3D Printing MetalJet Used to Determine if Cancer has Occurred
Newatlas, a high-tech specialty media, recently announced that HP, a leader in the printer industry, has introduced metal 3D printers that are affordable and have fast output speeds.
According to New Atlas, new products can output a variety of metal parts at speeds up to 50 times faster than conventional metal 3D printers.
Metal 3D printers change manufacturing paradigm.
The use of metal 3D printers is endless. It can change the paradigm of manufacturing.
Thinking of the early 3D printers that used plastic materials predominantly is miscalculation. In recent years, it is different from the stage of mass production of various metal materials.
One of the characteristics of metal 3D printers is that they can make parts without molds, which can revolutionize manufacturing costs and time.
Therefore, it is possible to produce any part of advanced equipment such as jet engine or rocket which is difficult to make with existing manufacturing process.
According to a survey by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, the world 3D printer market is expected to grow from around 7 trillion won in 2016 to about 14 trillion won this year. Among them, metal 3D printers are expected to account for about half of the total.
As the market for metal 3D printers grows rapidly, a variety of technologies are being tried for printing metal materials.
Until now, the mainstream technology of metal material printing is ‘Selective Laser Melting (SLM)’.
SLM (Selective Laser Melting) is a method in which metal powder is sprayed to a certain thickness on a bed, and then powder is melted by injecting a laser beam only in a desired portion.
When the powder is melted and a certain frame is made, the powder is sprayed on it again, and the process of irradiating the laser beam is repeated so that the intended shape is formed. This process is at the core of SLM technology, and the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany holds a patent.
Currently, SLM accounts for 80% of the market for metal 3D printing. Companies such as EOS, concept laser, and 3D systems are leading the market.
But there is a crucial problem. It takes a long time to dissolve the metal powder by using the laser little by little.
Experts say that it would be rather inefficient to use metal 3D printers unless you are building a product with a complex structure.
Evolving technology to melt metal powder
The binder jet is the way to overcome the shortcomings of SLM.
HP’s recently launched ‘Metal Jet’ is based on this binder jet technology. HP is 50 times faster than traditional SLM and 10 times less expensive to print.
“We use a metal powder and an adhesive to heat it and make it hard,” said an HP official. “In other words, a liquid adhesive is sprayed onto a powdered material to stack the powder together.”
“The printed output is a finished product through the blast furnace used in metal injection molding technology (MIM), so it is a technology that shows the possibility of mass production through 3D printing,” the official added.
Looking at the specifications of the new HP MetalJet, it is designed to be suitable for printing small parts with a size of 430 × 320 × 200mm. This is a suitable form for outputting small objects with complex structures in large quantities.
Until now, only stainless steel powder can be used, but the industry is expected to expand its use to materials such as aluminum alloys in the near future.
A typical example of a product that has been printed using MetalJet is medical stainless steel parts.
An HP representative said, “In the case of tissue tests that are used to determine if cancer has occurred, we use stainless steel to create a sharp shape and remove the tissue. However, steel used here is often used only for disposable reasons for hygiene reasons, “he said.” If you have to use small and sophisticated parts once and discard, it is good to make them inexpensively in large quantities. Metaljet is suitable for this task. ”
Of course, binder jet does not have merit. There is a problem that the particle density is lower than the products made with SLM. Experts say that if you need to make a product that has high density and tensile strength of the particles, it is difficult to use the binder jet printing method.
There are other drawbacks. The binder jet must take the printout out of the printer and then put it back into a furnace-like heat treatment facility and then remove it. Therefore, it is necessary to go through troublesome manual processes.
An HP representative said, “Currently, the binder jet method has the advantage of producing prints quickly, but there are also many points to complement when considering the completeness and efficiency of the process.”