Prototype supplier adds laser additive manufacturing
CA Models' purchase of a Concept Laser M2 LaserCUSING machine has opened up new business possibilities over the past year.
Stirling, Scotland - One year ago, rapid prototyping company CA Models took delivery of a new Concept Laser M2 LaserCUSING machine from ES Technology, bringing CA Models one step closer to fulfilling its ultimate aim: being a unique service provider in its field. The company offers high quality prototypes via stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), CNC machining and vacuum casting.
The purchase of this machine has been instrumental in opening up a series of new opportunities for CA Models because M2 LaserCUSING brings more than just the capability to produce prototypes in titanium and aluminum alloys — materials widely used within the automotive, motorsport, aerospace, medical, satellite, oil, and gas industries.
This process involves fusing metallic powder, building layer upon layer (similar to SLS). It allows 3D CAD designers significantly greater design freedom, making it possible to design and directly manufacture custom components, including those with complex geometries that might otherwise be impractical or even impossible to make using conventional techniques.
CA Models has recently used the M2 machine to trial-build the same component, comparing several different types of intricate internal structures. The result was a component that weighs 40% less than those manufactured by conventional methods. Although significantly lighter than conventionally machined counterparts, the M2 component still provides an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, performing at the required levels of strength for the demanding applications within which they will operate.
"Although we recognized there was potential for additional growth through Metal Additive Layer Manufacturing, the actual levels of enquiries and resultant new business over the last 12 months has exceeded our expectations. We have been able to further develop our working relationship with existing customers and also secure new business, some of which has been significant in value, from customers operating across several different market sectors," said CA Models director Clark Campbell.
"CA models [has] positively embraced the technology, and [has] now gained a detailed understanding of which industries and applications are most suited, not just to the machine, but also the technology. The initial decision to focus on aluminum, a material not normally associated with AM, has proven to be a successful one and has firmly established CA Models as one of only a handful of worldwide companies with this capability," ES Technology's Colin Cater added.
With CA Model's skill within the rapid prototyping industry added with this new expertise in metal additive layer manufacture, the company expects to expand into new markets and applications.
Top photo: Cosworth components produced on the M2 Cusing machine by CA Models.
Bottom photo: Metal additive layer manufacturing with the Concept Laser M2 has opened up new opportunities for CA Models.