By Kevin McAlea, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Metals & Healthcare Business Units

When 3D Systems announced the partnership with GF Machining Solutions in August, we said it would allow us to revolutionize metal additive manufacturing. Now we can tell you why. The new DMP Factory 500 is a scalable, modular additive manufacturing system ready for volume production. It offers a simplified workflow, yet can provide highest quality seamless metal parts up to 500mm x 500mm x 500mm with a lower total cost of operation than any competing solution.

DMP Factory 500 modular metal additive manufacturing solution
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The modules of the DMP Factory 500 are designed to maximize efficiency by optimizing utilization. 

A key component in driving the integration of metal AM with conventional technologies is the new build plate referencing and clamping system created by GF that is integrated into the DMP Factory 500. Referred to as the System 3R zero point clamping, it improves throughput from printing to post-production for a seamless production process.

The DMP Factory 500 is a five-module system, supported by 3D Systems’ industry-leading 3DXpert software solution. Each module is designed to maximize efficiency by optimizing utilization.  Customers can configure a custom metal AM factory for scaled production of precision metal parts by choosing the right combination of modules to optimize to their specific production application.

The Printer Module (PTM) is capable of 24/7 operation. It is the heart of our repeatable, scalable automated solution. Its vacuum chamber ensures the lowest O2 content required for quality 3D printed metal parts and reduces powder waste and Argon gas consumption. Its 3DXpert-driven 3-laser scanning system and fast bidirectional recoater enable rapid printing of large, seamless parts.

The Removable Print Module (RPM) is an integrated unit for building parts and transporting parts and powder among other modules.  The parts and powder are sealed during transport and the design enables full powder traceability.

The Powder Management Module (PMM) extracts unused metal powder from build platforms, recycling the powder and preparing the RPM for the next build.

The Transport Module (TRM) is designed to efficiently move the Removable Print Module between modules.

The Parking Module (PAM) has an inert environment for storing Removable Print Modules until they are ready to move to a free slot on a printer or powder management unit, enabling a continuous production cycle.

The modular design is crucial to achieving a continuous functional workflow in the factory setting and maximizing each module’s overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Manufacturers can mix and match modules for custom workflows, using the integrated automation of the system to reduce manual processes.

Our relationship with GF is built on a common vision for automation of the metal AM process and integration of additive manufacturing and subtractive methods. The goal is a complete digital manufacturing production workflow. Our partnership extends beyond System 3R into shared research, joint utilization of our global sales networks, and shared use of 3D Systems’ Customer Innovation Centers and diverse network of manufacturing applications experts.

We are now working closely with GF to deliver increased innovation using the DMP Factory 500 as a foundation for digital manufacturing progress. We know our customers expect 3D Systems to deliver repeatable, high quality part production in volume, and they expect it to come with a significant reduction in total cost of operation. All of us at 3D Systems and GF Machining Solutions are united in achieving this vision.