GE Additive has just revealed a laser powder-bed fusion metal 3D printer, the first BETA machine developed for Project A.T.L.A.S.
Just as the doors opened at Frankfurt Messe for the start of formnext 2017, GE Additive wasted no time stealing the spotlight at this industrial 3D printing trade show. Earlier today, the additive manufacturing trailblazer revealed its first BETA machine developed as a part of the Project A.T.L.A.S (Additive Technology Large Area System) program.
This meter-class, laser powder-bed fusion machine is designed for producing large metal parts and components. The printer was engineered with a mixture of technology previously developed by GE and Concept Laser’s expertise in Direct Metal Laser Melting. Concept Laser, a German 3D printing firm, was initially acquired by GE Additive back in 2016.
The GE Additive BETA machine will offer a scalable solution that can be configured and customized to specific industry applications. Target sectors include aerospace, automotive, oil and gas industries, among others.
The GE Additive BETA machine offers a generous 1.1 x 1.1 x 0.3M build volume. It also has a scalable architecture that can increase the Z-axis to 1.0M and beyond. Other key features include discrete dosing to cut material costs, a 3D scanner that translates with the laser, optimal airflow throughout the print area, and exceptionally high resolution prints.
Although this potentially groundbreaking machine has just surfaced at formnext 2017, GE Additive and Concept Laser spent nine months developing the BETA printer.
The machine is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1kW laser, which is able to be reconfigured in order to integrate other lasers. GE believes that this technology will be well-suited for large and complex metal components, such as aerospace components.
“Irrespective of industry, every customer has its own specific needs and its own unique levels of complexity. We regularly hear that next-generation machines need to be customizable and configurable. The new meter-class machine we’re debuting at formnext is our response to that feedback – a solution that is scalable and customizable and meets the needs of our industry, as it matures,” said Mohammad Ehteshami Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive.
Details on the GE Additive BETA machine are still sparse, but the announcement marks a major milestone for a company that has been plotting to conquer industrial 3D printing for a few years. With an ambitious plan to sell 10,000 3D printers over the next decade, this new metal additive manufacturing system seems to be the crucial first step in accomplishing that goal.