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Prototyping service bureau invests in 3D printing

Posted 27 September 2017 · Add Comment

Belfast 3D printing service bureau Laser Prototypes (Europe) Ltd (LPE) has made its largest investment to date with the purchase of a £500,000 metal sintering machine.



This significant investment has allowed the company to expand its prototyping and manufacturing capabilities meaning that it is the only company in Ireland to offer customers parts built in aluminium, stainless steel and titanium.

Metal sintering is viewed as a quantum leap forward in manufacturing for numerous industries including aerospace, motor racing and medical. Many view metal sintering as a long term game changer for manufacturers as this technology is revolutionary in terms of the design flexibility that it offers.

This process builds components layer by layer, making it possible to design organic geometries, complex internal features and challenging passages that could not be cast or machined. Parts can be printed to have similar mechanical and physical properties to wrought metal and can achieve high density (above 99%).

Speaking of the investment, Managing Director of LPE, Tom Walls said: “This is a massive investment and step forward for LPE in terms of our expansion into the metal sintering market. The substantial value of this investment reflects our confidence in this new technology and demonstrates our commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation in this fast moving industry.

“Metal Sintering greatly reduces time and financial costs compared to traditional manufacturing of components. This new innovation removes the constraints of traditional manufacturing allowing our customers freedom to design efficient, lightweight parts. It offers an ideal solution for the cost effective production of prototypes or final production components, regardless of complexity of design.”

Welcoming the investment, Bill Montgomery, Invest NI’s Director of Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Division, said: “The 3D printing of metal parts is an area with enormous market potential and Invest NI has worked closely with LPE to help the company maximise its growth potential, particularly in the aerospace sector. Supporting this investment in new advanced manufacturing technology will ensure LPE has the manufacturing capabilities to compete for this business and position itself as a leader in this innovative field.”

Dr Leslie Orr, Director ADS Northern Ireland, said: “The Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth Strategy goal is to double the size of the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries. Metal Sintering is amazing, allowing intricate metal parts to be built that were previously impossible using traditional manufacturing methods. These new processes are seen as important contributors to innovation and the future growth of the industry.”

LPE has offered specialist 3D printing, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing services for over 25 years at its custom built premises in Belfast. They offer a range of manufacturing and finishing services to customers in automotive, motorsport, medical, TV and film, defence, and electronics industries.
 

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