Two divisions of the Japanese automotive manufacturer, Mitsubishi, have announced that they will be making their way into the 3D printing industry. Mitsubishi Electric has announced the development of a new process for metal 3D printing, while Mitsubishi Chemical plans on introducing a series of materials.
Mitsubishi’s new additive manufacturing technique is known as “dot forming technology.” According to a press release put out by the company, the platform combines lasers, CNC, and CAM. In order to print the metal parts, a directed energy deposition process uses a laser wire to fuse metal wire as it is unloaded. Mitsubishi claims that this new type of laser wire will help manufacturers avoid the risk of voids that typically come with DED systems.
Mitsubishi is targeting near-net parts for both the aerospace and automotive industries because of the system’s ability to produce hollow components with overhanging features. Various laser-welding wire materials found throughout the market can be utilized in the machine, which will reduce the price compared to metal powders according to the automotive manufacturer.
The system depends on a pulsed laser and minimized heat input, which many will recognize as the same used in CNC technologies. This gives the metal enough time to cool once the wire has melted. The metal wire, shield gas supply, and the deposition position can all be controlled simultaneously, which ultimately results in 60% greater geometric accuracy than traditional DED systems.
Mitsubishi Electric will be showing off this fascinating new technology at the Japan International Machine Tool Fair this year before they plan on launching the 3D printer in 2021. As for Mitsubishi Chemical, the company will be showing off a wide variety of their new materials at the upcoming Formnext event.
As manufacturing moves forward 3D printing becomes a larger part of the industry and Mitsubishi’s investment in developing their own technology shows its influence. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Mitsubishi’s latest innovations so be sure to check back with Manufacturing Talk Radio for all the latest details.