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Laser systems enable the High-tech and Defense industries in Israel to manufacture “crazy” metal parts that could not be made through other manufacturing processes. Mordechai Jana, CEO of Digital-Cut O.R. and its subsidiary L.R.P.S., talked withabout the benefit of using very advanced laser based systems to manufacture these complicated parts. Digital-Cut and LRPS supply top of the line systems, able to perform laser sintering.
As an example for the capabilities of the Sintering technology Gana explained they can be used to manufacture the “crazy” parts. “Imagine a 10 cm titanium rod twisted inside tunnels tailored (non-standard) for its specific application. Without the tools we supply this rod could not be manufactured.”
Already a variety of materials covering the most important classes of metals for manufacturing (steels, super alloys, light alloys etc.) are used for series production of end-use parts. Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is used to process different materials. The range of available materials has been growing rapidly and can be expected to keep doing so, in order to produce high quality parts for a wide range of applications.
Both tailored and conventional metals are being developed for DMLS. Recently the trend has been towards conventional materials, in order to make easier the acceptance of this new manufacturing method in established applications. In many cases it has already enabled a partial substitution of conventionally manufactured products by e-Manufacturing, with the associated benefits of short lead-time, high freedom of design, minimized fixed costs for tooling, flexible manufacturing, etc. This is possible where the key material properties are filled by the DMLS parts.
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However, it is important to remember that, as with every other manufacturing method, DMLS produces unique material and part properties. New users of DMLS parts are often surprised to find that the material properties and part behavior differ somewhat from their expectations. The reactions vary from disappointment that the user has to consider making changes he is unused to, to great excitement at new possibilities opening up. The surprise is typically due to lack of familiarity with DMLS, which is still relatively unknown and little understood in industry.
DMLS offers an ideal platform for developing completely new products and applications. For one thing, the difficulties of substituting existing production methods and procedures do not exist in such cases, at least not to the same degree. Another reason is that DMLS creates the material (i.e. the metallurgy) locally, in the laser focus during the production of the part. Jana says that using laser for sintering has revolutionized manufacturing.
The technology also has humanitarian applications. Jana revealed that a Syrian rebel who was hit in the face and brought to an Israeli hospital benefited from it. “His jaw was completely shattered and the doctors designed an artificial one that was manufactured by the technology we supply.”