First in the UK to offer laser based polymer additive manufacturing

Sept. 20, 2011
Exeter, UK – The University of Exeter has opened its Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) that houses machines that can work in several materials, allowing for a huge range of possibilities in potential products.

Exeter, UK – The University of Exeter has opened its Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) that houses machines that can work in several materials, allowing for a huge range of possibilities in potential products.

"Additive layer manufacturing is already a strength at the University of Exeter, and we are extremely proud of this new centre, which is unique in the UK. It includes the UK’s only EOSINT P800, which can build parts at temperatures up to 385°C and is the world’s first system that enables production using high-performance polymers," says Professor Ken Evans, Dean of the University’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

CALM is supported by EADS and is part financed by the European Union with £1.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013, under the competitiveness operating programme. Dr Jean Botti, CTO and Executive Committee member of EADS, said: “EADS is very pleased to partner with leading academic institutions like the University of Exeter who are developing technical centres of excellence that will yield scientific benefits in a number of different domains. Our partnership with Exeter is a continuation of our strategy to access the tremendous technical talent that exists across the UK.”

Dr. Hans J. Langer, founder and CEO of EOS, adds, "Partnering with the University of Exeter to provide additive manufacturing facilities for the Southwest of the UK will further help to raise awareness for a technology that is currently shifting paradigms in design and manufacturing. We are also looking forward to expanding the use of the PEEK material, which is being processed on the P800, in the aerospace, medical, and motorsports arena. With another plastic system from EOS, the EOSINT P 100, the University can offer even more options for plastic laser sintering."

High performance materials, including PEEK, are mechanically strong and wear-resistant in the toughest of operating environments. Parts made of PEEK are being developed as an alternative to metals for applications including aerospace parts and medical instruments. As a result, the manufacturing process for prototypes and products is being simplified.

Businesses that are producing prototypes and developing products can now benefit from this pioneering £2.6 million facility at the University of Exeter. The facility will enable businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to harness the potential of additive manufacturing. The centre is offering heavily subsidised rates to SMEs in Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall, giving smaller businesses access to world-class facilities at affordable prices.

With this EOS manufacturing technology, complex or bespoke parts and complete products can be created by building them up one layer at a time via laser sintering, thus significantly reducing the time it takes to get a product from the design stage into market. Businesses will also benefit from the technical expertise of CALM staff, gained through their experience in industry.

For more information about the CALM centre, go to www.exeter.ac.uk/calm

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