Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM) makes it possible to manufacture smallest structures, complex parts or individual implants »out of nothing«. This technique is already state-of-the-art, but special applications, such as parts with a high resolution or the processing of special materials, require special expertise.
For 24 years, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has been doing research on additive manufacturing, and has introduced many novel materials, such as magnesium or nickel-titanium, to this technology. With Selective Laser Melting (SLM), the limits of conventional manufacturing processes can be overcome. The processing of the shape-memory alloy nickel-titanium, for example, enables the manufacturing of intelligent parts for applications in medicine and aerospace technology.
In addition, bioabsorbable implants made of magnesium can be manufactured by Selective Laser Melting. This process is also perfectly suited for the production of load-adapted parts for lightweight construction. Magnesium has a high specific strength, is easy to recycle and is virtually available in unlimited amounts. In this respect, it is thus even superior to the well-established aluminum.
Moreover, a further development of SLM allows for manufacturing high-resolution micro-parts. In this way, with SLM, objects with a structural width in the range of 30 µm to 40 µm can be manufactured.