ExOne targets high volume production with new X1 160PRO metals printer

Published 05 November 2019

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: prototype, 3d printing, manufacturing, automotive, additive manufacturing, metals, exone

ExOne is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the additive manufacturing world – particularly amongst those that are doing really interesting things with both the technology and the advantages that it brings. It is ExOne’s machines that are driving the design and manufacture of advanced cast part production with its sand core producing machines.

But today’s release is about its work in the direct production of metals, using a binder jetting-based process that sees metallic powder solidified using a binder (rather than a laser or electron beam), then this cured part is cured in a furnace to create the final production intent.

While ExOne has offered variants of this process for some time, as ever, customers want more parts and more volume, so the answer is the new X1 160 Pro.

What this does is take ExOne’s patented approach, called Triple ACT, and scale it up to what the company is claiming is 2.5 times the build volume of competing systems out there currently.

How big is that? 800 x 500 x 400 mm is the answer – at a rate topping 10,000 cm3/hour (depending on print material).

The machine is capable, at present, of working with a range of metal powders, including; stainless steels 316L, 304L and 17-4PH, as well as some ceramics. 

“Our technology roadmap has been leading us to this machine for more than two decades,” said ExOne CEO John Hartner. “At the same time, the X1 160PRO was also designed in response to growing demand from automotive, defense and aerospace customers.

“We’re incredibly proud of what this model means for the future of metal 3D printing and sustainable production of large metal parts without design limitations.”

The X1 160PRO joins ExOne’s growing family of metal 3D printers, which includes the Innovent+, an entry-level system used globally for research, design and small part production, and the X1 25PRO, a mid-size production 3D printer that is large enough for most metal parts manufactured today.

The X1 25PRO begins shipping to customers this quarter and is slated to be shown for the first time in Europe this month at Formnext 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany. The X1 160PRO is slated to ship in late 2020.

Earlier, we mentioned ExOne’s Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT) system. This is a new take on the binder jetting process, which several vendors are experimenting with.

The Triple ACT system has a couple of novel innovations up its sleeve, including new roller design, a new dispensing mechanism which builds up the form of your parts using ultra-fine powders in the 9 micron range – which traditionally have issues with cohesiveness, uniformity and the like.

If you want to dive into the details, there’s more on the ExOne website about this specifically (Warning: there’s also one of those annoying forms to fill out before you can read the information)

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