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3D printing process – metals

How SLM works –
selective laser melting

Fascination, requirements, fields of application

How does SLM (selective laser melting) work in detail?

With the SLM 3D printing process, 3D-printed metal components can be created directly from a computer model. DMLS stands for “direct metal laser sintering” and is a powder-bed-based additive manufacturing process. As a 3D printing material, a metal alloy (metal material) in powder form is used and fused by laser beam.

In the 3D printer, a thin layer of this metal powder is applied to the build plate. A powerful laser then melts the powder at exactly the points specified by the CAD software to create a layer of the 3D-printed metal part. by the CAD software to create a layer of the 3D-printed metal part. The process is subsequently repeated until the component has been printed in full.

SLM technology in three steps:
  1. The 3D printer distributes the metal powder layer by layer on the construction surface.
  2. The laser melts the powder to form the desired shape.
  3. The 3D-printed component grows one layer at a time

The laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology used by FKM follows the principle of laser melting or selective laser melting. This makes LPBF technology one of the world’s leading and most reliable 3D printing processes in the field of metal-based additive manufacturing. This high-end technology is used for the serial production of industrial metal components and proves its worth in many industries.

The most important areas of application for SLM are the aerospace, aviation, automotive, medical, toolmaking and turbomachinery industries.
FKM is a leading service provider for industrial 3D printing services using metal and has been relying on the advantages of SLM for almost three decades.

4 advantages of selective laser melting

Freedom of design

SLM is used where conventional technologies reach their limits. With industrial metal 3D printing, production is based on the design and not the other way round. This gives great scope for design and allows customised designs to be created.

Complex structures

Metal 3D printing enables the design of highly complex structures that are very difficult or impossible to realise with conventional technologies. Metal components from an SLM 3D printer are very light and particularly stable. This allows functional optimisation and integration without additional assembly steps.


With SLM technology, prototypes can already be produced in the early development phase of a 3D-printed product. This leads to faster product design development and market launch. Metal 3D printers also open up new possibilities for the mass production of industrial 3D-printed components.

Individualised solutions

SLM enables customised solutions for every special requirement for additively manufactured metal parts. The design can be easily customised at any time using the 3D data from the CAD software. This means that products can be manufactured in a very short period of time.

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