators to run these production lines. But standalone machines will be a hindrance to large production facilities as they are not suitable for series production.
So, GE Additive, worked with the Concept Laser team to develop the M LINE FACTORY, a modular machine architecture which offers outstanding automation and reliability, which drives economic, scalable series production on an industrial scale.
Above: Automated operation of Concept Laser M LINE FACTORY Systems/Video Credit: GE Additive/YouTube
The above video explains the entire production sequence with complete automation. For the first time, the core unit, comprising of Powder, build and overflow module, can be operated independently. The powder module can be replaced after each print to install new powder for next print, the build module can be individually carried to the Material Handling Station where the fully automatic sieving station transfers the excess unused powder to the powder module for further use.
Key Features of the M LINE FACTORY
Some of the key features of the system are as follows:
- Improved in-machine architecture and automation
- Enhanced serviceability, scalable modular system design and ease of service
- Increased build volume: 500 X 500 platform
- Onboard software system: Modularized software architecture, superior exposure strategies, and real-time, in-situ process monitoring
- Process Control & Thermal Stability. Control key process variables that dictate part quality.
The M LINE FACTORY has two stations Laser Processing Station (LPS) & Material Handling Station (MHS).
M LINE FACTORY LPS (Laser Processing Station)
- Build Volume: 500 x 500 x 400 mm3
- Laser power: 4 x 400 or 4 x 1,000 W
- Independently operated Modules (Powder, Build and Overflow module)
- Frontload transport system or an automated internal transport system
- Increased overlap within the build field improves laser productivity potential
- Flexible configuration allows build and process time to dictate LPS to MHS ratio
- Ease of transport: uniform size and interfaces on all modules
- Maximum footprint efficiency: the ability to stack up machines in a series alignment
M LINE FACTORY MHS (Material Handling Station)
- A processing unit for the pre/post processing and powder management with an integrated sieving station
High safety standards
- Full powder and inert gas containment by automated module lidding system
- Contactless powder handling throughout the process
- No manual handling in the process chamber
- Water-flood passivation of filters
The system forms part of GE Additive’s focus to provide additive machines that are reliable, repeatable and ready for series production.
About Concept Laser: Concept Laser GmbH, is a part of GE Additive, the additive manufacturing division of the General Electric (GE). Concept Laser is one of the world’s leading providers of machine and plant technology for 3D printing of metal parts.
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