Initial fields of application identified in the automotive, medical and jewellery industries
3D-Micromac AG (www.3d-micromac.com), Chemnitz, a provider of laser micromachining systems, and another German firm, EOS GmbH (www.eos.info), which specialises in manufacturing additive manufacturing (AM) systems, are pooling their respective technological know-how in the area micro laser sintering (MLS) technology by establishing a new company, 3D MicroPrint GmbH (http://3dmicroprint.de).
Its purpose is to advance the development and commercialisation of MLS technology and to identify and establish more solutions in the field of micro technology. Target applications include nozzles for the automotive industry, components for medical devices and the individualisation of jewellery. There is also a growing demand for micro parts in mould-making and aerospace.
3D-Micromac and EOS have been developing MLS jointly since 2006. The first system successfully began operation at a German research institute earlier this year.
Joachim Göbner, formerly project head of MLS at EOS and head of the technical centre Chemnitz, and Tino Petsch, CEO of 3D-Micromac, have been appointed as business managers of 3D MicroPrint.
Mr Göbner said, “With layer thicknesses of 5 microns and less, and focus diameters of under 30 microns, MLS technology opens up new dimensions in AM. It is even possible to produce moveable component assemblies."
Tino Petsch added, “Our timing is virtually perfect. The current 3D printing hype shows that our investment in the development of MLS systems was exactly right. We now offer a trend-setting solution that opens up new approaches in product development and manufacturing for our customers.”
Dr Hans J. Langer, founder and CEO of EOS, remarked, “Demand for very small parts which are difficult to manufacture using conventional processes is rising tremendously. MLS provides solutions for three major trends: individualisation, functional integration and miniaturisation.”
3D MicroPrint has already moved into new, larger premises on the Chemnitz Smart Systems Campus, where development and service capacities are being expanded.
Using AM, even a batch size of one can be produced at reasonable cost-per-part. The technology offers a high degree of freedom of design and the capacity to integrate and optimise functionality. Individualisation of products in series production processes can be accomplished without difficulty.
Image: Micro laser sintered parts on a computer keyboard