Juelich Research Centre invests in laser rapid prototyping

The recent procurement of a LaserCUSING machine reinforces the investment that Central Technology Division is making in the ongoing research of beam fusion methods.

Juelich Research Centre pursues cutting-edge research aimed at solving the challenges we face today in the fields of health, energy, the environment, and information technology. In combination with its two key areas of expertise, physics and supercomputing, the work done at Juelich focuses on making long-term fundamental and multidisciplinary contributions to science, technology, and specific technological applications. With a staff of around 4400, Juelich is one of the largest research centres in Germany.

The Central Technology Division (CTD) develops and produces equipment, machines, and methods for both the facilities at Juelich Research Centre and third parties, which they may need to carry out their research and development projects. The recent procurement of a LaserCUSING machine from Concept Laser reinforces the investment that CTD is making in the ongoing research of beam fusion methods. Using its new M2 LaserCUSING machine, Juelich Research Centre in the future will be able to produce parts with complex internal structures and manufacture low volume production parts. Amongst the various rapid prototyping methods, direct laser fusing is of particular interest to the CTD as a variant of deposit welding for the manufacture of functional parts. The laser beam is used to locally fuse a single powder material layer by layer, gradually building up a complete component part. The rapid movement of the laser introduces a minimal amount of heat into the workpiece, which means that the melt cools down very quickly thus reducing the possibilities of component distortion.

The finished component generally has a particularly fine-grained metallic structure and is almost 100% porosity free. The component characteristics and specifications correspond to those of the original material, with properties virtually identical to those of parts produced by conventional means, allowing parts produced by LaserCUSING to be subsequently machined, welded, or hardened. In the construction of functional parts, the use of LaserCUSING technology allows the fabrication of complex structures, starting at the prototype stage and going on through to small batch production. Parts can be made from steel, titanium, aluminium, and a range of other metals, and the LaserCUSING process therefore constitutes a new method that is complimentary to conventional manufacturing processes.

LaserCUSING technology is available within the United Kingdom and Ireland from ES Technology Ltd., the sole distributor for Concept Laser within these regions.

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