Within the MAESTRO project, different demonstrator parts will be realised using new production methods for additive manufacturing, especially by DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering).
This technology allows designs that would not be possible using traditional methods such as machining or casting.
The main advantage of the DMLS process is freedom to create complex geometries inside a part, such as cooling channels inside the moulds for injection molding, bionic designs and lattice structures.
To build a part by DMLS, the 3D data of the object has to be sliced into layers along the height. The real object is built layer-by-layer, which is common for all additive manufacturing methods. Some parts require supports, depending on the part’s design.
Supports help to print the part and to avoid warpage during the build. They are removed after production.
The DMLS building process consists of four repeating steps
- 1The re-coater applies a thin layer of powder material to the building platformRead moreThe re-coater is a blade that spreads powder and creates a perfectly flat surface. It can be a ceramic or steel blade, depending on the powder type
- 2A powerful laser beam then melts the powder as defined by the computer-generated part design
- 3The production platform is subsequently lowered by one layer thickness
- 4Further powder material is added by the re-coater and the material is melted once again, bonding with the layer below
The two primary drivers for additive manufacturing in the MAESTRO project
- Cost saving, generally done by designing complex parts, which would be very expensive to machine or by saving cost further downstream, by producing lightweight, longer lasting or more efficient parts.
- Part performance improvement, done by designing parts that cannot be produced in a conventional way, utilising the freedoms of AM design.