High build rates and dense parts with direct energy deposition
Focused thermal energy means that an energy source such as a high-power laser, electron beam or plasma arc is focused to melt the metal powders supplied to the focus of the beam (laser or electron) or electrode (plasma arc). Thus, direct energy deposition includes the following three melting processes techniques: powder and wire feed laser (LBAM), wire feed electron beam (EBAM), and plasma and arc welding (welding).
Typically, a nozzle, mounted on a multi-axis arm deposits melted metal powder onto the specified surface, where it solidifies. The deposition head moves by trajectory defined by a CAD file while applying material layer by layer. A hermetically sealed chamber filled with inert gas or a local inert shield gas is typically used to protect the melt pool from atmospheric oxygen. This allows for better control of material properties during the direct energy deposition process.
The direct energy deposition process can be used with a wide range of materials including nickel-based alloys, stainless steel, cobalt-based alloys and titanium, other specialty materials as well as with composites. The process can be used to build new metal parts and can also be utilized to add material to existing parts, for instance for coatings and repair, or to add new functionalities.
Höganäs’ product portfolio for additive manufacturing includes a wide assortment of powders suitable for the direct energy deposition process.