Rosotics is ready to revolutionize large-scale metal 3D printing with a new method of “rapid induction printing” that allows printing large parts, with radical advantages in terms of speed, cost, security and energy efficiency.
Rosotics says it has found an alternative that solves all the problems of metal printing and opens the door to cheap, easy, and fast printing of huge metal parts large enough for structural use in airplanes and rockets.
Rosotics has designed, built and tested a new type of metal 3D printhead, called Mantis, which delivers heat to metal very efficiently, through induction.
This is a very natural way to 3D print metal, an electromagnetic field is generated from a coil, and any ferromagnetic metal that passes through this field is inductively heated, by eddy currents induced in the metal. They eliminate the laser from the process; they simply pass the wire through a nozzle and inductively heat it as they go. They call it Rapid Induction Printing, or RIP. The same objective is achieved with much less energy loss.
The efficiency of a laser process is, in many ways, pretty abysmal, according to the company. It is an optical means of heat transfer. By switching to an induction process, the efficiency is significantly increased. Compared to directed energy deposition, the wired laser-based method, we are talking about 30-50% higher efficiency in total energy expenditure. Compared to others, this can be almost an order of magnitude.
Aluminum was his big focus, as it forms the basis of many structural parts in the aerospace industry and is not magnetic at all. They found unique ways to inductively heat this raw material using innovative approaches to metallurgical science. A jacket of inductive material can be induction heated or the raw material can be passed through an induction heated channel which provides heat through physical contact.
This opens up the process to a wide range of metals. The company has done extensive testing with steel and aluminum so far, but it should be able to work with most metals.
The printer currently works with wires 1-10mm in diameter, but they claim it can be easily scaled up if needed, simply by widening the nozzles.
Rosotics has built a full scale prototype printer, it prints at around 8m wide and 6.1m high. This machine works with three heads, each of which pushes just over 15 kg of metal per hour. As a system, it produces approximately 50 kg per hour. It works with a 240 volt outlet, like those found in any store.
The RIP process is supposed to make the whole process much faster and cheaper, and opens up metal printing to a virtually limitless scale.
With this system, any type of structural part that the aerospace industry needs can be manufactured. But it is intended for heavy industry in general.
More information: rosotics.com