Metal components from the 3D printer – easy and safe
How a German startup wants to shake up the market for 3D printers.
Startup One Click Metal, founded in 2019, develops 3D printers capable of producing metal parts quickly and at low cost. The first devices from the company are already in use by a test-customer base. Safety switch technology from Siemens ensures the safety of these innovative devices.
From medicine to construction: The future lies in additive manufacturing. 3D printing can be used to manufacture extremely small and complex components up to entire houses – quickly, flexibly, and at low cost. This process is also of interest in prototype development, because it also offers an economical way of producing small-series runs.
Startup One Click Metal, in the Ludwigsburg area, specializes in the manufacture of metal 3D printers. Their high-tech devices can be used to produce special metal parts like those needed in the mechanical engineering and toolmaking industries. Examples are specially molded clamps for orbital welders and tooling segments for vibrating conveyors.
Other sectors where additive manufacturing of metal components offers major potential include the automobile industry, medical and dental technology, and the aerospace industry.
“We’d like to see metal 3D printing being widely used in the future,” says Michael Volk, Lead Product Development Engineer at One Click Metal. The company is entirely focused on its customers’ needs: Products must be affordable and easy to operate. That’s why the company offers a kind of full-service package: “Our comprehensive program includes the software to prepare the data, the printer, and the unpacking station,” Volk comments. “All the elements are coordinated with each other, so the customer doesn’t need additional software.”
Metal 3D printer with low entry barriers
“Our philosophy is that ‘We do the thinking for you’: In other words, we take our customers by the hand and guide them through the entire process.”
In principle, the metal 3D printing system is ideally suited to newcomers to the technology with no prior familiarity with the process. Operators are trained in many areas via the machine’s HMI (human-machine interface) in the form of step-by-step instructions covering the entire printing process. Users can perform many service and maintenance activities on the machine themselves. The HMI automatically tells users the elements that need to be changed and guides them through each stage of the maintenance process. This makes implementation easier and also reduces the likelihood of error.
Metal 3D printing is a time-consuming process, which is why the parts that are used need to be especially sturdy and durable.Michael Volk, Lead Product Development Engineer at One Click Metal
Quality features: Safety and reliability
Device reliability and safety are also dear to Volk’s heart: “Metal 3D printing is a time-consuming process, which is why the parts that are used need to be especially sturdy and durable. It also uses a laser, which necessitates a working safety plan.”
One Click Metal uses solutions from Siemens to ensure that these innovative printers are safe. Volk observes that being a partner in collaboration with Siemens means you benefit from the latter’s many years of experience, an extensive product portfolio, and high quality and safety standards. He still remembers vividly when they began working together: “I approached Siemens with our list of specifications and was impressed by their honest and open advice. They recommended exactly the right solution: It met our requirements and is also very cost-effective.”
Compact devices protect users
Since then, the printers have used for the Sirius RFID (radio frequency identification) safety switch and the Sirius 3SK1 safety relays, including a time-delay function. The devices respond as soon as the guard doors are opened while the system is running, switching the laser off immediately. That ensures that the operators are never at risk.
Volk says that a major benefit of the safety switch technology from Siemens is its size: “We have limited space in our control panel. The fact the devices from Siemens are very compact and easy to fit is a huge advantage.”
Easy order process makes life easier for startups
One Click Metal also finds the easy order process at Siemens very appealing: It can all be done online via the Siemens Industry Mall, a platform with no inventory control system. That’s very helpful for small operators and startups in particular. “All the products in the Mall are priced, which isn’t something you take for granted,” Volk comments. “I didn’t have to ask about prices. That makes the order process straightforward and very transparent right from the outset.”
Metal 3D printing: A future-oriented technology
There’s no question that additive manufacturing is a growth market – and at One Click Metal, they’re confident they can stand up to the competition with their user-friendly products. “Although the pandemic has caused a noticeable disruption in our scheduling, we’re still confident. The first systems are already in use by a test-customer base. They’re working with the systems and providing valuable feedback that we’re incorporating into the ongoing development of our printers,” says Volk.
One Click Metal GmbH was established in 2019 and is a young industrial B2B firm based in Tamm, near Stuttgart. The 20 or so members of the startup team strongly believe that technology can be made accessible to everyone. That’s why One Click Metal is simplifying its product solutions to enable everyone to use them successfully.
November 30, 2021
Picture credits: Siemens AG, One Click Metal GmbH
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