Desktop Metal, Inc., Burlington, Massachusetts, USA, has announced its latest metal Additive Manufacturing machine, the P-1. The new Binder Jetting (BJT) machine expands the company’s Production System™ range, sitting alongside its flagship P-50, and has already begun shipping, with the Ford Motor Company cited as an initial customer.
Designed to serve as a bridge from process development to full-scale mass production of end-use metal parts, the P-1 leverages the same patent-pending Single Pass Jetting™ (SPJ) technology as the P-50. The new AM machine features a 1200 dpi print bar, advanced printhead technology that supports a wide variety of binders, and an inert processing environment to allow both non-reactive and reactive materials, said to be a key benefit for businesses and research institutions looking to experiment with a variety of materials. As a result, materials research and new application development conducted on the P-1 can be transferred directly onto the P-50 to scale to mass production.
“We know industrial businesses around the world are eager to begin working with the Production System P-50 and benefit from the fastest, most cost effective way to manufacture metal parts of all levels of complexity at-scale,” stated Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “Adding the P-1 to our Production System portfolio serves as a key enabler for these companies as they look to develop processes and materials on a smaller scale before ramping up to mass production volumes.”
“Similarly, many businesses and research institutions are also interested in leveraging the economics and quality of SPJ technology for mid-volume serial production, making the P-1 an ideal fit and a great stepping stone to broad adoption of Desktop Metal’s technology and flagship P-50 printer,” added Fulop.
Desktop Metal’s SPJ technology on the P-1 is designed to build each layer in less than three seconds, including powder deposition, powder compaction, anti-ballistics, binder deposition, and printhead cleaning. The P-1’s open material platform and inert process environment allow customers to use third-party Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) powders across a variety of materials, making the P-1 suitable for cost-effective serial production of small and complex parts in addition to smaller-scale process development activities.
The Ford Motor Company has used Additive Manufacturing in its design and development stages for a number of years, and is scheduled to receive the new P-1 later this month.
“Ford has been active in 3D printing since 1988 with the acquisition of the third commercially available stereolithography (SLA) system; we are very excited to be early adopters of the P-1,” stated Cynthia Flanigan, Director, Vehicle Research and Technology, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “We expect that this new system will serve as an important tool in the development of our future advanced process and alloy implementation, enabling our researchers to investigate additional production opportunities of metal Binder Jetting at Ford Motor Company.”
“Our early collaboration with Desktop Metal highlighted the need for a lab-scale system that is aligned with the functionality of the production scale system so we can further develop expertise around this process,” Flanigan added.
P-1 customers will also gain access to Desktop Metal’s Fabricate® manufacturing build preparation software, as well as its newly-released Live Sinter™ application, which simulates the sintering process and automatically generates print-ready geometries that compensate for the shrinkage and distortion that take place during sintering, minimizing process trial and error while improving accuracy.
“For many businesses like Ford, the P-1 will serve as a learning lab for processes as they look to scale up to full production. Research institutions are also eager to adopt the Production System P-1 to experiment, validate materials, and test a variety of use cases for metal Binder Jetting with a smaller build box that offers all of the benefits of SPJ technology, including speed, quality, and reliability,” Fulop concluded.