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Selective Laser Melting: INEGI explores 3D metal printing technology

29 January 2024
It's called SLM, an abbreviation for Selective Laser Melting, also known as Laser Powder Bed Fusion, and it's INEGI's latest bet to add value to manufacturing processes. It's an additive manufacturing technology using metallic powders, uniformly distributed and melted by laser to manufacture complex geometries.

Omid Emadinia, specialist in additive manufacturing focused on the area of metals and metal matrix composites at INEGI, explains that the Institute's focus is on "expanding the applications of this technology, as well as analyzing its applicability to give life to new ideas that conventional technologies do not provide an answer".

This 3D printing technology is aimed at manufacturing prototypes, single parts or small series production. It's capable of manufacturing complex parts, with great freedom of geometry, and does not require molds.

The high level of precision, control of mechanical properties and lightweight construction make this technology attractive for the aerospace, aviation and automotive sectors. But not only that – the medical industry also benefits from highly personalized prosthetics and devices for patients, for example.

Among its advantages is the reduced use of raw materials compared to subtractive technologies, such as milling, as the printing is Near-Net-Shape and the metallic powder collected after printing print can be reused.

Exploring the unique capabilities of Selective Laser Melting technology is, therefore, a priority for INEGI's experts in advanced manufacturing technologies. The objective is to understand its potential and areas of application, as well as the variables in terms of material use, optimal processing parameters and properties of the resulting components.

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