SLM Solutions to develop 12-laser metal 3D printer with 1500mm Z-axis through $5.2m AFRL contract

SLM Solutions is working to develop a 12-laser metal 3D printing system with an extended 1.5 metre build volume in the Z-axis in partnership with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC).

This machine, to be named the NXG XII 600E, is under development as part of a 5.2 million USD US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract awarded to CTC, with SLM Solutions named as subcontractor. CTC is a non-profit applied scientific research and development organisation, with the capacity to design, develop, test, prototype and build new solutions that ‘safeguard national security and retain US technological advantage.’ 

The project has been designed to overcome the limits of current additive manufacturing equipment to build longer parts for critical defence applications.

It follows the launch of the SLM NXG XII 600 machine back in November 2020, which has since attracted the interest of Collins Aerospace, Porsche, MAN Energy Solutions, Sintavia and Divergent Technologies – the latter of which will have six installed by the end of the year. The NXG XII 600 is equipped with 12 1KW lasers, a 600 x 600 x 600 mm build envelope, and enables build rates of up to 1000 cc/hr.

SLM Solutions says the NXG XII 600E will feature the same ‘lightning-fast’ speed and productivity as the standard NXG XII 600 machine, but with the extended Z-axis to facilitate larger applications.

“Partnering with CTC, a premier research and development company, will help us achieve the goal to create a new AM capability,” SLM Solutions CEO Sam O’Leary said. “We look forward to collaborating on an AM machine that will work much faster than existing equipment and feature the largest build envelope in the industry by far.”

“We are excited to play a role in this ground-breaking AM advancement,” added CTC President and CO Edward J/ Sheehan, Jr. “The technical work we are performing for this project includes elements of CTC’s full-service portfolio of AM capabilities, including design, testing, post-processing, machining and qualification.”

The news comes just weeks after SLM Solutions announced it had agreed to be acquired by Nikon Corporation in a 622 million EUR deal that is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. 

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