EOS was present at the TCT 2007 Exhibition and three areas of the company's business were highlighted.
Plastic laser sintering machines
The TCT show marked the UK première of the new EOSINT P 730 plastic laser-sintering machine from EOS. Based on the EOSINT P 700, claimed to be the only twin-laser system on the market, and also one of the largest with a build chamber diagonal of more than one metre, the new model is up to 75 per cent more productive, depending on component geometry. Since the machine's first appearance at the EuroMold show at the end of 2006, four EOSINT P 730s have been sold to UK customers, followed by two EOSINT P 730 upgrades.
Also featured was the entry-level FORMIGA P 100. With turnaround times of less than 24 hours, the FORMIGA P 100 integrates well in continuous production environments that require high flexibility – at comparatively low investment costs. The preparation and control of the building process is conveniently carried out at the user's desk - hence the FORMIGA P 100 lends itself also to decentralised production.
The system can construct vertical walls of high surface quality and, with the laser's fine focus diameter, wall thicknesses as thin as 0.4mm can be built for manufacturing small, detailed components such as connectors.
Machines for direct metal laser sintering
Also featured on the EOS stand was Direct detal laser sintering (DMLS) for rapid prototyping and manufacturing of metal components in small, medium and even large quantities, as well as for producing plastic injection and die casting moulds.
The latest DMLS machine is the EOSINT M 270, which uses a 200W Yb fibre laser capable of focusing to 100um diameter, enabling very fine resolution to be achieved. It includes an innovative dual-focus feature that automatically switches between different laser spot sizes during laser sintering to optimally combine detail accuracy and build speed.
EOS says its EOSINT M 270 has sold successfully in the UK market since its introduction in June 2004, notably into the aerospace, motorsport, medical and academic sectors. Ten machines were ordered up to September 2007, making the UK the fastest growing region in the world for these machines.
New metal powders shown included EOS MaragingSteel MS1, a martensite-hardening, high strength, 18 maraging 300 steel (type 1.2709) that offers increased quality, particularly for series tooling applications. Due to its strength and hardness, the material is suited to the production of heavy-duty tooling inserts and is claimed to be at least on a par with, or even superior to, conventional tool steels.
Following the launch at EuroMold of EOS StainlessSteel 17-4 powder, a new version called EOS StainlessSteel PH1 was announced at TCT 2007. It is a precipitation hardenable, martensitic stainless steel combining high strength, hardness and corrosion resistance, making it suitable for use in the medical, offshore, aerospace and nuclear industries. The material is currently being tested by pilot customers.
Components made with other metals recently launched by EOS included examples in EOS CobaltChrome MP1, commercially pure titanium and titanium alloy powders, the latter opening up applications in the aerospace and medical industries, especially for implants.
CarbonMide was another powder on show, which is suitable for laser sintering on EOSINT P-Series machines. This material comprises carbon fibres in a polyamide matrix and is 25 per cent lighter than glass-filled powder, yet has high stiffness and strength, making it suitable for producing functional prototypes for mechanical or aerodynamic testing. Applications are to be found in the aerospace and motorsport industries, and even in the interior design sector for the manufacture of bespoke items of furniture.