The new Matsuura Machinery USA Lumex Additive Manufacturing Center is one part lab, one part showroom and one part production facility—all meant to showcase the company’s hybrid manufacturing capabilities.
Less than five years after Matsuura Machinery USA opened its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, the company has revealed a new centerpiece of this 38,000-square-foot operation: a laboratory and demonstration facility called The Matsuura Machinery USA Lumex Additive Manufacturing Center.
Matsuura Machinery Corp. of Japan, of which Matsuura Machinery USA is a subsidiary, has been involved with hybrid manufacturing—metal powder-bed selective laser sintering combined with high-speed milling—for roughly 16 years. And as the center’s name suggests, its Lumex series of hybrid machines are the focus of this facility.
Tom Houle, director of Lumex North America/Matsuura Machinery USA, explained during my recent visit to the center that the latest Lumex Avance-25 and the Lumex Avance-60, are actually the company’s fifth generation of hybrid machines—a point of pride for a hybrid technology that’s starting to gain a foothold in production-level manufacturing.
The center itself contains four Lumex Avance machines (three Avance-25s and one Avance-60), all enclosed in glass walls and situated squarely in the middle of the larger Matsuura facility. During my visit, I took a look at a test build of the Avance-25 (see the video below), the smaller of the two machines, capable of processing parts and molds up to 256 × 256 × 300 mm. After the part is designed in proprietary CAM software, which includes laser scan and milling paths as well as a simulation function, the build process begins with powder distribution—a 0.05-mm-thick layer for the standard 500-W laser, or 0.1-mm-thick for the optional 1-kW laser. Each layer is sintered and the process repeats itself for 10 layers. (This is a user-definable parameter, but 10 is the default.)
thumbnail courtesy of additivemanufacturing.media