While metal 3D printing technology is increasingly being used to produce industrial components, one of its major limitations is the time it takes to manipulate the technology to produce reliable parts.
Croft AM’s current machine, a Realiser, takes more than five days to clean to avoid cross contamination of materials.
“Moving between different metals in the same machine is a risky business,” Louise explained. “Cleaning is a long and expensive process with a printer capable of holding 100kg of powder. Unless you thoroughly clean it, you face contaminating the product with different metallic properties. This could waste thousands upon thousands of pounds worth of material, not to mention result in part failure.”
Croft AM wants to be able to rapidly adopt different materials by investing in next generation technology that has open access software for build settings manipulation, as well as the ability to rapidly change metallic powders.