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Nikon SLM's 900th 12-Laser Metal 3D Printer Goes to Safran –

Nikon SLM’s 900th 12-Laser Metal 3D Printer Goes to Safran –

Can you believe that Nikon SLM Solutions has already shipped its 900th NXG XII 600 3D printer? It seems like it was just yesterday when the manufacturer of laser powder bed fusion systems (LPBF) revolutionized the additive manufacturing (AM) industry with the unveiling of a 12-laser metal 3D printer, sparking the Laser Wars . Now the company has announced the delivery of its 900th unit to be installed at the Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus (SAMC) for the serial production of qualified aircraft engine parts. This is important not only for Nikon SLM, but as an indicator for the LPBF sector as a whole.

Launch of the NXG XII 600 machine from SLM Solutions.

The NXG XII 600 machine from SLM Solutions. Image courtesy of SLM Solutions

The use of the NXG Nikon SLM Solutions has also tailored the parameters of the machine specifically for aluminum AlSi7Mg0.6 and adapted it to Safran’s standards for the series production of qualified parts. In return, the partners developed a careful protocol for the NXG XII 600 that will ultimately set new standards in the aerospace industry.

François-Xavier Foubert, General Manager of the Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus, commented: “This first NXG

Sam O’Leary, CEO of Nikon SLM Solutions, commented on this partnership: “This delivery is not just a transaction, but a testament to our shared vision for the future of additive manufacturing.” With the NXG XII 600 we enable Safran leverages record-breaking production capacity and paves the way for innovative advances in aviation.”

There are a number of aspects of this story that make it so relevant. While the sale of even one such machine adds more than $1 million to SLM’s profits, the sheer volume of high-volume 12-laser metal 3D printers shipped by the company is a testament to the quality of the equipment.

Nikon SLM Solutions 900th NG II metal 3D printer Safran scaled

After initial development led by Divergent Technologies, the NXG As this technology sparked the Laser Wars, questions were raised about how to maintain quality while managing so many lasers and therefore so many complex variables within the build. Because it is precisely this topic that is a thorn in the side of LPBF technology as a production technology.

Nikon SLM has now shipped not just a few, but almost 1,000 of them, proving that the company has more than nailed the technology. Certainly, managing such a wide range of energy sources in a complex building environment will occasionally or even frequently cause problems, but not to the extent that they significantly impact the productivity of such valuable equipment. In other words, the premise behind the Laser Wars, that more lasers mean more productivity, appears to be proven.

Nikon SLM is a leader in this area, but it is not the only company, and if this company can do it, so can its competitors. These include Velo3D in the USA and EPlus3D, Bright Laser Technologies and Farsoon in China. These Chinese companies in particular boast the ability to pack up to 25 lasers into their machines. They may not have shipped 900 of these high-volume laser printers to customers yet, but it’s only a matter of time before they do.