According to ASTM International, our Metal Additive Manufacturing process is "Powder Bed Fusion", our technology is known as Selective Laser Melting (SLM) or Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).
A thin layer of material in powder form is dispersed over a build platform. According to the 3D model data, high power lasers melt the powder, rapidly scanning the surface of the material. The build platform is lowered, and the next layer of metal powder is coated on top. As the laser fuses the metal powder, the current layer is melted to the previous one. By repeating the process of coating powder and melting where needed, the parts are built up, layer by layer, in a powder bed.
Selective Laser Melting technology requires support structures: due to the high temperature involved in the process and the layer by layer construction, supports are required to anchor parts and overhanging structures on the build platform. Supports act also as a heat sink for thermal energy, enabling the heat transfer away from where the laser is melting the powder, reducing the thermal stresses and preventing distortions. The build volume can be filled by multiple parts being manufactured in parallel as long as they are all attached to the build platform.
Additive Manufacturing can be more efficient and less expensive.
than traditional metal processing techniques, whilst enabling the production of highly complex components which are impossible to manufacture using traditional methods.
There is very little material wastage, no manufacturing equipment is required, and the lead time from CAD to real components is reduced. From prototypes to end-use parts, additive manufacturing can be more efficient and less expensive than traditional metal processing techniques, whilst enabling the production of highly complex components which are impossible to manufacture using traditional methods.
After the 3d printed parts are cleaned, and excess material is removed, thermal treatments are often used to relieve stress and provide better mechanical properties. The heating and cooling of the metal as the part builds layer-by-layer, leads to internal stresses that must be relieved before the part is removed from the build platform; otherwise, the part could warp or even crack.
In the house, we have an inert-environment furnace which minimises the oxidation on the part surface, which allows for great flexibility in setting up the temperature and cool-down curves. We utilise this for stress-relieving or hardening.
In order to improve the mechanical properties of AM parts, other thermal processes are possible, such as ageing, annealing, precipitation hardening, hot isostatic pressing (HIP). For those treatments, we have partnered up with highly experienced third parties that can support Additiva in strengthening, hardening or providing higher homogeneity to your components.