I went to the ongoing IMTEX 2023 exhibition in Bengaluru to see how digital manufacturing is being represented in India. The presence of a separate DM pavilion at IMTEX 2023 attests to the growing relevance and use of these new manufacturing and automation methods. As the country’s leading media organisation, I was able to witness the presence of a large number of prominent 3D printing companies exhibiting their wares at the event. One of the topics I wanted to investigate at the event was the presence of Hybrid Manufacturing systems in India and the response they are receiving.
I visited some of the top manufacturers’ booths and am sharing some of the best Hybrid Manufacturing options available in India right now.
Hybrid Manufacturing Systems in India
For those who are unfamiliar, hybrid manufacturing systems combine two or more technologies, specifically additive and subtractive technologies. These systems combine the best of both technologies at competitive prices that are affordable to even small businesses. While traditional end-users are still learning about additive and are sceptical of the technology’s ROI, hybrid offers an alternative.
DELTASYS E FORMING – Polymer Hybrid Manufacturing
The presence of a polymer hybrid manufacturing system from DELTASYS E FORMING, a 3D printing company from Belgaum, was one of the most notable attractions of the Digital Manufacturing Pavilion (Hall 1B) at IMTEX 2023. This is a relatively new 3D printing company that specialises in the manufacture of 3D printing machines but has quickly risen to indigenously develop hybrid manufacturing systems in India.
The team is taking orders, if any company is interested and learn more about their hybrid large format additive manufacturing system. This machine is available in a variety of sizes, beginning with a build volume of 1200 x 2400 x 1000 mm. It includes a pellet extrusion system and a nozzle capable of extruding at a speed of 25Kg/hr but this can also be increased to 100Kg/hr.
AMS Metal Hybrid Manufacturing
The next booth I went to was the massive Ace Manufacturing Systems stall in Hall 4, which was heavily crowded with company representatives sharing information on their machines with interested visitors. After a few inquiries about their metal 3D printer, I became interested in their metal hybrid system. The 850V Hyb-AM system is a new launch for the company and is on display for the first time at an event.
With a wire-arc torch and a machining spindle, the machine combines metal additive (wire arc) and subtractive technologies to deliver faster products with fine surface finish and high accuracy.
Though I was able to obtain the machine’s preliminary pricing, I am unable to share it at this time because it is yet to be commercially launched and pricing may change. So, for the time being, I’ll keep the pricing to myself.
Phillips Additive Hybrid Manufacturing
Phillips Additive takes a unique approach to hybrid. Phillips Additive has collaborated with Meltio to develop their additive engine, the Meltio 450, which can be integrated into any CNC machine to operate as a hybrid system. It is integrated into the CNC via a toolhead or a robotic arm, and both options are precision and accuracy tested.
Having a hybrid system means increased productivity and less downtime. If a company is not reliant on additive manufacturing, the 3D printer may sit idle most of the time, whereas with a hybrid system, you are always working on the machine. If you want to use additive, print parts with it or just use it for regular CNC operations. As a result, the advantage of having an exclusive additive manufacturing system is obvious.
BFW Metal Hybrid Manufacturing
Bharat Fritz Werner (BFW) recently introduced Photon Platforms of disruptive technology, which function with powder and wire by precisely slicing and laying beads on top of one another.
To produce highly complex and accurate parts, the Photon 1000H hybrid system combines additive and subtractive operations with a 5 Axis Motion.
The Photon 1000R is an 8-axis robot 3D printer designed to produce medium to large components with unlimited flexibility while producing complex and larger components. This machine has a variety of printing options, including single-wire, dual-wire, and powder. To achieve a fine surface finish, print with common industrial materials such as SS, Inconel, MS, and Carbon steel and use subtractive operations.
The Photon 4000G hybrid system has a massive 3 x 3 x 4 m build volume. It has a deposition rate of approximately 5 kg/hr and can print common materials such as stainless steel, mild steel, carbon steel, titanium alloys, nickel alloys, cobalt and alloys.
All of BFW’s hybrid systems are powered by the industry-recognized Meltio engine, which enables many of the machines’ features. It allows for single or dual wire printing, as well as multi-material printing with a CNC and robotic arm integration.
Mazak Metal Hybrid Manufacturing
Despite the fact that Mazak has a hybrid manufacturing system, it is not on display at the IMTEX show. The INTEGREX I AM is a stand-alone 3D printer based on a laser metal deposition system, whereas the VARIAXIS AM series hybrid system combines laser metal deposition or wire arc with a 5-axis machining centre.
Users can quickly 3D print parts to near-net shape and then quickly post-process them with the machining centre to remove excess material and layer lines. This includes the ability to repair and modify existing parts.
If you haven’t already been to IMTEX 2023, I recommend you go and check out the various hybrid manufacturing systems in India on display. Few people, even in the end-user community, are fully aware of the massive benefits that a hybrid system can provide, and if you are an end-user, you have to see it to believe it.
The hybrid systems are much more similar to conventional systems and will thus integrate seamlessly into your manufacturing operations. This is a great way to get started with 3D printing, and you can eventually graduate to using exclusive AM systems, but only if they meet your production needs.
Furthermore, hybrid systems are not prohibitively expensive when weighed against the value and results they provide. Certainly, a cutting-edge machine that every manufacturer should have in its arsenal to face the challenges of the future.
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