Wednesday, 19 September 2018 10:56

WA 3D metal printer maker turns out complex parts at market speed

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The first 3D item, a bracelet, printed by Aurora Labs at market speed. The first 3D item, a bracelet, printed by Aurora Labs at market speed. Supplied

Western Australia-based 3D metal printer manufacturer Aurora Labs says it has reached the stage where it can print complex parts at market speed using its Large Format Technology.

In a statement, the company, which is listed on the ASX, said the initial parts printed achieved a speed equivalent to 662g/h or 15.88kg/day. Video.

This indicated that once a full-sized rapid manufacturing printed was built, the targeted print speed of 1000kg/day would be achievable through scaling.

The test prints were carried out on Aurora's first fully functioning LFT machine, the Alpha model, which has a print envelope of 200x200x200mm. Both the print envelope and speed would be scaled to create the first production units.

A complex part is defined as "a part that has a series of curves and internal structures that would normally be considered difficult to manufacture using traditional methods".

Examples include a valve body, a turbine wheel or a lattice structure like the bracelet printed.

Market speed is defined by Aurora Labs as the standard speed of a comparable size machine that can print titanium. Market research has shown this to be 81.7 g/hr (1.96 kg/day), a speed that Aurora Labs had easily exceeded in its trials.

Aurora managing director David Budge said: "Possibly, more than any other step in Aurora Labs’ history, this one is the most important, as it proves out at a fundamental level the potential for this technology to revolutionise the metal manufacturing market.

"The nature of the Large Format Technology and its ability to be scaled allows us to understand at this stage in the development cycle the potential for this technology to be able to print at our target rate of 1000kg/day.

"Moving forward, the company expects to have the pre-production model of the printer ready for sale to one of its industry partners before the end of [the] calendar year.

"Aurora will now focus on scaling the technology and increasing speeds to reach the targeted 1000kg/day for its full-sized large format printer."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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