MX3D announced today a new large robotic system for 3D printing metal parts.
The ten-year old Amsterdam-based company has been developing robotic AM tools using the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process for several years. In WAAM, a metal wire is pushed out the toolhead where it is instantly melted and deposited. The motion of the toolhead allows the system to build large metal objects.
“Robotic WAAM or Wire-DED is well known for its capabilities to print large-scale metal parts at high speed and with strong material and mechanical properties for various metal alloys. Due to its high level of robotic flexibility, automated productivity tools and integrated sensors system, the extended and heavy-duty robotic system can run autonomous 3D metal printing at an even faster speed, higher quality and lower operating costs at larger volumes and variants in-house.”
The new machine is the MX Metal AM System, a large enclosed unit that is capable of producing huge metal objects, up to 5 tonnes in weight. MX3D said the device has a build volume of 6000 x 1500 x 3500 mm, far larger than typical 3D printers, and certainly among the largest available for metal 3D printing.
The MX Metal AM system includes a powerful 8-axis robotic configuration that should allow production of any conceivable geometry.
MX3D is targeting businesses requiring cast or forge tools. The idea is to enable them to be quickly produced with the MX Metal AM System, rather than waiting for a distant supplier to produce them. I suspect the business case for acquisition revolves around cost savings in this scenario.
The advantage is that unlike casting or forging, no expensive tooling is required: you just print what you need, immediately. This allows the MX Metal AM System to produce small quantities of parts that might otherwise be uneconomical to make. This makes it ideal for use in remote locations where big metal parts can be critical to industries such as mining.
Another interesting feature of the MX Metal AM System is that it can be configured with a variety of components. MX3D explains:
“The new MX Metal AM System offers a fully customizable robotic system to print large-scale metal parts. Utilizing renowned brands like ABB and KUKA robotics and Fronius’ advanced welding equipment, customers have a wide range of hardware options to configure the perfect system for printing large, heavy and custom metal components.”
This should make the device attractive to clients seeking flexible solutions.
The MX Metal AM System is vastly larger than the modest robotic systems I’ve seen from MX3D in the past, and the company is clearly maturing and now able to produce sophisticated industrial gear. The MX Metal AM System should allow them to break into more markets and grow strongly.