Digital Metal launches DM P2500 3D printer

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Digital Metal launches DM P2500 high precision 3D printer for intricate metal parts

Swedish firm Digital Metal, part of the Höganäs Group and said to be the world’s leading producer of metal powders, has today (19th September) announced commercial production of what it describes as the industry’s "first high precision binder jetting 3D metal printer to produce smaller and more intricate components than any previous technology". The DM P2500 is claimed to be ideal for precision serial production and customised parts, including metal dental components and tools.

For four years Digital Metal has used its proprietary binder jetting technology to produce both bespoke tiny objects and high precision small components at scale. Binder Jetting is a 3D printed additive manufacturing (AM) process in which a liquid binding agent is selectively deposited to join powder particles. Layers of material are then bonded to form an object.

To date, the company has produced approximately 200,000 precision pieces for customers in several industries, including dental tools, aerospace, luxury goods, and industrial equipment manufacturing. The DM P2500 marks the expansion of its business.

The new machine continuously prints in 42 µm layers at 100 cc/hr without the need for any support structures, and offers a 2500 cm3 print volume available. This, the makers claim, makes it possible to manufacture small objects in high quantities (up to 50,000 parts in one print run) including, “shapes, geometries and internal and external finishes never before achieved”. The DM P2500 delivers a resolution of 35 µm and an average surface roughness of Ra 6 µm before finishing.

Digital Metal say that, "for the first time, complex precision architectures with medical grade smoothness can be printed on a minute scale, as well as moving parts within other objects, and a gradient of holes in a single print". The process can be adapted to print a variety of dental materials that require sintering after printing. Powder removed before sintering is reused for subsequent jobs, which, the manufacturer says, makes it the most sustainable AM technology available today.

The result is high yield production and low scrap rates, meaning downtime is kept to a minimum, and there is none of the powder degeneration that other AM processes experience.

“With the DM P2500 we are bringing to market a tried and tested 3D metal printer with the capability to produce objects with unparalleled accuracy and surface finish at high volume – from day one we delivered one-off parts in large volumes,” said Ralf Carlström, General Manager, Digital Metal.

“The Digital Metal business has doubled year on year since its inception, however we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential this technology offers for designers and engineers.

“We believe we will see huge demand for this technology. By making the printers commercially available we hope to facilitate and fuel that demand.”

Luxury watch manufacturer Montfort approached Digital Metal to print the Swiss Alp inspired dials for its watches because, "the binder jetting technique was the only solution that allowed Montfort the creative freedom to make watch dials with a design and finish that resembles the mineral, crystalline structure of rock".

“Now it’s time to open the market by allowing other businesses and manufacturers to take advantage of our proprietary technology and know-how,” Carlström continued. “From designers who crave more freedom to industries that hoard spare parts that are never used, we want to shake up their thinking for future product design and maintenance. Items can be printed on-demand, in the singular or en-masse.”

Digital Metal also provides all the ancillary equipment required with each machine, as well as ongoing training and support. It will target industries that have a lot to gain from additive manufacturing of small and complex components, including dental, automotive, healthcare, aerospace, and luxury fashion.

Digital Metal is currently in discussions with various partners to help facilitate product distribution and support across the globe. The company plans to exhibit at TCT Show, 26-28th September, Birmingham, UK, and Formnext, Frankfurt, Germany, 4-17th November.