Additive manufacturing with metals is becoming increasingly important to the automaking industry, as time and cost reductions in production make the technology increasingly attractive.

The primary focus is on aluminum alloys that are the foundation for lightweight automobile construction. For applications involving vehicle and engine technology, but also from other areas, Daimler AG (IW 1000/18) is embracing “generative metal laser melting of metals.”

In order to address future projects with that approach, the automaker assigned the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT -- a commercially focused research center in Aachen, Germany) and Concept Laser, a specialist in laser fusion systems, to develop a new laser melting machine with a build chamber that’s larger than any previous model. 

Fraunhofer ILT and Concept Laser will introduce a new high-performance LaserCusing® machine, the X line 1000R, for fabricating series components, at Euromold 2012 this month in Frankfurt. The first version of the machine is already in commercial operation for Daimler AG. It’s a new development based on concepts applied commercially in machines that Concept Laser has been developing for manufacturers over more than a decade.

For more, read "Additive Manufacturing in Expansion Mode" in American Machinist.