AL3D-Power Trio: Unveiling ALPHA LASER’s Multi-Efficient Metal 3D Printing System


“How can we provide our customers with the best possible support for their tasks with a new machine?” – This is the fundamental question that kickstarts all product development at ALPHA LASER GmbH. The firm prides itself on staff who not only build machines but breathe life into them, thereby empowering users to execute their tasks at a top-tier level. ALPHA LASER GmbH, originating from Puchheim, Germany, was established in 1994. It has since been a vanguard in the creation and production of laser systems for welding, powder cladding, and metal hardening. These laser machines, which are incredibly adaptable, robust, and come with a wide variety of power classes, are being employed in diverse sectors. They are found in traditional sectors such as tool-making, auto industry, and sheet metal processing, as well as dental, medical technology, and jewelry industries.

Incessantly adapting to shifting market scenarios, ALPHA LASER pools engineering proficiency with the latest manufacturing techniques. With the advent of additive manufacturing and the company’s deep-rooted understanding of laser material processing, it was a natural progression to include an in-house developed 3D printer to the product lineup. In 2020, ALPHA LASER unveiled their AL3D printer system, a comprehensive solution for metal additive manufacturing using a method called metal powder bed laser beam melting, also known as laser powder bed fusion – LPBF.

Metal 3D printing has several distinct benefits over traditional manufacturing techniques such as injection molding or machining. These advantages include bolstered sustainability, nearly infinite design possibilities for the components being manufactured, and reduced production timelines and costs. In contrast, machining production can result in material wastage of up to 70%, where the excess has to be reprocessed through a complicated and energy-intensive recycling operation.

In additive manufacturing, such as selective laser melting, wastage is reduced to less than 5%, as leftover powder can be processed using a simple sieving mechanism and reused directly in the following printing process. This leads to significant resource-conservation. Furthermore, with LPBF, components are produced directly from a powdered base material using a digital file. This makes the prior production of injection molds and their inherent restrictions on component geometries irrelevant.

Besides the intrinsic functional advantages of laser-based production technology, be it laser welding, hardening, or selective laser melting, user safety is always prioritized in ALPHA LASER products. For instance, with the AL3D metal printer system, the company has crafted a concept to minimize user’s contact with the metal powder during handling. Consequently, the printer provides excellent application possibilities across the dental, medical, small industry, and jewelry sectors, and is apt for educational and research institutions.

Ensures Reliable Metal 3D Printing With the AL3D System

The AL3D-Power Trio, also referred to as the AL3D system, consists of three individual systems: the AL3D-CABIN – a powder handling station; the AL3D-CARTRIDGES – exchangeable cartridges that function as powder reservoirs, build boxes, and overflow cartridges; and the AL3D-METAL 200 – the actual metal 3D printer. These systems integrate seamlessly to offer an intuitive and user-friendly printing process, which can be broken down as follows: load an empty cartridge into the AL3D-CABIN and fill it with the chosen material, place this filled cartridge together with two empty cartridges into the AL3D-METAL, select the print file, prepare the powder bed, commence the printing process, and voilà.

With the smart AL3D-CARTRIDGES, it is possible to handle powder safely and economically. The cartridges currently come in two diameters, 50 mm and 100 mm, and in three different heights: 50 mm, 85 mm, and 120 mm. Each cartridge has a unique locking mechanism that locks the cartridge the moment it is removed from the AL3D-CABIN or AL3D-METAL. Therefore, user contact with powder is minimal, reducing the necessity for special protective equipment.

During print preparation, an empty cartridge, as stated earlier, is filled with desired material in the AL3D-CABIN and then placed into the AL3D-METAL with two other empty cartridges. The filled cartridge acts as a powder reservoir during printing, providing fresh metal powder for printing. The other two empty cartridges function as the build cartridge, where the component is manufactured via laser melting, and the overflow cartridge, which collects excess powder.

The AL3D-METAL boasts an efficient laser and a sealed gas circuit to minimise gas usage. Due to its minimal size of just 600 x 617 mm, it stands as one of the smallest metal 3D printers available in the market. Therefore, this system is especially useful in laboratories, studios, offices, and scholastic institutions.

ALPHA LASER also contrived an all-in-one software solution – the AL3D-OS, which is embedded into every AL3D-METAL and is also accessible as a desktop version. This enables swift and intuitive print project formation, inclusive of support structures, slicers, and process parameters. Owing to the capability of remote printer access and an inbuilt camera, the printing process can be effortlessly monitored and managed, either from the office or home. Additionally, with the assistance of laser powder bed fusion, the printer can reach material densities of > 99.9% for the printed artefacts.

The AL3D-METAL can be processed with various materials for a broad array of applications.

ALPHA LASER Power Trio Ensures Process Reliability Due to Minimal Powder Contact

After printing, the build cartridge is removed from the AL3D-METAL and reinserted into the AL3D-CABIN. Here, the printed objects are separated from the remaining metal powder and optionally prepared for subsequent post-processing. The residual powder can be conveniently collected and/or sieved for recycling. Thanks to the closed process chamber, this machine also offers a high level of safety for the user.

The entire printing process is characterized by reliability, precision and, above all, safety. Particularly noteworthy is the aspect of process reliability with significantly reduced powder contact, which sets ALPHA LASER apart from other metal printers on the market with the AL3D-METAL. The wide range of possible applications already mentioned above and the optimum material utilization for reducing costs and increasing sustainability round off the promising, high-quality overall package. You can find out more about ALPHA LASER HERE.

What do you think of the AL3D Power Trio from ALPHA LASER? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

Original source


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