AMCM's New M 8K System Sets New Benchmark for Metal Printing

October 2, 2023

Ariane Group rocket engines require next level of build volume.

Starnberg, October 2023 - With its upcoming AMCM M 8K system, AMCM once again pushes the boundaries of metal printing. While AMCM’s M 4K, currently offers a large build envelope of 450 x 450 x 1000 mm and supports four 1kW lasers, the M8K will be equipped with 8 lasers and feature a record breaking 800 x 800 x 1200 mm building volume.

 The development of the M 8K is supported by a national grant to AMCM to improve the competitiveness of the Ariane 6 program. The first application will be the printing of the combustion chamber of the Ariane Group's Prometheus rocket engine. Printed in CuCr1Zr with a height of > 1,000 mm and a maximum diameter of 800 mm, this combustion chamber will be a benchmark in terms of dimensions and quality.

„We needed to find a partner who was willing to work with us to push the boundaries of what’s possible. This is literally AMCM’s DNA, who have already built an excellent reputation having multiple M 4K systems in this industry. ArianeGroup projects must meet ESA's strict requirements to be approved for launch. As a result, we place the greatest value on part quality, e.g., material microstructure and surface roughness. We do acknowledge that AMCM was awarded this Federal grant. We are confident that we will be able to solve this challenge in a short period of time and help the company enter new markets. Promoting cutting-edge technological innovation is an integral part of our mission. “
Jan Alting, Head of Future Propulsion of ArianeGroup
„Designing a system of this size involves a whole range of challenges. The excellent laser, scanner and optics design with our tried-and-tested beam sources is based on decades of process expertise from EOS. The build volume is 4 times that of the M 4K, which also means mass. Therefore, the z-axis of the system must be able to move up to 5 tons of powder with highest precision. The importance of material supply is often underestimated. For printing up to 1.2 m tall parts with high productivity and quality, powder management is key. Reliably feeding tons of metal powder over several days is no walk in the park. You do not want to interrupt the process in any case. “
Martin Bullemer, Managing Director at AMCM

With larger parts and longer print runs, process control and validation become increasingly important. However, X-ray computed tomography is still a common method for checking the structural integrity of additively manufactured (AM) parts. With SmartFusion and EOSTATE Exposure OT (optical tomography), AMCM will integrate the latest technology from EOS Group into the M 8K system to further improve in-process quality assurance and process monitoring, helping to reduce subsequent testing effort.

„Metal printing offers the potential to make the rocket engine manufacturing process more flexible, less expensive, and faster. Our new M 8K system will be operational within a year. We have promised ArianeGroup the first printed combustion chambers before the end of 2024. “
Martin Bullemer, Managing Director at AMCM