Cardiff University has invested in a Renishaw AM250 machine, adding laser melting to the University’s already extensive additive manufacturing research and development technologies.

In a move which continues the Welsh university’s long history of R&D in 3D printing, the addition of the Renishaw AM250 sees the Additive Laboratories at its School of Engineering adopt a more holistic approach to manufacturing.

Renishaw’s additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing) technology is a digitally driven process that uses a high powered ytterbium fibre laser to fuse fine metallic powders into 3D objects, direct from 3D CAD data. The metallic powder is distributed evenly across the build plate in layer thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100 microns forming the 2D cross section. The layer of powder is then fused using the laser in a tightly controlled atmosphere. The process is repeated, building up parts of complex geometries, layer by layer.

The AM250 machine, which is manufactured at Renishaw’s facility to the west of Cardiff, allows the construction of fully dense, highly complex metal parts and structures that are not possible to build using traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Applications for the machine range are vast and range from producing quality prototypes and one-off high value parts, to creating bio-compatible orthopaedic implants. 

Commenting on the collaboration between Renishaw and Cardiff University, Rossi Setchi, the professor responsible for high value manufacturing, said she was “very excited” at the prospect.

She said, “Since the mid-1990s the Additive Manufacturing Laboratories at Cardiff School of Engineering have had a fantastic track record of additive manufacturing R&D in metal sintering, in resins, and in polymers. Our Additive Manufacturing Labs incorporate a wide range of 3D printing technologies and the ability to produce macro and micro components – we’re very excited to be able to add laser melting to this mix for the first time with the purchase of this Renishaw AM250 machine. This equipment combined with our pioneering expertise will advance R&D in the additive manufacturing field as well as enabling research and development in a very wide range fields from advanced manufacturing through healthcare to energy.”

Professor Setchi concluded, “Cardiff’s collaboration with metrology company Renishaw, and new metrology facilities at Cardiff School of Engineering, allows our AM Labs immediate access to state-of-the-art measurement equipment in order to verify the dimensional accuracy of R&D and production laser melted components”

Simon Scott, director and general manager of Renishaw’s Additive Manufacturing Products Division said, “Renishaw is delighted that Cardiff have chosen Renishaw additive manufacturing technology to accompany the already very extensive facilities.”

He continued, “As with many new and disruptive technologies it is the collaborative relationship that fosters and supports the breakthroughs that lead to wider adoption and we are looking forward to a strong partnership to support this goal.”