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  • Writer's pictureSebastian Bluemer

26 Laser, Tempus and Inert Gas As A Game Changer For Copper


Two days exploring the optimal productivity strategy for manufacturing L-PBF components Formnext - Where ideas take shape, this year with one of GKN's process experts, Dongjian Zhu. ๐Ÿ’ช


26 Laser Productivity - Made in China ๐Ÿ‘‡

After arriving at the show in Frankfurt on Wednesday, our first stop was Hall 11.0 at the BLT to take a look for a 26 laser machine. Had the company actually managed to set up the machine at Formnext? Unfortunately, the machine had not been delivered to Frankfurt, but the components were at the company's booth and could be evaluated for quality. Under the critical eyes of Dong and me, the process expert of BLT had to answer some detailed questions about slight offsets and cracks in the component.


The part still showed room for improvement in terms of quality. Anyway the company's approach to achieve higher productivity by scaling up the lasers shows the potential of the L-PBF process and also draws attention to the metal market beyond our additive bubble.


TEMPUS - Tackling Delay Times During Recoating ๐Ÿš€

The RenAM500 series was already known for its sleek black look. This year, the word "ULTRA" has been added to the Q. This is an indicator to higher productivity, which has been specifically increased by the TEMPUS technology and the reduction of recoating delay times.


TEMPUS - The ability to recoat during exposure and thus reduce the delay times, which are normally occur after exposure. From my point of view, there is certainly a nesting density and geometry dependency here - but the approach and implementation is exciting to achieve a further leap in productivity without changing the machine concept or even launching a new, larger machine on the market (would result in high investment for the customer)


Smart approaches using current machine concepts to increase the speed of powder deposit as well as software modifications to change exposure strategies, is what is needed today.


Having talked about some of the hardware modifications, I will conclude today's article by talking about the process gas. From a process engineer's point of view, it is all about achieving homogeneous flow characteristics to create a stable melt pool.Linde(gas experts) went one step further and looked at the composition of the gas. Their smart approach is, to use a slightly modified gas mixture in combination with their solution to reduce the O2 content in the process chamber to increase the stability of the melt pool during exposure and thus achieve better processability of materials. Definitely something I want to take a closer look within the next weeks. ๐Ÿง 


As you can see, things are moving forward in the metal AM industry, and in addition to scaling lasers, there are other ways to get productivity out of our metal machines. Very exciting!


What are your takeaways from Formnext 2023? ๐Ÿค”


Sebastian



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