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Aachen facility to boost 3D printing

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology and RWTH Aachen University have announced the launch of the largest 3D printing facility of its kind.

The “world’s largest selective laser melting facility” was inaugurated at RWTH Aachen University’s Digital Photonic Production research campus on 1 June. The process used by the facility, which fuses metallic powders, will enable it to manufacture metal parts with a maximum volume of 160 litres.

The facility will be the subject of a three-year research project with two main aims: to shorten the development processes involved in selective laser melting; and to 3D print large-volume tools that are too expensive to manufacture using traditional processes. Many small businesses in the area are expected to collaborate with Aachen and Fraunhofer researchers on the project.

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