What is Additive Manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing machines rely on the concept of building up an object one micro-layer at a time – in some cases, with supports built up simultaneously to prop up the partially completed object during the process. These supports can be removed once the object is completed.
The process begins with a virtual 3D model of a part which is then cut into ultra-thin horizontal slices. The shape of each slice is encoded into a digital file, which is transferred to the printer. The machine directs a high-energy laser light source to trace the slices one by one in a bath of resin or bed of powder, creating solid layers. As each layer hardens, the machine moves the part so that another layer of material can be built on top until the entire design is complete.
Key benefits of 3D print machines include lightweighting of parts, increased part accuracy, speed, and flexibility for prototyping, and faster time to market from initial concept to production.
BPG designs and manufactures stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers used to make prototypes, tools and production parts for our customers within the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. These machines are used to make prototypes, tools and production parts. SLA technology uses ultraviolet laser light to cure or harden layers of liquid resin to slowly build up a complex part. In a single batch, SLA technology can produce multiple parts with sharply defined edges, accuracy, and good surface finish.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
BPG designs and manufactures selective laser sintering (SLS) printers for our customers within a range of industries. SLS technology uses a laser to “sinter” raw powders, binding them together with intense heat to form solid layers that build up a completed part. Materials for SLS 3D printers include thermoplastic, glass-filled nylon, fiber-reinforced composite, impact-resistant thermoplastic, and flame-retardant nylon. SLS produces tough, complex parts with high durability and accuracy.
BPG designs and manufactures selective laser melting (SLM) printers for our OEM customers within a range of industries. SLM technology uses a high powered laser to melt metal powders (steel, aluminum, titanium, etc..), binding them together with intense heat to form solid layers that build up a completed part. Materials for SLM 3D printers include various steel alloys, aluminum, and titanium. SLM produces metal parts with all the characteristics of machined parts.
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