AddUp and ECM Group Team Up for Heat Treatment Solutions

The development program to focus on the post-processing of 3D printed metal parts.

The development program to focus on the post-processing of 3D printed metal parts.

ECM’s Turquoise furnace. Image courtesy of ECM Group.

AddUp, a company in the field of metal additive manufacturing, and the ECM Group, provider of thermal solutions, have signed a partnership to develop value-added solutions for the heat treatment of 3D printed metal parts.

AddUp’s expertise lies in two additive technologies: Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) and Directed Energy Deposition (DED). AddUp is also a producer of additively manufactured, industrial metal parts.

The ECM Group is a French heat treatment equipment manufacturer. The ECM Group provides vacuum furnace expertise to the heat treatment production needs of advanced industries such as medical, aeronautics, e-mobility and renewable energies. With experience in the control of atmospheres, gases, and thermal applications, the ECM Group is a partner for AddUp to meet the requirements of the mentioned sectors.

“At ECM, we are convinced of the potential of metal additive manufacturing, some applications of which will lead to mass production,” says Yvan Trouillot, sales director for ECM. “Our alliance with the French company, AddUp, a key player in this market, will allow us to bring our know-how for the development of innovative thermal solutions to this market, as we have been doing for more than 20 years in the international market of thermal treatment of conventional parts.”

During printing, the speed at which the laser moves creates a rapid heating and cooling of the material. This often creates constraints inside the produced-parts. To improve the homogeneity of the material, and reduce its internal stresses to obtain the right mechanical properties, it is often necessary to apply one or more heat treatment cycle to the metal parts, post-printing.

“Heat treatment operations are just as important as the 3D printing phase itself, both to reduce the internal stresses generated during the 'lasering' phase and to adapt the microstructure of the material and its properties,” says Jean Rivoire, parts production manager at AddUp. “This is why, within AddUp, we are seeking to strengthen this expertise with one of the market leaders; both to reinforce our internal production capacities and to offer a complete solution to our customers wishing to integrate the production of parts made in 3D metal.”

The ECM Group and AddUp will create and develop solutions that will help current and prospective customers reduce their manufacturing costs and lead times, while improving the performance of their parts produced using additive technology.

The two groups will work jointly on a development program to define the appropriate specifications for a heat treatment solution adapted to additive manufacturing applications. Next, the ECM Group will design and industrialize a suitable vacuum furnace system according to the specifications defined during this joint development program.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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