GE Additive—the additive manufacturing (AM) business of American multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE)—has introduced the first beta machine from Project A.T.L.A.S (Additive Technology Large Area System), its program for the development of large additive manufacturing (AM) machines.
Developed over a period of nine months, the new beta machine is based on metal powder-bed fusion (PBF) technology, is scalable and affords a considerable build volume of 1 x 1 x 0.3 m (x, y, z*). It is aimed at those manufacturers in industries requiring large, complex parts—such as automotive, aviation, fossil fuels and space—and can be configured and customized to their specific applications.
The beta machine is said to build on technology previously developed by GE Additive and have benefitted from the expert input of Concept Laser, a Germany-based manufacturer of metal AM machines and part of GE Additive. It is claimed that both build rate speeds and feature resolution exceed those afforded by comparable machines on the market.
The beta machine features a single 1kW laser as standard but can be reconfigured to accommodate multiple lasers and allows for discrete dosing to reduce powder use and costs.
Other features include: a gantry-based, scalable architecture that can increase the *z axis to 1 m and beyond; a 3D scanner that translates with the laser/s; optimal air flow over the print area; and process and machine health monitoring enabled by GE Additive’s cloud-based operating system Predix.
The first beta machines are being evaluated by a select few customers but more are available for delivery in 2018.
Commenting on the beta machine, Mohammad Ehteshami, vice president (VP) and general manager (GM) of GE Additive, said: ‘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 […] is our response to that feedback—a solution that is scalable and customizable and meets the needs of our industry, as it matures.’
GE Additive is debuting the beta machine at formnext powered by tct, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, on 14-17 November, 2017.