Ottawa, Ontario: Equispheres Inc. and Aconity3D are once again breaking new ground in metal additive manufacturing, achieving build rates about 9x greater than industry norms for aluminum powder and laser powder bed fusion.
Building on previous announcements of 3x improvements production speeds, Aconity3D and Equispheres have continued to push the limits of their machine and materials technologies. Using Aconity3D printing equipment with laser beam shaping and Equispheres’ NExP-1 AM powder, the two companies have achieved production speeds in excess of 430 cm3/hr for a single laser.
“There are three pillars supporting this remarkable achievement,” says Evan Butler-Jones, Vice-President – Product & Strategy at Equispheres. “The leading-edge capabilities of Aconity3D’s printing technology, the novel application of beam shaping, and the unique powder properties of Equispheres’ NExP-1 printing material. This powerful combination allowed us to achieve outstanding results.”
Laser beam shaping is used in other industries and has gained attention in additive manufacturing due to its potential to improve processing speeds. In laser powder bed fusion, beam shaping modifies how energy is deposited on the powder bed, altering the power density and thermal gradient.
To fully explore the potential of beam shaping, the two partners selected a material with stable melting behaviour and a tightly controlled printing process.
- NExP-1 is a best-in-class AlSi10Mg powder tailored for high performance by Equispheres’ unique production process. It provides consistent, repeatable melting properties.
- The AconityMIDI+ was modified with an IPG YLR 3000/1000-AM with beam shaping capabilities enabling 3 kW of maximum power for this project. The shaped beam instead of a zoomed gaussian beam reduces overheating and spatter formation in high productivity processing. Aconity3D’s printing systems are modular, allowing maximum functionality through tailor-made additive manufacturing solutions.
“Aconity3D’s printing technology and the team’s expertise were crucial to this project’s success. We’re working with extremely high-powered lasers, testing additive manufacturing process parameters far beyond previous capabilities. It was necessary to have the precise control and monitoring capabilities of Aconity3D printers,” says Butler-Jones.
The resulting build speed outpaces current production rates for aluminum additive manufacturing by a large margin.
“NExP-1 powder is vital to achieve these remarkable speeds,” explains Martin Buscher, Aconity3D. “It has exceptional properties that make it ideal for high-speed work. The powder characteristics enable optimal melting behaviour, which is required to achieve consistent printing with high-powered lasers at these extraordinary speeds.”
At FORMNEXT: Productivity Increase Through Adapted Laser Beam and Powder Properties
Equispheres and Aconity3D will discuss the productivity impacts that can be achieved in aluminum L- PBF by combining engineered beam profiles with engineered powder during a presentation at Formnext on Nov. 9 (10:15 a.m. at the Technology Stage). The presentation will cover productivity improvements and overall build results from ongoing work utilizing Equispheres’ powders printed using various laser profiles on Aconity3D machines.
Formnext attendees can also drop by the Equispheres or Aconity3D booths to chat about developments in high-performance materials and metal AM equipment.
Equispheres develops breakthrough technologies for the production and use of advanced materials in additive manufacturing. Leveraging our unique metal powders and process expertise, we are dedicated to driving forward the industrialization of additive manufacturing for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. By lowering the cost and improving the performance of industrial 3D printing, we empower innovation.
Aconity3D is a systems provider for flexible application-specific Additive Manufacturing (AM) systems for metals. The company is situated in Aachen’s high-technology surroundings of the RWTH University and Fraunhofer research institutes. With the company’s technological background in production and informatics, the focus is on extending the state of the art in 3D printing of metal parts. Finding new solutions and partnering with customers towards innovating this vast, growing field of research brings along further business units, such as Consulting, Jobshop, Testing Facilities and Material Distribution.
For more information about Aconity3D, go to Aconity3D.com.
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