Vacuum and heat provide stress-free parts with electron beam melting
In the electron beam melting process, the raw material in the form of metal powder is placed in a high-vacuum build chamber. The feeding system of an electron beam melting machine spreads material layer by layer, tightly controlling the thickness of each layer. The machine reads data from a 3D CAD model and with the help of electromagnetic coils it controls the accuracy of the moving electron beam, which melts the layers.
For each layer in the build the electron beam heats the entire powder bed to an optimal temperature, specific for the material used. The combination of vacuum and high temperature in the electron beam melting process results in stress-relieved components. The produced parts are almost free from residual stresses and gas porosity. Many crack-sensitive materials can be printed crack free by an electron beam melting machine thanks to the high preheating temperature capability of the process.
Using electron beam melting as the heat source, metal powders can be consolidated into a solid component. This powder bed fusion process produces fully dense metal parts directly from metal powder with characteristics of the target material.
Aerospace and other highly demanding mechanical applications as well as medical implants can make good use of the advantages with electron beam melting.
Metal powders developed specifically for the electron beam melting process can be found in Höganäs' additive manufacturing portfolio.