Higher precision in machine building thanks to additive manufacturing

Fewer machine parts means less assembly and less complexity, which increases precision and reduces the risk of errors. This can be achieved by switching to additive manufacturing and/or adopting a machine design that lends itself to this.

Designing and assembling accurate high-precision machines is a challenge that should not be underestimated. These machines are often complex because of the number of components involved and the way they are assembled. The overall precision of the machine therefore depends not only on accurate assembly, but also the combined tolerances of each individual component. By integrating more functions into one component, or by redesigning multiple components into a single component, the overall accuracy of the machine can be increased.

Additive manufacturing is a technology that helps to make this approach possible. The technology offers an ideal way to increase the number of functions integrated in one component and to design multiple components as a single component.

A collimator as a practical example

An example of this is the collimator designed by Sirris. The cooling channel was integrated into the walls, making it more efficient, while the various diaphragms were printed in one operation. Previously, each diaphragm was given fairly narrow tolerances for concentricity and the thickness of each separate disc. The component is now made as a single integrated piece, with its concentricity guaranteed by its structure and the nature of the process. The accuracy of the height only needs to be ensured by one operation after processing.

An additional advantage of additive manufacturing technology is that the machine can be designed thinner and lighter. Because everything is lighter and thinner, elastic deformations due to inertial forces on moving parts will also be less significant. This improves the accuracy of movements, particularly in high-speed machinery.

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