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Additive Layer Manufacture

Additive layer manufacture is a process in which a component is built up in discreet layers by using a high energy heat source to melt or fuse powders. With these techniques material utilisation can be as high as 95%, with unused powders easily re-used in the process. This compares favourably with traditional methods such as machining where as much as 95% of the input material could be converted to scrap. This makes additive layer manufacture very appealing to fabrication with high value materials.

Our capability is built around two ARCAM EBM systems and a Renishaw SLM, the primary difference being the energy source used to melt the powder, the former use a high power electron beam (E-beam) whereas the latter uses a laser.

The processes are driven by data taken directly from computer aided designs (CAD) which are sliced into individual layers of between 20µm and 150µm. Fine metal powders are deposited on top of a build platform and the energy beam is used to melt the shape of the desired component, the process then proceeds with a new layer of powder which is subsequently melted, such that the component is built up in a layer by layer fashion.

Benefits of ALM systems

Features   

Benefits

Vacuum chamber

  • High integrity parts

Free Form Fabrication

  • No tooling
  • Highly complex geometries
  • Minimal waste

Direct manufacture from CAD

  • Reduced lead times
  • Speed of design iterations

Materials that can be currently E-beam deposited:

Machine parameters

 

Arcam 

Renishaw

Build size

200mm x 200mm x 350mm     

125mm x 125mm x 125mm

Accuracy

± 0.4mm

± 0.1mm

Build speed

55 - 80cm3/hr

2 - 10cm3/hr

Beam power

50 – 3000W

20 – 200W

Beam spot size                

0.2mm to 1.0mm

0.035mm to 0.2mm

To get advice on which system is most suitable to your requirements, speak to one of our engineering team.