SLM Solutions, the leading provider of industrial metal additive manufacturing systems, launched another game-changing software solution called Free Float. The latest addition to the company’s portfolio now empowers the creation of metal components with previously impossible designs and unmatched productivity, reducing overall material usage and minimizing the end-part cost to achieve industrial-scale production.
Sam O’Leary, CEO of SLM Solutions, recapped the event by saying, “With the launch of Free Float software solution, you can design bolder, freer, and with fewer limitations. Today you can work faster and more productively. Today you can go to the place that will take you to the next level. Now that’s disruption.”
In a surprise revelation during the after-event panel discussion, he also announced that the basic subscription would come free of charge, “We’re not messing around. Free Float software solution is a game-changer that will enable success and shouldn’t be limited regarding accessibility.”
Support structures have puzzled the company’s Chief Engineer, Dieter Schwarze, from the very conception of the SLM® technology. Since the 1990s, support structures have been an inherent part of the 3D printing process. However, often, the design of the main component was limited due to the support structures needed to build them, and support structures could be a substantial section of the overall part volume. Supports also need to be removed later during the post-processing phase and increase material usage, which by default increases cost. These factors prompted Mr. Schwarze to wonder, “Is a support-free future viable?”
Years later, that future looked possible for the first time. In 2017, a first glimpse at what would become Free Float software solution was discovered as a by-product of a research project. After rigorous research and development, Free Float was born. Today, its unique vector technology establishes thermal management that significantly decreases net build time while simultaneously enhancing part quality, especially the case in overhang areas, which can now free float, like the branches of a tree.
It’s the latest and greatest in software innovation for SLM Solutions and reflects its initiative to be the best in class for its customers. At the forefront of its design was seamless useability: Its three profiles, low, medium, and high, easily give you the desired outcome. In the words of its product manager, Benjamin Haas, “You do not need a Ph.D. to use it.”
And, following SLM Solutions’ open architecture philosophy, Free Float was designed to be retrofittable on many previously built systems, including the SLM®280 Production Series, the SLM®280 2.0, the SLM®500, the SLM®800, and the NXG Xll 600.
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