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Formnext 2022: SLM demonstrates capabilities of new NXG XII 600E system

At Formnext 2022 SLM Solutions is currently demonstrating the capabilities of its newly launched twelve-laser NXG XII 600E system.

The new system is based on the technology of the previously released NXG XII 600, however now offers an extended 1.5m build envelope in the z-axis. 

SLM has already accepted its first order for the new system from Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), the prime contractor for a US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) project, which intends to additively manufacture components that can withstand the extreme temperature and performance requirements of the space and defence sectors. 

The NXG XII 600E and its predecessor are designed for customers demanding larger metal parts at increased build rates. The two systems wield twelve 1kW lasers to enable build rates of up to 1,000cm3/hr: 20x faster than a single-laser system and 5x faster than a quad-laser system. 

With such speeds, serial production of complex geometries can now be completed in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks and months, thus driving the lowest possible cost for end-use parts across a wide range of sectors.

Depiction of a part being built using multiple laser beams in the extended build envelope of the new NXG XII 600E system.

“The reason why we came out with the original NXG XII 600 was because it was being strongly requested by our customer base,” Emily DeSimone, Director of Global Marketing at SLM Solutions, told Laser Systems Europe at the show. “That system offered a 600 x 600 x 600mm build envelope, however we were getting feedback that an even larger format was required. So this is what the extended z-axis can now offer: a 600 x 600 x 1,500mm build envelope. CTC, which helped fund the development of the NXG XII 600E via an AFRL contract, will use the newly purchased system in its development of advanced hypersonic weapon systems once we deliver it in 2023.”

SLM Solutions has already had multiple firms expressing interest in the newly extended system this week at Formnext, DeSimone added.

An engine mid frame produced using a beta version of the NXG XII 600 in 69 hours and 9 minutes. Layer thickness: 60µm, material: IN718.

The NXG XII 600E features an end-to-end production workflow, including a removable build cylinder to enable continual part production while a previously built part cools down. This helps maximise machine uptime, allowing job-to-job turnover in under one hour. In addition, the NXG platform features SLM’s Open Architecture, enabling maximum flexibility to tailor process parameters to optimise application results with maximum productivity using 90µm layer thickness and beyond in commonly qualified materials, including: IN718, AlSi10Mg, TiAl6V4 & copper alloys. Support-free printing via SLM’s Free Float capability also offers maximum freedom in design, reducing the need for both support structures and post-processing time by up to 90%. 

An impellar produced on the NXG XII 600 in 5.5 days from IN718 with a layer thickness of 60µm

Commenting on his firm’s purchase of the new system, Edward Sheehan, CTC President and CEO, said: “We are pleased to continue our long-term partnership with SLM. They are clearly a leader in the additive manufacturing equipment arena, and we look forward to collaborating and expanding the possibilities of additive manufacturing for defence applications in this exciting opportunity in support of critical AFRL mission requirements.”

Heat exchangers built on an NXG XII 600 out of AlSi10Mg with 60µm layer thickness.

Sam O’Leary, CEO of SLM Solutions added, “These are the partnerships that are a testament to SLM Solutions’ ethos; it is only in close collaboration with them that we can push the limits of innovation. To take a market leader like that of the NXG XII 600 as a blueprint, extend the envelope to 1.5m, coupled with the precision and reliability of our systems, and our hands-on support allow our customer to develop with agility–almost at the Mach-speed that we are designing this system to build parts for. We are especially pleased to be teamed with CTC, a highly regarded premier research and development organisation with an outstanding record of securing technology transition successes.”

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