Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is a well-established and proven additive manufacturing (AM) technology, especially within the aerospace and medical industries, to produce components out of high-performance materials such as titanium, titanium aluminides, nickel-based superalloys, and even pure copper.
Compared to other AM technologies, the hot EBM process leads to a low level of remaining residual stresses and prevents parts from warpage.
The ability to use the electron beam for heating and melting is the enabler for processing non-weldable alloys. Additionally, fast beam deflection and a controlled vacuum environment offer perfect conditions for the efficient processing of high-performance materials for applications in extreme environments.
GE Additive is working continuously to expand its EBM material portfolio to serve customer needs now and in the future. In this context, material development is often performed in close collaboration together with material suppliers and research centers at universities.
Two recent examples include:
- Highly alloyed cold work and HSS tool steel grades showing a carbon content C >1,0 wt.% for cutting and forming application.
- WC-Ni MMC for ultra-high wear resistance application within the Oil and Gas sector.
Processing of these materials can be challenging, as high process temperatures and tight process control due to the crack-susceptibility are required. It is also difficult to process them using other powder bed AM technologies such as laser powder bed fusion.
In this talk, we show how EBM can generate opportunities in terms of new and advanced designs of tools, lead time, and material utilization. Complementary mechanical and microstructural properties in different conditions will be presented and discussed to show EBM material capabilities.
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