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CT scans make 3D printing parts easier

Lumafield and Desktop Metal join forces to offer scanner-3D printer packages to ease metal, plastic part supply chain woes Metal Tech News – May 18, 2022

To address the supply chain challenges that have plagued manufacturers since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Desktop Metal and Lumafield have joined forces to offer an easy system to scan and 3D print plastic or metal parts on demand.

As a global leader in additive manufacturing technologies for mass production, Desktop Metal hopes to use Lumafield's industrial X-ray computed tomography (CT) platform to scan and 3D print parts and tools quickly and accurately without the need to design painstaking CAD models – the world's first 3D photocopier, so to speak.

"Manufacturers have wanted to replace legacy fabrication processes with 3D printing for a long time, but digitalization of parts has been a barrier," said Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop. "With accessible CT scanning, we finally have a digitization solution we need to quickly convert old designs into complete CAD files for 3D printing."

Additive manufacturing offers the ability to cost-effectively produce parts in-house, which reduces supply chain risks, but often requires manufacturers to have highly detailed models to print with. This has been a significant barrier, as often manufacturers often have thousands or even millions of parts, some of which were designed well before CAD was even invented.

While 3D scanning has previously been proposed as a solution, it has ultimately been limited to capturing just the exterior of the parts features and not its internal makeup, which, when it comes to metal 3D printing, is the most important aspect.

"The last two years have been profoundly disruptive, and we cannot expect our supply chain to return to normal," said Lumafield CEO Eduardo Torrealba. "Fortunately, we now have the technology to seamlessly bring production in-house, taking control of our supply chains and reducing risk."

Lumafield's CT platform digitizes parts with a series of X-ray images that capture both external and internal features in detail. Then sending those images through cloud-based software, the company creates a 3D model that can be exported as a mesh representation for 3D printing.

Desktop Metal then can use its own software and 3D printers to turn those models back into high-quality metal or polymer parts, making it possible to seamlessly replace legacy manufacturing processes with in-house 3D printing.

As part of the partnership, the companies are offering scanner and 3D printer supply chain resilience packages that include:

Any of Desktop Metal's printers, including the Desktop Metal Shop System, which was built as a turnkey solution for smaller enterprises and is offered in a 4-, 8-, 12-, or 16-liter package. Also included is the Studio System, X-Series, and all Production System models, which includes the P-1 and P-50 – the latter of which is purportedly the world's fastest system to 3D print metal parts at scale.

Any ETEC DLP polymer 3D printing systems, which includes the D4K, P4K, Envision One XL or Xtreme 8K, which offer a wide range of price points, build volumes, and potential polymer material sets, including elastomers, hard plastics, high temperature plastics, and biocompatible materials.

Lumafield's Neptune scanner, which is a revolutionary advance over legacy CT systems. Designed with a user-friendly touchscreen and AI-powered configuration, anyone can use it with minimal training, and no dedicated operator is required.

Lumafield's cloud-based Voyager software that can turn scans into improvements and comes with every Neptune scanner. In addition to producing mesh exports for 3D printing, it offers intuitive visualizations that reveal invisible features, measurement tools that take guesswork out of inspection, and a powerful automated analysis engine that can pinpoint voids, pores, and cracks, before they turn into critical problems.

This package is available to any company that purchases a Desktop Metal 3D printer and reserves a Lumafield CT scanner before July 1.


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