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Powder Ageing And Additive Manufacturing

Powder Ageing And Additive Manufacturing

In additive manufacturing, powder ageing is defined as the change of powder properties and pick-up of certain elements across multiple process cycles.

Article by EOS.

In the additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium alloys through laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), rapid oxidation takes place in the metal melt pool and the spatters created by the process. Additionally, the laser-powder interaction in repeated process cycles can change the powder properties, such as particle size and powder density. As these effects accumulate, a phenomenon known as powder ageing, they influence the final part properties, setting an upper limit for the powder reuse cycles. The aim of the present study was to investigate the criticality of powder ageing in the LPBF process with EOS Titanium Ti64 Grade 23 powder using statistical analysis and an evaluation of analysis method accuracies. The mechanisms of powder ageing were linked to the ageing effects in the solid parts.

Based on the results, it was concluded that the Ti-6Al-4V ELI powder exhibited moderate ageing behaviour, causing only mild shifting in the final part properties over 22 powder reuse cycles. Despite approaching maximum limits of certain elements of the Ti-6Al-4V ELI composition, the mechanical property requirements defined in the material standard remained fulfilled throughout the experiment.

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Safran And SLM Solutions Evaluate SLM Technology For Additively Manufactured Main Fitting Of A Bizjet

Safran And SLM Solutions Evaluate SLM technology For Additively Manufactured Main Fitting Of A Bizjet

In a joint project, Safran Landing Systems and SLM Solutions tested Selective Laser Melting to produce a component of a nose landing gear for a bizjet. A world first for a part of this size.

The joint objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility to produce a main fitting by Selective Laser Melting process. The component was therefore redesigned for metal-based additive manufacturing allowing time saving in the whole process, and significant weight reduction about 15 percent of the component.

Due to the stringent requirements of this component, which is one of the parts that transfers the loads from the wheel to the aircraft structure and is retracted after take-off, Safran selected the titanium alloy, as it is a material with high mechanical properties, naturally resistant to corrosion, which does not require any surface treatment. Additionally, it helps increasing part durability.

Thierry Berenger, Additive Manufacturing project leader at Safran Landing Systems says: “We chose SLM Solutions as a partner, because of their expertise and the SLM 800 machine, which exactly meets our requirements in terms of machine size and reliability.”

With a vertically extended build envelope, the SLM 800 is perfectly adapted to produce large components. The machine is equipped with SLM Solutions’ proven quad-laser technology and innovative features, like the patented gas flow and a permanent filter, that ensure highest reliability.

One of the strengths of the SLM technology is its flexibility. Design changes can be quickly modified, printed and tested, then less time is spent during the prototype development.

Gerhard Bierleutgeb, EVP Global Services & Solutions at SLM Solutions explains: “Additive manufacturing contributes to save time in the qualification and certification phases by rapidly providing the parts for testing. We were able to produce the main fitting in few days on the SLM 800, vs few months with the forging process.”

Part Information:

  • Measurements: 455x295x805 mm
  • Material: Titanium
  • Machine: SLM 800

This new design invented by Safran Landing Systems, meeting ambitious resistance and mass reduction objectives, is patented.


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AMEXCI And SLM Solutions Strengthen Partnership To Accelerate Industrialisation Of Metal AM

AMEXCI And SLM Solutions Strengthen Partnership To Accelerate Industrialisation Of Metal AM

AMEXCI, an Additive Manufacturing company, founded by eleven Nordic based industrial companies and Selective Laser Melting pioneer SLM Solutions have strengthen their partnership. The joint objective is to further accelerate the industrialisation of metal-based Additive Manufacturing and support companies to successfully implement AM technologies for serial production of complex metal parts. To achieve this and to create the basis for increased productivity and part quality, AMEXCI has invested in the Selective Laser Melting machine SLM 500, equipped with four 700 W lasers.

Edvin Resebo, CEO of AMEXCI underlines:Having worked together for some time we are happy to take the next steps and further strengthen the cooperation between AMEXCI and SLM Solutions as we see their technology as a strong complement alongside our existing collaborations. Regarding the industrialisation of AM, we see a growing potential in the Nordic region for the coming years. From an AMEXCI perspective, SLM Solutions showcases a strong understanding of what´s important and what needs to be in place for AM as an industrial manufacturing process.”

As part of the partnership, specific case studies will be used to evaluate Additive Manufacturing and test the competitive industry advantages of different machines and technologies offered by SLM Solutions. Additionally, AMEXCI evaluates the use of the recently introduced SLM machine NXG XII 600 for industrialised series production.

Sam O’Leary, CEO of SLM Solutions says: “AMEXCI works with a wide range of industries, especially in the Nordic region. We are proud to contribute as a solution partner to support and to realise AM business cases of their customers, from prototype up to serial production. Providing consulting services throughout the customer’s AM journey, is a goal of SLM Solutions in this partnership.”

The basis for the joint cooperation is AMEXCI’s investment in the latest SLM 500 from SLM Solutions. The machine offers excellent features for industrial series production. As the first quad-laser system on the market, the machine is ideally suited for the rapid cost-effective production of large metal parts. The multi-laser overlap strategy with up to four 700 Watt lasers ensures maximum efficiency. The ability to change the build cylinder minimises machine downtime, maximises productivity and reduces cost per part.

AMEXCI, together with its customers develops a new generation of products where AM acts as an enabler for higher competitiveness and more sustainable production. Furthermore, AMEXCI offers a wide range of trainings and workshops to build up successful business cases for their customers. At its AS9100D certified lab in Karlskoga, Sweden, AMEXCI has the capability to design, produce and qualify components. Founding shareholders of AMEXCI are ABB, Atlas Copco, Electrolux, FAM, Husqvarna Group, Höganäs AB, Saab, Scania, SKF, Stora Enso and Wärtsilä.

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Peak Productivity: SLM Solutions Launches 12-Laser Machine

Peak Productivity: SLM Solutions launches 12-Laser Machine

Selective Laser Melting pioneer SLM Solutions officially introduces its new SLM machine NXG XII 600, which is now available for commercial offer.

The highly anticipated machine is equipped with 12 lasers with 1 KW each and a square build envelope of 600x600x600 mm. NXG XII 600 is the fastest machine on the market, 20 times faster compared to a single laser machine[1] and equipped with innovative technical features like the zoom function to achieve highest productivity and reliability. It is designed to be used in serial production for high-volume applications as well as for printing large parts, which opens up new applications in the automotive and aerospace industries and paves the way to industrialised serial production.

The NXG XII 600 is the latest addition to SLM Solutions’ product portfolio and puts productivity on a whole new level, with 12 simultaneously operating lasers with 1 KW each, numerous technological innovations, and automated features. A radically improved use of laser time in the build process enables unrivaled build-up rates. The new machine was designed from scratch for serial production and features a whole new optic system, the most compact on the market. It enables large overlap and is based on a tailor-made laser scanning system to best fit the build area.  All 12 optics provide spot size definition via a double lens system called zoom function, enabling customers to choose between different spot sizes in the focal plane which boosts build-up rates to 1000 cc/h and more. Producing a higher yield of parts in a single build job thereby enables mass production at low cost-per-part.

Sam O’Leary, COO at SLM Solutions, is enthusiastic about the machine launch and underlines that a new era of manufacturing has started: “The NXG Xll 600 is a revolution in industrial manufacturing. Up until now, the limit had been considered to be that of a quad laser system – what we deliver here with 12kW of installed laser power is truly ground-breaking and a major step forward, not just for additive manufacturing, but for manufacturing in general.  The potential cost reduction and productivity gains that this machine offers you means for the first time in the history of additive manufacturing, you can have true serial production fully integrated into your supply chain.”

To facilitate the integration of the NXG XII 600 into factories and supply chains, several automated features like an automatic build cylinder exchange, automatic build start as well as an external preheating station and external depowder station are part of the solution.

To achieve homogeneous part properties all over the building platform, SLM Solutions has developed a new gas-flow setup along with an optimised chamber design and SLM Solutions’ patented and proven sinter-wall technology. Customers can also rely on the patented bi-directional recoating, which has been redesigned to be more compact and gas-flow optimised.

The NXG XII 600 features a robust machine design boasting a new thermal concept. This reduces drifts to a minimum and allows customers to print seamless parts stitched together with up to 12 lasers. Additionally, the machine comes with a brand-new UI concept focusing on the operator, which optimises the workflow and reduces training requirements. This once again underlines SLM Solutions’ focus on productivity, reliability, and safety.

The machine is available with two different powder handling options: a gravity based and a vacuum based solution, that both keep downtime between each build job to a minimum.

Machine Feature Overview

  • Build Envelope: 600x600x600 mm
  • 12 lasers with 1KW each
  • Zoom function
  • Integrated Scan Field Partitioning for even load distribution between all 12 lasers
  • Automatic build cylinder exchange
  • Automatic build start
  • External preheating station and
  • External depowder station
  • Lowest Production cost by reducing cost per part and overall build time

[1] Compared to SLM 280 Single Laser System

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Where 3D Printing Makes Sense

Where 3D Printing Makes Sense

Here’s a look at how Paul Horn GmbH got its start in additive manufacturing. 

Even complicated shapes can be produced relatively easily with 3D printing.

Paul Horn GmbH launched its additive manufacturing project in spring of 2018, which led to the creation of a dedicated “selective laser melting” production area. Now, the tool manufacturer uses additive manufacturing to produce its own tools—particularly prototypes, special tools and tool holders—and to optimise coolant attachments. Having recognised the advanced possibilities offered by additive manufacturing, Horn is making these available to its customers and partners as well.

“We were captivated by additive manufacturing right from the start, and so we kept a very close eye on advances in the area of 3D metal printing. As soon as the technology had matured to the point where we could use it to manufacture precision tools, we bought our very first system,” Matthias Rommel, Managing Director of Horn, explains. “Originally, we purchased the machine for the R&D area so that we could make special tools and prototypes. During the initial period, we found that we were constantly having discussions with our customers about 3D printing. To begin with, these were purely technical; but as time went by, they led to more and more concrete enquiries for 3D-printed components. Due to the strong interest from customers, we eventually came up with the idea of setting up an additional contract manufacturing business unit for additively manufactured components. In terms of technology, we opted for a DMG Mori LASERTEC 30 (2nd generation).”

It makes sense to use additive manufacturing if it generates a technological advantage. However, in many cases, there is no economic benefit to using additive manufacturing for a component that used to be produced by conventional methods. One example would be a turned part that can be produced relatively quickly on a Swiss-type lathe. Not only that, but additive manufacturing would also be too expensive in terms of post-processing. Other disadvantages compared to conventional production include relatively poor surface quality (Rz 30 µm), accuracies down to only ±0.1 mm, and the high cost of powder compared to bar. 

Greater Design Freedom

As the complexity of a component begins to rise, additive manufacturing becomes more relevant. This may be driven by the need for lightweight design, special cooling channel layouts and small batches of components with highly complex geometry. Consequently, the disadvantages have to be weighed against the benefits of greater design freedom, lightweight construction, quick adaptability and speedier production for more complex parts. In the future, it therefore makes sense for this option to be included in the preliminary considerations as part of each design process.

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