GE's New 3D Printer Handles High Heat

With end-to-end industrialization, the Arcam EBM Spectra H is designed with improved power handling, automation and calibration, as well as decreased risk of contamination and reduced operator dependency.
With end-to-end industrialization, the Arcam EBM Spectra H is designed with improved power handling, automation and calibration, as well as decreased risk of contamination and reduced operator dependency.

Last week, GE Additive gave us a look at the new Arcam EBM Spectra H, a metal additive manufacturing system designed to handle high heat and crack prone materials.

Unveiled at RAPID 2018, the new system will be manufactured at Arcam’s plant near Gothenburg, Sweden with expected delivery starting in Q4 2018.

As manufacturers make significant steps towards serial production, they require larger, faster, industrialized solutions and machines that are capable of handling high heat and crack prone materials, such as titanium aluminide (TiAl). Electron beam melting remains the only commercial additive manufacturing method able to support TiAl production requirements.

Initially, the Arcam EBM Spectra H will support both TiAl and Alloy 718 and additional Ni-super alloys will be supported from 2019.  

GE Additive‘s materials science team is now exploring future opportunities for a wider range high heat materials, including; nickel superalloys, tungsten, CoCr, stainless steel and metal matrix composites. 

The Arcam EBM Spectra H incorporates a range of new features, including: 

  • An increased build speed of up to 50%
  • A 6kW HV-unit means that all pre- and post-heating steps take half the time compared with current EBM machines
  • Improved heat management through the incorporation of a moveable heat shield to keep heat in the build area
  • Improved layering procedure reduces the need for heating, saving approximately five hours for a full height build 
  • Increased build volume from 200x200x380mm to Ø250x430mm 

Auto beam calibration

  • Arcam xQamTM automatic calibration technology improves the position and focus accuracy and removes need for manual calibration, reducing the process from three to four hours to 15 minutes
  • This innovation will be incorporated on the Arcam EBM Spectra H and all Qplus systems
  • The project team is currently exploring the potential for future in situ part qualification 

Reducing dependency on operators and incorporating automation technologies to improve accuracy has been in focus during the development of the Arcam EBM Spectra H. 

Improved and automated power handling process

  • Development of an automated, self-dosing sieve and hopper filling station process. Powder weight is controlled in the PRS and inside the hopper filling station 

Simplified machine set-up

  • Automatic powder hoppers. Self-closing when lifted and self-opening when mounted in the machine
  • One powder distribution set up for each material only
  • Calibration of the fetch position only needs to take place during a material change, no longer before machine start  

Closed powder handling maintains batch integrity and reduces the risk of contamination

  • The operator is protected from the powder
  • A dust tight environment in all steps of the process maintains powder batch integrity
  • Removal of unwanted particles is handled by a thorough process; a cyclone for small and low-density particles, a sieve for coarse particles and magnetic traps
  • Selection of PRS materials in contact with powder.
  • Protection plates in the blasting cabinet are the same material as the powder 
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