Though mainly known for its mid-range consumer electronics to the wider world, Toshiba and Toshiba Machines industrial products include injection-moulding machinery, machine tools, die-casting machines and industrial robots. It stands to reason that like many other industrial players entering the market such as Ricoh, Trumpf and DMG Mori it was only a matter of time before Toshiba Machines launched their own 3D printing device.
A press release on the Taiwanese marketing website, DigiTimes, suggests that entry will be sooner rather than later.
The PR says that Toshiba Machines alongside Toshiba are working on a laser metal deposition (LMD) additive manufacturing (AM) device that purports to be 10 times faster than its powder bed fusion counterparts.
The key to Toshiba’s high-speed operation is a new nozzle based on Toshiba's know-how in fluid simulation technology. The nozzle reduces the area to which metal particles are injected, and the laser beam focuses very precisely on the tiny area covered by the powder. The prototype achieves a fabrication speed of 110cc an hour with an 800-watt laser output, and can build larger structures at a lower cost than current methods. The printer works with a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, Inconel and iron.
Toshiba and Toshiba Machine will continue development on the prototype to secure further increases in fabrication speed and resolution, and to fine-tune interfacing with 3D CAD software. The companies aim to bring the printer into practical use in or after 2017.
Sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry under its programme "Technological Development for Next-Generation Industrial 3D Printers and Ultra-High-Precision 3D Shaping Systems.", the plan for Toshiba and Toshiba Machine is to sell the AM machinery alongside its more traditional machines thus creating hybrid technology laden factory floors, a theme we saw a great deal of at formnext powered by tct.