Protolabs Doubles Down on Metal Additive Manufacturing With World’s Largest Metal 3D Printer (and adds another vacuum furnace)

As metal additive manufacturing grows so to will the heat treating associated with it. In this case Protolabs in Minneapolis, MN, USA needed to expand their in house heat treating department as they added to their powder-bed metal additive systems. The expanded heat treat department will include another new vacuum furnace from Ipsen.

“Digital manufacturing leader Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) will soon 3D-print parts on the largest powder-bed metal additive system in the world—giving customers a powerful new way to get large-format metal parts. The GE Additive Concept Laser X Line 2000R machine will be added to Protolabs’ production services in late summer 2020. Protolabs will further expand its additive manufacturing production capabilities with the GE Additive Concept Laser X Line 2000R, the world’s largest powder-bed metal additive system. The DMLM (direct metal laser melting) machine achieves an extremely large build volume of 31.5 in. x 15.7 in. x 19.7 in. (800mm x 400mm x 500mm). The ability to additively manufacture parts of this size means that entire assemblies can be designed and printed as a single piece.

Along with the X Line 2000R, to further grow its DMLM production capacity, Protolabs has added four more GE Additive Concept Laser M2 printers, capable of manufacturing parts up to 9.8 in. x 9.8 in. x 13.8 in. (250mm x 250mm x 350mm). This brings Protolabs’ total DMLM machine count to more than 30 metal additive machines, all capable of producing AS9100-production parts. In its ongoing effort to enhance and expand its production capabilities in additive manufacturing, Protolabs has invested in new post-processing equipment. A Solukon powder removal system that thoroughly removes trapped powder from internal cavities and complex geometries. Also, a new Ipsen vacuum heat-treat furnace will enable more in-house heat treatment. This will improve the consistency of mechanical properties of manufactured parts.”