Mitsubishi Electric Company appear to be dipping their toes into the additive manufacturing industry with their new dot forming technology. Dot forming is a high speed, high quality mix of a few different technologies jumbled together. It takes aspects of laser forming, computer numerical control (CNC) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM). As one would expect, Mitsubishi are leveraging the new technique for automotive and aerospace production.
The method is quite similar to DED, in that it also uses a metal wire and extruder mechanism. This can be quite inexpensive, as the process could use common laser welding wires for objects. Unlike DED however, the nozzle is not stationary to a specific axis and can move in multiple directions. As with most forms of 3D printing, the machine builds the model on a surface from bottom to top, layer by layer.
The machine controls pulsed laser irradiation, the supply of metal wires and shield gas and the shaping position to form the object. It has an accuracy 60 percent higher than other more conventional consecutive forming technologies. Another advantage over traditional forming is that of reduced oxidation by a factor of more than 20 percent due to how high temperature areas are limited to a narrow spot forming area.
Dot Forming Technology
According to Mitsubishi, the new technology is fantastic at the difficult aspects of additive manufacturing, like overhangs. Similarly, the process leaves very few gaps and voids in it’s production. Moreover, Mitsubishi will be using the technology for near-net shaping and finalising metal prints. This gives the technology great final product applicability making it far more desirable. This also means it can cut back on processing time and cost.
Mitsubishi Electric will be showcasing the new technology at the 29th Japan International Machine Tool Fair. The 6 day event runs from 1st November to the 6th November 2018 at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center. While they are debuting the technology soon, the actual machines featuring the process won’t be out till March 2021.
Featured image courtesy of Mitsubishi.