Additive manufacturing by melting metal powders (DMLS) provides new solutions to existing industrial challenges. As in any manufacturing technology, it is important to have specific knowledge to be able to identify in which cases the technology can add value.
At Lupeon we have years of experience in the management and application of this technology, supporting our clients in all stages of the process until obtaining the most efficient solution. The technology must be applied looking for cost savings through efficiency in the performance of the process, in the reduction of weight or in the reduction of the number of components in complex assemblies. This added value will only be possible hrough a product design and development oriented towards additive manufacturing, which is why it is important to have technological partners such as Lupeon in order to achieve success in each project.
LU_Metal offers the possibility of manufacturing parts in multiple metallic materials, the most prominent of which are indicated below.
STEEL H11 – 1.2343
H11 steel or also called 1.2343 is one of the most used materials for the conventional manufacture of inserts for molds. This material can be used both in plastic injection molds but also in function molds for aluminum and other metals thanks to its excellent properties even when working at high temperatures.
Additive manufacturing allows us to manufacture inserts with complex internal cooling channels, being able to reach critical points of the mold with cooling. This provides two advantages, the most immediate to assess which would be the reduction of the injection cycle time. And secondly, the reduction of quality defects in the injected parts. Given that when reaching the critical points of the mold with refrigeration, the appearance of defects is minimized.
In addition, at Lupeon we have developed several treatments after printing the H11 insert, which allow us to adjust the hardness of the material in a range between 45 to 55 HRC depending on the needs of each application.
STAINLESS STEEL 316L – 1.4404
Steel 316L or 1.4404 is one of the most widely used stainless steels both in applications in the food sector and in applications in the naval sector, due to its great resistance to corrosion against acids and salts. This resistance to acids also makes it a widely used material at an industrial level in the manufacture of nozzles or other elements that are going to be exposed to chemical agents that can cause corrosion.
The use of 316L components manufactured using DMLS technology is especially recommended for the manufacture of components with complex geometries that are difficult or impossible to machine, such as internal ducts. This technology allows components that were originally made in multiple parts to be made in one piece. A clear example of this is the manufacture of nozzles for injection or spraying of chemical agents (glues, glues, varnishes, etc.) which usually consist of multiple parts, can be manufactured in a single piece, optimizing the design of the internal ducts to increase efficiency.
This manufacturing option is also recommended for quickly obtaining small production series of components that would normally be manufactured using a casting mould. Since the production time using 3D printing is much shorter than that of conventional manufacturing using a casting mold.
TOOL STEEL MS1 – 1.2709
The 1.2709 martensitic steel alloy, also called tool steel, is one of the first materials developed for manufacturing in DMLS technology, so today there are many proven use cases for this alloy.
The main advantage of this steel alloy is its high resistance both in applications in hot or cold environments. It is also important to note that with subsequent 3D printing treatments, components manufactured with 1.2709 can reach hardnesses of up to 55-57HRC.
These properties, combined with lower production costs compared to other alloys, mean that 1.2709 tool steel continues to be one of the most widely used in additive manufacturing applications.
ALUMINUM ALLOY AlSi10Mg
AlSi10Mg is a very stable aluminum alloy to process using DMLS technology, but at the same time it has a good relationship of both mechanical and thermal properties. Therefore, it is a material that fits in a multitude of applications, both for the manufacture of prototypes and for the manufacture of series of final products.
Since it is a very stable material during the manufacturing process, it allows the fabrication of topologically optimized structures with very thin wall thicknesses. What makes this material the ideal candidate to be used in applications in which the reduction of each gram of the final component is important.
Due to the great versatility of applications of aluminum AlSi10Mg, at Lupeon we have multiple manufacturing configurations depending on the most important properties of the final component. This allows us to provide the best solution for each application.
In addition to the standard metallic materials mentioned above, at Lupeon we have experience in the development of specific materials for custom applications in which the properties of standard alloys do not meet the necessary requirements.
We have an internal laboratory for the characterization of the new materials developed in an agile and fast way. We also have an extensive network of collaborating centers for those cases in which the approval process of the new material requires specific tests.
These technical means together with the Know-How of the Lupeon technical team allow us to face the most demanding challenges.