Cardiff University adopts 3D metal printing

5th November 2014
Siobhan O'Gorman

Adding laser melting to it’s additive manufacturing research and development technologies, Cardiff University has invested in a Renishaw AM250 machine. With this addition, the university’s Additive Laboratories at it’s School of Engineering have adopted a more holistic approach to manufacturing. 

To fuse fine metallic powders into 3D objects, direct from 3D CAD data, the digitally driven additive manufacturing technology uses a high powered ytterbium fibre laser. Forming the 2D cross section, the metallic powder is distributed evenly across the build plate in layer thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100µm. In a controlled environment, the layer of powder is then fused using the laser. To build up parts of complex geometries, layer by layer, the process is repeated. 

Highly complex metal parts and structures that are not possible to build using traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques, can be constructed using the AM250 machine. The machine can be used for applications ranging from producing quality prototypes and one-off high value parts, to creating bio-compatible orthopaedic implants.

Professor Rossi Setchi, Leader of High Value Manufacturing Group, School of Engineering, Cardiff University, said: “Since the mid-1990s the Additive Manufacturing Laboratories at Cardiff School of Engineering have had a fantastic track record of additive manufacturing R&D in metal sintering, in resins, and in polymers."

“Our Additive Manufacturing Labs incorporate a wide range of 3D printing technologies and the ability to produce macro and micro components - we’re very excited to be able to add laser melting to this mix for the first time with the purchase of this Renishaw AM250 machine. This equipment combined with our pioneering expertise will advance R&D in the additive manufacturing field as well as enabling research and development in a very wide range fields from advanced manufacturing through healthcare to energy,” commented Setchi.

Setchi added: “Cardiff’s collaboration with a world-leading metrology company Renishaw, and metrology facilities at Cardiff School of Engineering, allows our AM Labs immediate access to state-of-the-art measurement equipment in order to verify the dimensional accuracy of R&D and production laser melted components”

Simon Scott, Director and General Manager, Additive Manufacturing Products Division, Renishaw, said: “Renishaw is delighted that Cardiff have chosen Renishaw additive manufacturing technology to accompany the already very extensive facilities. As with many new and disruptive technologies it is the collaborative relationship that fosters and supports the breakthroughs that lead to wider adoption and we are looking forward to a strong partnership to support this goal.”

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