FMI 3D metal printing
FMI leads the way in 3D metal printing. Our full-scale printing facilities produce commercial end-products in small to medium sized volumes.
What is additive manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing (AM) is the term used for technologies that build three-dimensional objects.
Additive Manufacturing adds layer upon layer of material to an object. This, as opposed to conventional, subtractive manufacturing processes such as turning, milling and drilling, whereby surplus material is removed, often ending up as waste. There are several different additive manufacturing technologies, 3D printing being the most well-known.
3D metal printing at FMI
At FMI we use 3D printing to create metal products such as medical implants.
We are one of the leading 3d printing companies to have a full-blown, commercial 3D printing facility. It has become an integral part of our production process. Under the watchful eye of our head of development, dr. Ruben Wauhtle, we use 3d metal printing for rapid prototyping and to manufacture products such as a whole new generation of spinal implants.
As a founding member of the experimental Additive Laboratory or Addlab, we gained years of valuable Additive Manufacturing knowledge and experience. We have put this to good use, giving us a major advantage compared to the global competition.
How does 3D printing technology work?
Using Computer Aided Design, 3D computer models of the required object are created. These are uploaded into the metal printer. Using the models as building instructions, the printer, adds a metal powder layer by layer, each time fusing the layer into solid metal a high-power laser. In this way, complete 3D objects or in our case products are constructed by the printer.
Because 3D printed objects are very rough, they often require additional machining and finishing before they can leave the factory as final products. This makes FMI unique as we not only have the 3D printing facilities but also the necessary skills and cnc machinery to produce the final products, all 'under one roof'.
The benefits of 3D printing
3D metal printing is an exciting new technology with some real major advantages:
- Highly efficient, producing minimal waste ( Traditional, subtractive manufacturing = up to 90% waste);
- Create new 'impossible' geometries, complex features and fine details;
- Design up to 60% lighter products;
- Ideal for individual bespoke products, tailored for very specific situations i.e. medical implants;
- Turn designs into into products very quickly, ideal for rapid prototype development.