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Ljubljana, 20th December 2018 – Today, a new patent application by a Slovenian inventor has been published by WIPO. The document describes a novel machine which uses magnetic levitation for positioning of powder materials in a volumetric printing space and in which melting is performed by plurality of electron beams enabling spatial melting of powder materials.

The proposed technical solution enables volumetric additive manufacturing of entire objects at once, opening a new chapter of additive manufacturing, especially of metals. Volumetric additive manufacturing is a new term coined by the recent development in AM and it describes technologies where objects are manufactured by sequential fabrication of its volumetric parts rather than in a layer-by-layer manner. In many cases entire objects can be printed at once, drastically speeding up the process and reducing the printing time.

The newly published patent application describes a technical solution for volumetric fabrication based on powder materials and promises a substantially faster additive manufacturing of objects. Faster speeds could have a big impact on the demand for mass-production of 3D printed parts as well as the demand for fabrication of spare 3D printed parts on-site.

The newly published patent application is one of the very few technical solutions known to date, which enable volumetric AM of metals. It also describes a process of manufacturing objects from inside out, in order to overcome the problem of negative and overhang angles of the geometry of the object in fabrication. The described method of fabrication of an object from inside out largely widens the scope of possible geometries of objects which can be manufactured without the 'support' material, resulting in less material used. The proposed solution could also bring promising benefits to 3D printing in space, as magnetic levitation of powder materials would be highly efficient for use in zero gravity.

As the use of 3D printed metal parts spreads across the industry, the demand for faster and more efficient industrial AM machines grows every day. The patent application aims to fulfil the need for the development of the next generation of industrial AM machines.

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