by Industrial Print Magazine
Based in traditional manufacturing techniques like CNC machining and injection molding, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which took place September 12 to 17, 2022, was a great display of how three-dimensional (3D) printing or additive manufacturing (AM) is infiltrating the manufacturing space.
Held at Chicago, IL’s McCormick Place, the event attracted 86,000-plus registrants that visited more than 1,800 exhibitors spread out over 1,212,806 million square feet of exhibit space. According to the owner and producer of IMTS, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the North American visitor-to-exhibitor ratio increased by more than ten percent compared to the 2018 show.
AMT represents and promotes U.S.-based manufacturing technology and its members—those who design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing.
Recognizing the importance of 3D printing in manufacturing, AMT announces a collaboration with Mesago, the organizers of Formnext, and Messe Frankfurt Inc. to launch Formnext Forum Austin held August 28 to 30, 2023, the Formnext Forum co-located at IMTS 2024, and Formnext Chicago April 8 to 10, 2025 at McCormick Place.
At this year’s IMTS, a new venue—the AM4U Area—was available to attendees. Presented by Formnext, it featured daily presentations such as a panel of nine AM experts discussing the benefits and limitations of various AM technologies.
As mentioned, 3D printing had a robust presence at IMTS. We share some of the announcements here.
3D Systems exhibited the new SLA 750 full AM workflow solution and offered an upgrade discount offer for the SLA 750 Dual. It featured the SLS 380 and highlighted why it delivers better parts thanks to thermal control. Attendees learned about the unique features of the company’s metal printing solutions that enable 24/7 part production, as well as its Figure 4 Modular production system. 3D Systems also displayed the newest addition from Titan Additive, the Atlas-HS hybrid additive and subtractive solution for medium- to large-format pellet extrusion printing and in-situ machining.
Desktop Metal, Inc. showcased its Figur G15, a commercial platform shaping standard sheet metal on demand directly from a digital design file using patent-pending Digital Sheet Forming technology. The Figur G15 features a software-driven ceramic toolhead on an XY gantry that forms large metal sheets up to 2,000 lbs of force. With a forming area of 57×39 inches in X and Y, the Figur G15 can process positive and negative forms up to 16 inches in the vertical Z direction. A variety of metals and sheet thicknesses can also be processed—including steel up to two millimeter (mm) thick and aluminum up to 2.5 mm.
EOS exhibited the industrial AMCM M 290-2 1KW metal 3D printer, tooling applications enabled by AM, and the company’s Additive Minds Consulting & Training portfolio.
FasTech LLC offers a complete range of services including 3D metal printing, 5 and 3 Axis post machining, and reverse engineering. It showcased 3D metal printing capabilities using its GEFERTEC 3DMP arc605 equipment. With these machines it can manufacture large parts to very tight deadlines, often up to ten times faster than conventional AM methods.
Formlabs exhibited the Fuse 1+ 30W selective laser sintering (SLS) printer with print speeds up to two times faster than the previous generation. Upgrades include a new, more powerful laser and higher scanning speed, improved powder handling, and optional inert nitrogen environment.
HP Inc. announced commercial availability of its Metal Jet S100 Solution. It provides industrial production capabilities, integrated workflow, and subscription and service offerings. The modular solution enables build units to travel between four different stations, meaning users can continually run production at scale for mass metals production.
Mantle launched metal 3D printing technology for toolmaking. It simplifies how mold tool components are made and accelerates how manufacturers making molded parts go from product idea to launch. Mantle’s system and patented TrueShape technology include the P-200 printer, built on a CNC platform it integrates printing and machining.
Nexa3D announced the availability of its new Quantum Laser Sintering platform; the QLS 820. It represents a new class of powder bed technology that combines fast printing with open materials and a cloud software platform to deliver production volumes. At the core of the QLS 820 is Nexa3D’s Quantum Laser Sintering print engine consisting of four CO2 lasers with 100W of power each.
Optomec Inc. showcased a fully automated work cell optimized for repairing aviation compressor blades made of titanium. It is the product of a two year collaboration between the companies working with input from commercial maintenance repair and overhaul and U.S. DoD repair centers for aircraft engines.
Renishaw’s stand highlighted how manufacturers benefit from using AM in the production process and showcased its range of AM systems, including the RenAM 500Q and 500S. Both systems feature high power 500W lasers, which have precise and accurate capabilities to help minimize build time.
Roboze promoted its ecosystem. The goal is to allow companies to reduce production costs and time by shortening the phases of their supply chain and digitizing their inventory, 3D printing high-performance parts on demand, just in time and locally. The design freedom offered by Roboze 3D printing allows for consolidating multiple parts into one, reducing the use of glues and fasteners in favor of faster maintenance processes.
Velo3D exhibited its fully integrated metal AM solution and gave attendees an up-close look at the latest parts produced using Velo3D metal AM printers, including the new Sapphire XC 1MZ. One of the many highlights was sharing the latest build volumes for the Sapphire family of metal AM printers.
Xact Metal launched the XM300G series of mid-size metal 3D printers. The XM300G family is a single-, dual-, or quad- independent laser system with 100 percent overlapping print zones. It features a large 300x300x350 mm build volume, is upgradable to 300x300x450 mm, a selection of 400W or 700W fiber lasers, and an interchangeable build platform to reduce printing cycle time.
XYZprinting showcased its SLS printing machines with Open Platform Fast Cycle Sintering, including the MfgPro236 xS. Thanks to its high printing speed of up to 22 mm per hour and shorter cooling and breakout times, the MfgPro236 xS can deliver high-quality parts fast. XYZprinting SLS machines offer the ability to use end-of-life powder from peer machines for high-quality parts.
Held every two years, IMTS 2024 takes place September 9 to 14, 2024 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.
Nov2022, Industrial Print Magazine