Real life experience helps Hannah explain opportunities and applications to customers – faster and simpler.
I joined the 3D printing bureau at Laser Lines last June. I first came into contact with 3D printing technologies when I was an architectural model maker. I did that for five years at a large architectural practice in London. Over those years, the models were getting more detailed with, by the end, an element of 3D printing in every model made.
The company had an in-house rapid prototyping and CAD department that worked in parallel with the model shop and office architects. They provided some of the parts, while others were outsourced. Primarily the parts we used were for complicated geometries that are hard to replicate with normal workshop and handcrafting techniques, such as lattice structures.
We used to get a CAD file back and need to speak to the rapid prototyping technicians to explain which part of the model we had identified to get printed. I use the experience I got in that role to give Laser Lines’ bureau customers outstanding service.
What first attracted you to Laser Lines?
I liked the idea of a new challenge while using my experience in a bureau role.
Our industry is constantly evolving and staying ahead of the technology changes can be challenging, but I love it. I work with a great team – Greg, Matt and Richard in the bureau – and no day is the same.
What constitutes a good day at work?
Dealing with our customers is what makes a good day. I love the fact that on a daily basis, I can be working with different technologies and customer requirements. It is quite different from my previous role as I am now much more hands-on with 3D printing technologies. The fact that I am continually learning is brilliant, and seeing the end results is really exciting.
Some of the colour models we have output on the Stratasys J750 are incredible and the detail is fascinating. What can be achieved is a real eye-opener – and to be able to help explain this to customers gives me a great sense of job satisfaction. I think my previous role, where I had to use my fine motor skills with very delicate models, comes into play all the time. But I love the fresh thinking and the on-the-job learning I now get by working at Laser Lines.
If you’d like to discuss your project with Hannah or ask some more questions about which technology would suit your printed part better, email email@example.com or call 01295 672588.
Laser Lines, a total solutions provider of 3D printers and laser equipment, today announces that it has become a UK reseller of Xact Metal’s 3D printing systems, which offer powerful metal 3D printing in a small footprint. Laser Lines will be distributing the Xact Metal XM200C and XM200S machines immediately, and the XM300C model when it becomes available in 2020.
Mark Tyrtania, Sales Director at Laser Lines, said: “We are delighted to be the chosen UK supplier for Xact Metal, whose metal printing systems are establishing new levels of price and performance. Making quality metal printing accessible requires innovation.
“Xact Metal’s printing technology is built on the patent-pending Xact Core – a high speed gantry system platform where light, simple mirrors move quickly and consistently above the powder-bed on an X-Y axis. It’s another step change for our industry and opens a whole range of exciting opportunities.”
The Xact Metal machines are aimed at customers in high-performing industries where high-throughput and print speed is critical including aerospace and medical (XM200S), and for entry-level operators, universities, prototyping laboratories and SMEs (XM200C).
“Both systems use a laser-based powder-bed fusion technology in which a laser selectively melts thin layers of metal powder to create parts directly from a 3D CAD model.
With extremely compact footprints, the XM200S and XM200C machines offer a 127 x 127 x 127mm build chamber. Both machines have a touchscreen display, which makes them easy to use, control print jobs, change print settings, while keeping an eye on measurements such as the chamber temperature and oxygen percentage/ pressure.
Supporting Stainless Steel, Super Alloys, Tooling Steels, Aluminium, Titanium and Bronze, the Xact Metal machines are able to make parts in a fraction of the time that it takes with traditional casting, while the open platform means that qualified users can develop their own printing parameters or use their own powder.
Laser Lines has over 25 years’ experience in the 3D printing sector, so is often the first point of call for customers who want to find out more about the realities of installing a system for research, manufacturing, or rapid prototyping.
Mark adds: “Customers who are looking to improve productivity by using 3D technology should speak to us first. With our technical expertise and our ability to match a system and technology with customer requirements, we are always happy to help. With the addition of the Xact Metal products to our range, we have more 3D printing solutions to choose from.”
Laser Lines, the UK’s leading supplier of industrial & scientific lasers, accessories and 3D printers, today announces the Datalogic Arex 400 range of fibre laser marking systems, suitable for users in advanced manufacturing. Designed to fit in with robotic operations on a production line, the solution is extremely flexible and versatile with an ultra-compact footprint. The Arex 400 systems have a high resistance single conduit head connection and the capability to operate at up to 40 Degrees Centigrade, at 100% power as standard.
Datalogic already has a strong, comprehensive and innovative range, but the new Arex 400 systems now offer the smallest laser head size presently available, which makes them ideal for those who need to integrate a solution into a production line, where there is little space. The impressive head is also extremely light so can be held by a simple-to-fit bracket and includes the useful ‘Green-Spot’ feature, which gives the operator a visible feedback on the completion of a successful marking action.
Chris Ogden, Manager of the Industrial Laser & Photonics Divisions at Laser Lines, says: “The Arex 400 range has a lot to offer – from its versatility and high precision to really useful features for the operator. This range is particularly suited to advanced manufacturing systems where traceability, part ID and brand markings are paramount, such as the automotive market.”
The Datalogic Arex 400 laser controller offers enhanced embedded PC performance and further improved connectivity, with low noise operation and washable filters with improved dust and oil protection.
Enhanced safety circuitry also makes sure that these systems are suitable for even the most demanding OEM integrations and meet the most stringent safety requirements of modern industry. Extended repetition rates have also been added to the Datalogic range, making the systems more suitable for marking plastics and heat sensitive materials. The Arex 400 range now comes with IP64 protection and a robust and high strength body design, machined from solid Aluminium.
The Datalogic Arex 400 range is shipping now and is available for demonstration at Laser Lines’s facilities in Banbury, with the range including 10W, 20W, 20W MOPA, 30W and 50W power options.
Laser Lines has long supported medical teams, selling multi-material printers like the Stratasys J750 and Connex3range for on-site production of anatomical models. Used in pre-surgical planning, they allow consultants to plan more effective and precise interventions and can help when explaining procedures to patients.
Now that support is set to go further, with news that Stratasys and software developer Materialise have extended an existing partnership to support a wider range of printers for point-of-care 3D printing. It will give greater depth to MRI and CT scans – quite literally.
3D printing anatomical models
That hardware now includes an unrivalled range of Stratasys printers, including Stratasys J735, Stratasys J750 and Objet 30 Prime. The printing capabilities of these are consistently putting accurate models, with realistic pliability, tension and even colour into surgeons’ hands. By accurately mimicking soft tissue, cartilage, muscle and bone, the models help cut the time the surgeons spend in the operating theatre, reducing the stress on patients’ bodies and freeing up a hospital’s limited resources to bring down waiting times.
“This extended partnership gives surgical teams much more choice and greater flexibility,” says Laser Lines’ Phil Craxford. “It’s no surprise that Gartner sees considerable industry growth here, predicting that by 2021, a quarter of all surgeons will use 3D printed models to practice procedures before heading into the operating theatre.”
The pay-off, for the patient, is obvious. Anyone approaching surgery will naturally be apprehensive, but when they can see what needs to be done, in a manner they understand, they will have far greater confidence. Past research has shown that anxiety associated with medical procedures can prolong a patient’s hospital stay – where they will occupy a bed that someone else might need – and make it more likely they will require additional pain relief.”
Enhanced patient care
Point-of-care 3D printing makes MRI and CT scans more meaningful. Multi-material anatomical models constructed using the data captured by hospital scanners allows surgical teams, consultants and their patients to make better-informed decisions before embarking on surgery or a treatment regime.
Further, by moving the facilities to produce such models on-site, they reduce the turn-around time, which can be vital when treating time-critical diagnoses such as cancer.
By printing in multiple colours, and using transparent material, teams can show tumours in situ, and illustrate the tissue surrounding vital internal organs, allowing them to plan the least invasive route to the surgical site, and also understand the size and complexity of the job in hand. This will ensure they have adequate tools and supplies in the theatre prior to commencing the operation.
Materialise’s Mimics inPrint software integrates with a hospital’s existing workflow for processing CT and MRI data to convert medical image files to 3D anatomical models. It’s a printer-agnostic application, giving hospitals greater freedom when choosing their hardware.
“It’s the most versatile 3D printing system for on-site production of accurate anatomical parts,” says Craxford. “2D imagery just can’t rival it, however clear or accurate it may be. Using 1:1-scale, tactile parts, surgeons no longer need to imagine a patient’s internal biological make-up, and can instead plan with greater confidence, by holding, feeling and even rotating parts by hand for the clearest and most accurate view.”
Multi-material printers can produce more than just anatomical parts. To chat about their full potential, call Phil and his team at Laser Lines on 01295 672599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Laser Lines is proud to announce it is selling and supporting a new suite of materials for its FDM and Polyjet range of printers including TPU 92A, Agilus White, Vero Vivid Cyan and Veroflex.
Using a dedicated print head on the F123 printer along with a new, innovative elastomer material TPU 92A, engineers and designers now have the ability to produce flexible parts that have highly superior elongation at break.
Mark Tyrtania, Sales Director at Laser Lines, says: “The applications for 3D printing in our customers’ markets are moving forward all the time. Some of these developments are driven by newer and more affordable machines. Others are created by breakthrough materials, and TPU is one of these materials. For the automotive industry and others where flexible materials are used extensively in door seals, trim and grommets, TPU is the way forward as it is flexible but durable. Unlike rubber, which is comparatively fragile, TPU gives you superior toughness that stretches, bends and compresses significantly without losing shape.
“Creating elastomer parts using traditional silicone or CNC moulds are extremely costly and time-consuming – while it is our view that other additive techniques just cannot deliver parts with the size and complexity of our elastomer approach,” commented Zehavit Reisin, Vice President and Head of Solutions and Materials Business, Stratasys. “Manufacturers demand 3D printing solutions that can be put to work in real prototyping and extreme production environments. With reliable and highly resilient parts, our solutions are designed to enable customers to do just that.”
The material will be offered initially to the installed base as a starter kit including a TPU head, a spool of material and a brochure. Any existing customer who buy a new head will receive a software upgrade free of charge.
More new materials
Stratasys has also launched a set of new materials that can emulate the look and feel of rubber, leather or plastic for the PolyJet J750 and J735 full-colour machines. The Agilus30 White material follows in the footsteps of the Agilus Black and Agilus Translucent materials. It enables users to prototype parts such as rubber-like seals and gaskets, and is brilliant for the medical, sporting and FMCG markets. VeroVivid Cyan and VeroFlexVivid have been developed to let engineers achieve realistic prototypes in the consumer, packaging and eyewear markets.
Anyone wanting more information on these products or requiring a sample part should contact Laser Lines by emailing email@example.com or calling 01295 672588.
At the opening of TCT 2018 Exhibition & Conference on 3D Printing held at the NEC in Birmingham (from September 25th – 27th), Additive Industries has announced a partnership with Laser Lines Ltd, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of 3D printers, additive manufacturing systems, 3D scanning equipment, lasers and accessories, to accelerate its presence in the UK and Ireland.
The appointment of Laser Lines Ltd as an agent follows the recent announcement by Additive Industries of the expansion of its Process & Application Development network with a centre in the UK. Both companies have teamed up to accelerate the maturing UK & Ireland market for industrial metal additive manufacturing systems.
Laser Lines, founded in 1975, is based in Banbury, Oxon, with 37 employees, 24 dedicated to 3D sales and service, offers an end-to-end service which includes training, installation, maintenance and repair services. With its vast experience and professional infrastructure, Laser Lines Ltd will support Additive Industries in developing the UK & Ireland industrial market in aerospace, automotive, medical and general machine building markets.
“Our customers are looking for industrial metal additive manufacturing solutions and as a trusted supplier of 3D printers both in plastics and metal, industrial lasers and 3D scanning equipment, we are well positioned to introduce Additive Industries and their MetalFAB1 system. We are looking forward to working with Additive Industries and further strengthen our commercial strategy with regards to metal 3D production solutions “, said Mark Tyrtania, Sales Director of Laser Lines Ltd.
“With the recently announced expansion to the UK with a dedicated Process & Application Development Centre, we already acknowledge that the UK & Ireland is an important market that provides great opportunities for industrial companies to enter into industrial metal additive manufacturing. With Laser Lines Ltd we add an experienced partner to our fast growing worldwide network that will work with us to identify and manage these opportunities that will contribute to our execution of our accelerated growth”, added Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries.
Datalogic, the automatic data capture and industrial automation solutions provider, has announced that its Ulyxe laser marking system has been chosen by Gilo Industries Groupto enable accurate identification and traceability of parts manufactured across its innovative aerospace engineering companies.
Gilo worked closely with specialist supplier Laser Lines, to find a suitable solution that would meet immediate and future requirements of its businesses that develop breakthrough products and solutions for defence, commercial and recreational applications.
“Across number of businesses within the Gilo Group, particularly Rotron Power that manufactures advanced rotary engines and Mako which produces cutting edge motorised surfboards, we anticipated a growing requirement to mark component parts with serial numbers and certification marks for improved traceability and audit purposes.” explains Tom Prince, Operations Manager at Rotron Power.
Before deploying the Datalogic laser marking solution, serial numbers were added using a handheld engraver. “We found that by the sheer nature of the process, which relies heavily on the handwriting of the user, the handheld engraver produced very inconsistent results and often didn’t produce the professional standard we wanted to achieve for our brands,” continues Prince.
“Although there was a desire to mark more individual, component parts, we really only marked whole engines as the process of engraving was too labour intensive. In addition, a lot of the individual parts that we wanted to engrave were quite small and the risk of damaging parts, which might contribute to a product failure was too high. We needed a solution that would provide clear part marking with 100% accuracy, that’s when we reached out to Laser Lines.”
Help from Laser Lines
Gilo reviewed a number of different laser marking technologies, including CO2 and Fibre based laser systems, before selecting Datalogic’s DPSS (diode-pumped solid state) Ulyxe product. “We discussed a number of laser technologies to Gilo at the company’s headquarters in Dorset,” adds Chris Ogden, Industrial & Scientific Laser Division Manager at Laser Lines.
“After understanding more about the company’s unique requirements and ambitions for the technology, specifically the need to mark alphanumeric characters, logos and machine-readable codes on various sizes and types of materials including metal, metal alloys and plastic; it was our opinion that DPSS would be a better solution for Gilo as it delivers shorter bursts of energy which result in a much neater mark. An on-site demonstration of the Datalogic Ulyxe proved this to be the case, producing better, clearer marks on the full range of part materials, particularly on plastics.”
In addition to the quality of the markings themselves, Gilo’s decision to install the Datalogic Ulyxe system was further influenced by its small form factor, minimal running costs and flexibility. “Compared with the other laser technologies we tested, the Datalogic system was really the best overall fit for our business,” states Prince. “The unit and workstation is nice and compact, so we haven’t had to re-configure the production floor to accommodate it and we have the flexibility to move the Datalogic laser into a new workstation housing if our future requirements change.”
After installation, Laser Lines provided training for a number of Gilo Industries’ staff, ensuring safe operation and accurate results at all times. “Laser Lines has been extremely supportive throughout the decision and installation process and were instrumental in the initial set up of the system to carry out a number of different marking tasks. Already, we can see enormous potential to save a huge amount of time as we increase the volumes of marking on engine components, not to mention the benefit of being able to enable future traceability of all our products. We are also excited about the ability to add professional looking logos and trademarks to products as we continue to grow our brand presence,” concludes Prince.
Kamran Farooq, UK & Ireland Sales Manager, Manufacturing at Datalogic adds, “Accurate traceability of components and finished products is a vital element of modern-day manufacturing processes. We are delighted that Gilo Industries has found the Datalogic Ulyxe system offers the best fit and results for their unique requirements and hope that laser marking adds increased value to their operations, as they continue driving innovation within aerospace engineering.”
Whatever industry you work in there is likely to be at least one instance where some information – be that serial numbers, barcodes or branding – needs to added to a product. This can certainly be a challenge to implement effectively with ideal materials, trying to achieve your goals when working with plastics can feel even more difficult and frustrating.
If you are going through the extra effort of including information on a product, whatever that may be, there is generally a desire for this to be legible for as long as possible and ideally permanent. This may be for branding purposes, regulatory requirements or even traceability, once products are out in the field it is often useful to be able to work out where they have come from a few years down the line.
As mentioned above there are some characteristics of plastic materials in particular that make this goal of permanence difficult to achieve with traditional methods. First port of call for these applications is typically using inks, which at the best of times may struggle to stay legible against the test of time. When you take into account that a number of popular engineering plastics such as PP, PE, HDPE and UHMWPE have inherently low adhesion to inks, then this method becomes less and less likely to offer successful results.
Where inks fail some users will look to employ labels or adhesive stickers to achieve their requirements; again, this is not without its pitfalls. Labels are typically expensive consumable products when compared to other methods and can potentially introduce another manual process into your production flow. Automated label printing and application systems generally require large up-front investment, along with continued consumable costs such as inks and stickers, leaving this as an unsuitable option for many customers to implement.
So why should you consider laser marking if you are faced with this sort of requirement in your manufacturing process? First and foremost, laser marking can offer fast, highly precise and permanent results on a wide range of plastic materials. These can be introduced into a manual or fully automated process with minimal disruption to production. Additionally, one of the most beneficial features of laser marking is the complete lack of consumables. Paired with the high efficiency and comparatively low power consumption of modern laser systems, the long term saving can be huge when compared to inks or labels.
If you are interested in discussing anything raised here or have any other questions regrading laser marking or how it may be able to benefit you and your applications then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Having always been an integral part of the manufacturing and production processes, traceability of raw and finished materials and products is only becoming more and more important across the global manufacturing landscape.
With supply chains these days spanning countries and continents it is more important than ever to have a robust and permanent way of marking items for traceability purposes.
At Laser Lines we are regularly working on applications focussed towards facilitating the increased traceability of parts and items from initial manufacture through to end of life. Our laser marking capabilities are well suited to a wide variety of industries and sectors where provenance is paramount, these include automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and medical device.
Our laser marking systems from Datalogic, combined with the newest Lighter 7.0 software, offer a reliable and powerful package that is capable of marking a whole range of 1D and 2D codes, as well as human readable text, to meet whatever requirements you or your customers may have.
We are also able to offer fully comprehensive solutions that incorporate scanning and verification into your marking processes, allowing you to seamlessly monitor and verify that the correct information is being marked on your products. Alongside our colleagues at Datalogic, we have a wealth of experience in supplying systems which contain hand held or fixed positions scanners or fully integrated camera systems.
All of this allows us to deliver excellent results, increase the traceability of your parts, and provide options from the entry level through to fully automated industrial solutions.
To get in touch to discuss your marking requirements or for a discussion on how you can increase the level of traceability in your production process then get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01295 672588.
As a company that offers a full portfolio of industrial laser products across a variety of different technologies including: marking, welding, cutting and cladding, we are pleased to say that our stand at MACH 2018 will be host to a wide range of exciting systems.
Throughout the show, our stand will be manned by our team of experienced laser specialists who will be on hand to discuss your application needs and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
We are particularly excited to be showcasing the brand new MARVIS software from Datalogic as part of a fully integrated marking and verification system. This package will demonstrate our enhanced capabilities to provide a turnkey solution to mark and immediately validate codes, something that is becoming more and more important in today’s manufacturing processes.
On top of this we will also be displaying the most up to date in CO2 marking and cutting technology with a Flyer 3D system from our partners Synrad. In terms of our other marking technologies presented; our MARVIS marking system will be bolstered on stand by our benchtop ULYXE system from Datalogic, along with our Industrial Dot Peen Markers from industry leaders Couth. Our offering for MACH 2018 is rounded off with the PICCO LASER welding system from our partners at OR Laser.
The systems on show at MACH 2018 are a small snapshot of our total offering in the scope of industrial laser technology and we would encourage you to come and discuss any laser related enquiries you may have with our willing team.
If you would like to book a visit to see us at MACH 2018, please get in touch on 01295 672588 or email email@example.com. We are on stand H17-226 if you would like to drop by.