Design Engineering

GE Additive unveils new metal 3D printers, materials and software

By DE Staff   

Additive Manufacturing

Latest EBM, Concept Laser systems, plus copper/tool steel materials, tailored for aerospace industry.

At the formnext trade show in Germany this week, GE Additive debuted two metal additive manufacturing systems and a material recovery system, plus support for two metal materials and EBM Build Performance Analyzer software. GE Additive includes additive machine providers Concept Laser and Arcam EBM, along with additive material provider AP&C.

The biggest of the new machines, the Arcam EBM Spectra L is designed for large titanium applications that can’t be achieved with a laser. The system offers the largest build envelope (Ø350 x 430mm) of Arcam EBM systems. That’s approximately double the build volume of the Arcam EBM Spectra H, and 13% larger than the Arcam EBM Q20plus, the company says.

The Spectra L also increases build speed by 20% with a full height build speed is 4.5 hours faster than the Arcam EBM Q20plus. Expected at the end of Q1 2020, the Spectra L supports grade 5 Ti6Al4V and grade 23 Ti6Al4V with support for pure copper planned for 2020.

The Spectra L is also compatible with the Arcam EBM PRS 30, an automated powder retrieval system that GE additive launched at formnext. The system features automated blasting, automatic cleaning of the blast chamber, exchangeable cyclone and tubes and a combined blasting and air cleaning nozzle, plus improved ergonomics and HMI, the company says.


In addition to the EBM Spectra L, GE Additive also unveiled the Concept Laser M2 Series 5, an update to the company’s M2 series designed for maximum performance, including optimized system speed, uptime, productivity and reliability, the company says.

Dual laser system features a doubling of build speed and laser on time and a larger build volume (350mm z-axis and 245mm x 245mm heated build area). The system also offers up to 20% finer feature resolution with small spot size of 70-500 microns possible. Other features include an upgraded gas flow system, in terms of a closed gas circuit with redundant oxygen monitoring, and new optical cooling that features 10+ internal sensors.

Beyond hardware, GE Additive Arcam released two development materials (D-material): Pure copper and highly-alloyed tool steel. A D-material meets the mechanical requirements for test bars on a limited build envelope, whereas a more mature industrialized material (I-material) maintains the same properties for complex geometries.

“This general release of D-material support for pure copper and tool steel is an exciting development and opens up EBM to wider range of industries and applications,” said Karl Lindblom, general manager, Arcam EBM. “We have opted to take an open, collaborative approach and will review feedback from customer using the D-material, and gauge their long-term interest, before considering how we approach industrializing the materials.”

EBM technology is unique suited to 3D print electrically pure copper, in that part creation eliminates process steps like soldering, joining or bending, while maintaining optimal conductivity and component lifetime. In addition, pure copper absorbs 80% of electron beam energy, compared to only 2% of red laser beam energy, while EBM’s vacuum environment minimizes the oxygen pick-up in copper.

EBM technology can process and achieve the design complexity with high crack-prone alloys, like high carbon steel, due to its high build temperature. The EBM’s vacuum environment is also suited for material protection and mitigates the introduction of impurities.

Lastely, GE Additive also launched its Arcam EBM Build Performance Analyzer software – a suite of machine health data analytics. The software analyzes data collected during the printing process from in-situ machine sensors to provide users with an holistic view of process and machine health. Running either on the machine or a laptop, the software can discover 32 root cause problems and recommend corrective actions.

The software will be released from December 2019 to Arcam EBM Q10 and Q10plus customers and then from Q1 2020 to Arcam EBM Q20 and Arcam EBM Q20plus customers and then to Arcam EBM Spectra customers through Q2 and Q3 2020.


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