Nikon releases Lasermeister LM300A, its latest Metal 3D Printing System

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Nikon Lasermeister LM300A Directed Energy Deposition 3D printer
Nikon Lasermeister LM300A Directed Energy Deposition 3D printer/Source: Nikon

Nikon Corporation has announced the release of the Lasermeister LM300A, a next-generation metal additive manufacturing system that employs Directed Energy Deposition (DED). It also released the Lasermeister SB100, a complementary 3D scanner. These industry-leading products are the latest strategic additions to Nikon’s Advanced Manufacturing solutions portfolio.

The Lasermeister 100A metal additive manufacturing system series was launched primarily for research purposes. Nikon is now introducing its latest solution, which was specifically designed for industrial applications.

Lasermeister LM300A & Lasermeister SB100

Nikon Seamless scanning and tool path generation
Nikon Seamless scanning and tool path generation/Source: Nikon

Building on the previous systems’ proven high-precision processing capabilities, the LM300A supports a larger build area and includes the SB100, a newly developed 3D scanner. This advanced 3D scanner facilitates factory automation by allowing users to scan each workpiece with the click of a button, which then automatically generates the tool path data for the 3D printing process to begin. The successful combination of the LM300A and SB100 adds tremendous value to the industry, especially for applications like repairing turbine blades and moulds.

Currently, turbine blades are used in aircraft engines and power generators to extract energy from hot gases. However, due to exposure to harsh conditions, these turbine blades degrade over time, and the worn-out blades must be repaired on a regular basis in order to continue operation. The traditional turbine blade repair process involves cutting and scraping the worn area of each blade, which takes time and creates waste. The blade is then manually welded for repair, and grinding is used to return the part to its original shape. This rigorous repair process presents numerous challenges, including difficulties in locating highly skilled welders, which can result in quality consistency issues and lengthy lead times.

To address the numerous challenges in the traditional repair process, Nikon created the LM300A and SB100 as a game-changing solution that can cut lead times by up to 65% (according to Nikon’s calculations) and reduce post-processing requirements. In addition to the previously discussed turbine blade example, this innovative technology will be extremely useful in the automobile, railway, and machinery industries, as well as other repair applications.

Key Benefits

Seamless Scanning and Tool Path Generation

By simply placing a workpiece (e.g., a worn-out blade) inside the SB100 and pressing a button, the module begins scanning and measuring the workpiece inside the chamber. It then uses a built-in high-precision scanning feature to calculate the difference between its current actual shape and its ideal CAD model. The SB100 then generates repair-specific tool path data for each damaged or worn-out workpiece.

This entire procedure is simple and requires no special skills or manual cutting of the repair area. The tool path data is then transferred to the LM300A, which initiates high-precision additive manufacturing. Once the additive process is finished, the workpiece can be returned to SB100, which will scan and inspect to ensure that the repair was performed to its ideal model. Automation and streamlined workflows can significantly reduce costs and lead times for industrial users.

High-precision Processing for Various Metal Materials

The LM300A achieves high precision processing by utilising advanced optical and precision control technology developed over decades of Nikon semiconductor lithography systems. For turbine blade repair, for example, the LM300A can process with an accuracy of +0mm to maximum +0.5mm difference in the XY-axis direction and +0.5 mm to maximum +1.5 mm difference in the Z-axis direction, resulting in ultra-high precision. Furthermore, the melt pool feedback system’s real-time laser power control ensures smooth surface finishing and precise part processing, resulting in crack-free repair with optimal quality and stability.

Nikon additive manufacturing technology has the ability to build on existing parts with high precision while also providing this advanced repair solution that is compatible with a variety of materials. The LM300A supports metal materials such as nickel-based alloys (Ni625, Ni718), stainless steel (SUS316L), high-speed steel (SKH51/M2/HS6-5-2), and titanium alloys (Ti64/Ti-6Al-4V), and it is also an open system depending on customer requirements.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Tech News page for more updates on Global 3D Printing News. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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