St. Paul, MN (April 3, 2018)

Jim Lorincz – Senior Editor, AdvancedManufacturing.org

There will be a lot of success stories coming out soon featuring hybrid additive/subtractive machine technology. Still in its early development stages, hybrid machine technology is carving out—after carefully building up layer by layer—examples of complex parts, large repaired workpieces, and molds with process-enhancing conformal cooling channels designed in. Hybrid is showing that there’s more than one way to reduce cycle times and boost the bottom line as long as the total cost of manufacturing processes is considered.

With their recent offerings, major machine tool builders are signaling that hybrid technology is more than an innovative extension of their manufacturing capabilities. Rather, it’s a competitive necessity. And they are answering the challenge with a growing list of machines that marry additive manufacturing (AM) processes with proven, well-established subtractive machining platforms to produce parts complete on one machine. You might call hybrid machines “Multitasking Plus.

AM, which began making plastic parts more than 30 years ago, has seen working envelopes grow and the addition of metal parts. This has been made possible through adaptation of the two principal delivery approaches, directed energy deposition (DED) and powder bed fusion (PBF) technology. Akin in many respects to laser welding, both DED and PBF approaches are carving out roles for AM technology, working within a well-defined scope of work.

PBF-based hybrid machines are well suited to manufacturing molds with fewer components and process conformal heating/cooling channels and smaller, complex parts that formerly could not be produced. DED-based hybrid machines are excellent choices for larger metal parts and repair of critical aerospace, medical, and oil field workpieces. (For a complete discussion of the technical underpinnings of hybrid AM technology as well as a trip through its arcane alphabet world, see “The Pluses and Minuses of Combining Additive & Subtractive Machining,” Manufacturing Engineering, July 2017).

Moldmaking Returns are Impressive

“Growth for hybrid AM in moldmaking is limited only by the ability of customers to think beyond designing parts in terms of conventional machining,” said Tom Houle, director of Lumex North America, Matsuura Machinery USA Inc. (St. Paul, MN). “We have to work with them to identify how the part or component of a mold, for example, can be improved by hybrid additive/subtractive technology.” Matsuura’s two hybrid powder bed machines, the Avance 25 and Avance 60, use Matsuura high-speed vertical machining center platforms to build and finish machine parts.

Hybrid AM is already a “game-changer for the moldmaking industry with impressive potential,” said Houle. “A customer I worked with recently—a project tool maker—saved $5.5 million for the end customer over three years on one part of a 24-part component in the mold for that project. The potential across multiple components on each mold—24 parts across 24 molds—is significant,” said Houle.

“With our hybrid AM, the moldmaker can make components 24/7 untended. CAD modeling can create conformal cooling through simulation of thermal modeling and weight reduction can be achieved. When the final parts come out, they are very nearly finished with complex designs including deep ribs and pockets and the complex geometry for conformal cooling channels. They will enable injection molding that runs 40–50% faster than traditional straight line cooling with a 30–50% improvement in tool life while reducing cycle times. Powder-bed hybrid AM machines can deliver faster cycle times, faster moldmaking times and potentially eliminate the iterative mold grooming and tweaking processes needed because you can do most of the things up-front that typically had to wait until after testing the mold,” said Houle.

The Matsuura LUMEX Series is a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability.  The Matsuura LUMEX Series combines selective laser sintering (SLS) along with high speed milling (HSM) commonly called Hybrid AM.

Matsuura’s combination of additive and subtractive technologies enables the production of parts and component geometries in a method that has never been possible or imagined. Often referred to as a “one machine, one process” system, the Matsuura LUMEX series permits production of the most complex and challenging parts through total manufacturing by digital engineering using 3-D data. The process produces highly accurate parts from metal powders that are melted and sintered using a laser while surfaces are precisely milled at high speeds. These machines possess both high-speed milling and laser sintering capability.

Matsuura’s cutting-edge technology is transformative in today’s world of 3D Metal Additive Manufacturing. With Matsuura’s combination of best-in-class CNC Milling and high speed Direct Laser Melting, Matsuura has fundamentally revolutionized the AM marketplace. Matsuura’s unique combination of technology platforms enables the production of parts and component geometries in a method that has never been possible nor imagined.

See the Matsuura LUMEX Avance Technology at the following events:

AMUG 2018: St. Louis Union Station, St. Louis, MO, April 8 – 12, 2018
Rapid + tct 2018: Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX, April 23-26, 2018
AMERIMOLD 2018: Novi, MI, June 13-14, 2018
IMTS 2018: McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, September 10-15, 2018
FABTECH 2018: Atlanta, GA, November 6-8, 2018

Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business. For more information on Matsuura LUMEX products, contact: [email protected] or visit: www.matsuurausa.com.


See the entire article at: https://advancedmanufacturing.org/hybrid-machines-make-parts-using-brand-new-tried-and-true/