Has metal-based 3D printing arrived in the manufacturing industry and is SLM® technology ready for series production? What does it take to make the leap to industrialisation? With the most recently introduced SLM® machine NXG XII 600, SLM Solutions provides answers to these questions. The machine sets new milestones in terms of productivity, installation space, reliability and safety and paves the way for the future of additive manufacturing. Now SLM Solutions is presenting application examples manufactured on the NXG XII 600. These demonstrate not only the productivity and speed of the machine, but also the impressive reduction in cost per part.
The NXG XII 600 is equipped with 12 1 kW lasers and has an installation space of 600x600x600 mm, which enables the production of large-volume components with layer thicknesses of up to 120 µm and more. Variable focus diameter, bidirectional powder coating, laser load balancing and an optimised gas flow also increase the machine's productivity. The closed powder system ensures maximum safety.
One company that has already been able to test the productivity of the NXG XII 600 is Porsche. The Advanced Powertrain Engineering department also focuses on powertrain applications such as e-drive housings, crankcases and cylinder heads in additive manufacturing. In a proof-of-concept with the SLM® machine NXG XII 600, a complete e-drive housing with an innovative AM design was successfully produced. Porsche places high demands on the component: the permanent magnet motor with 800 volts operating voltage has an output of up to 205 kW (280 hp). The downstream two-stage transmission is integrated in the same housing and drives the wheels with up to 2,100 Newton metres of torque. This highly integrated approach is designed for use on the front axle of a sports car.
The housing combines all the advantages of additive manufacturing, such as topology optimisation with lattice structures to reduce weight, functional integration of cooling channels, higher stiffness, reduced assembly time through the integration of multiple components, and improved component quality.
Falk Heilfort, development engineer for advance drive development at Porsche, says: "This new manufacturing technology is interesting for us both technically and economically. Examples of application are particularly in development phases or prototype production, especially in small series and motorsport, as well as in spare parts for classic cars." The e-drive housing measures 590x560x367 mm and was produced in just 21 hours on the NXG XII 600.
Ralf Frohwerk, Global Head of Business Development at SLM Solutions is thrilled with the results of the Porsche part: "We are proud to work with highly innovative companies like Porsche. The NXG XII 600 achieves unmatched performance and functional optimisation on key automotive components. The cost reduction enables broad use of additive manufacturing technology for true volume production. We are excited about this major step towards the full industrialisation of additive manufacturing of metal parts for Porsche applications."
SLM® technology is an iterative process that uses high-powered lasers to melt metal powders along predefined paths. SLM® technology enables the simple and rapid production of intricately shaped components that are considered impossible using traditional subtractive techniques such as casting, drilling or milling. Unlike traditional manufacturing, SLM® technology thus allows a high degree of design freedom.