Xerox Enters Liquid Metal 3D Printing
07 April 2021: Xerox’s new ElemX 3D liquid metal printer promises to solve challenges associated with traditional 3D printing methods. Additive manufacturing (AM) is not without its challenges. This is particularly true with powder bed fusion (PBF), a process commonly employed in commercial and industrial 3D printing applications where a laser or electron beam is used to melt and fuse powdered materials together. For instance, objects printed with PBF may exhibit weak structural properties compared to other manufacturing processes and may require post-processing, adding labor and costs.
Xerox’s new ElemX 3D liquid metal printer is one of the first products on the market to employ the technology. Rather than powder inputs, The ElemX uses molten solid metal provided by standard commodity aluminum wire fed into the machine. According to Xerox, this new method can decrease total cost of ownership, increase cycle times, and improve safety, all while providing production-grade parts.
Independent research from the State University of New York and Concordia University asserts that LMJP may be up to 10 times faster and one-tenth the cost of prevailing AM methods. In addition, this research notes that LMJP may lead to denser metal parts with finer microstructures, resulting in a 30% or greater increase in overall tensile strength.
Xerox and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) announced a strategic collaboration focused on advancing additive manufacturing research, specifically 3D printing, which has the potential to dramatically transform the way the military supplies its forward-deployed forces.
NPS was the first to receive an installation of the Xerox ElemX™ Liquid Metal Printer on the university campus in December 2020. The Xerox solution will provide NPS faculty and students with hands-on exploration of new ways the technology can deliver on-demand 3D printing of metal parts and equipment.