GE Additive Unveils Arcam EBM Spectra L Printer at Formnext

Company also announces new Concept Laser M2 Series 5, powder recovery station, support for new materials.

Company also announces new Concept Laser M2 Series 5, powder recovery station, support for new materials.

At formnext, GE Additive unveiled its new Arcam EBM Spectra L printer, as well as a new automated powder recovery station and additional material support. Image courtesy of GE Additive.

At the formnext conference in Germany this week, GE Additive made a number of new product announcements. The company unveiled its Arcam EBM Spectra L, along with the Concept Laser M2 Series 5 printer, a new powder recovery station, support for new materials, and a build performance analyzer solution.

The Arcam EBM Spectra L can provide higher productivity for aerospace and other applications, along with a larger build volume, faster speeds, and other new features. The printer should be available at the end of Q1 2020. Spectra L supports grade 5 Ti6Al4V, grade 23 Ti6Al4V and is well-suited for large titanium applications that cannot be achieved with laser, according to the company. Support for pure copper is planned for 2020.

The printer was developed to reduce cost by increasing productivity. Gains in build volume and build speed reduce cost per part by 10% thanks to a larger build volume (almost double the build volume of the Arcam EBM Spectra H, and 13% larger than the Arcam EBM Q20plus). The Spectra L features 4.5 kW beam power which increases build speed by 20%, compared to the Arcam EBM Q20plus. And with system improvements to powder layering and heat model control improvements, the Spectra L completes a full height build 4.5 hours faster than the Arcam EBM Q20plus.

The Spectra L provides a more consistent and accurate beam with improved auto beam calibration. This results in more consistent material properties for thin and bulky geometries.

The unit is compatible with the Arcam EBM PRS 30, a new automated powder retrieval system – also launched at formnext – that is suited to serial additive production environments and provides safe, efficient powder handling for operators. It also features a  standardized Internet of Things (IoT) interface, built on an OPC Unified Architecture, which the company says helps customers connecting multiple machines together to facilitate data analytics.

Advanced data analytics are also incorporated into the product. By combining data selected from sensors in the machine with intelligent algorithms, process and machine health analysis can be carried out, as well as reporting, root cause analysis and recommendations for corrective actions.

“The Spectra L is perfectly suited to those customers on the brink of, or those who have already begun to industrialize additive into their business,” said Karl Lindblom, general manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM.

“When we were developing the system feedback in particular from our aerospace industry customers centered on reliability, repeatability and automation, but increasingly - as they begin to scale their fleets of additive machines - also the need for process and machine health analytics and an integrated system architecture,” he added.

Automated Powder Recovery

The Arcam PRS 30 automated powder recovery station creates a closed system to contain powder exposure for operators. It features automated blasting, automatic cleaning of the blast chamber, a combined blasting/air cleaning nozzle, and improved visibility.

“Customers shifting to serial additive production increasingly look to us to take and integrated, system-wide approach, and that usually includes guidance on safe and efficient powder handling. We are able to respond quickly to customer demands with solutions such as the Arcam PRS-30, by relying both on extensive collective experience with powder manufacturing and handling, and expertise in industrial automation and EHS across GE Additive,” Lindblom said.

GE Additive announced development material support for pure copper and highly-allowed tool steel in 2020. Image courtesy of GE Additive.

In addition, GE Additive also announced the launch of its Arcam EBM Build Performance Analyzer, a machine health analytics system. Data is collected during the printing process from in-situ machine sensors, then analyzed using intelligent algorithms to provide users with a holistic view of process and machine health. The software can run on both the machine itself or on a user’s laptop.

In addition to a visual user interface, featuring health indicators such as expected versus actual values, operators can also receive 32 root-cause analyses with recommendations for any corrective actions, as well all warnings for non-critical events.

The Arcam Build Performance Analyzer identifies key parameter trend plotting and enhanced report generation and provides customers with meaningful, predictive data and information to inform decision making and future design and development.

The GE also announced development material (D-material) support for pure copper and highly-alloyed tool steel for the Arcam line next year. 

New Concept Laser M2

The company also released the new Concept Laser M2 Series 5 at formnext, which is also expected to be available in Q1 2020. The M2 Series 5 offers optimized system speed, uptime, productivity and reliability, part-to-part and machine-to-machine consistency, quality control, as well as process validation.

The new Concept Laser M2 Series 5 printer provides a larger build volume and faster print speeds. Image courtesy of GE Additive.

The printer features an upgraded gas flow system, improved part consistency across builds and machines, 2x increased build speed and laser on time, a larger build volume, and up to 20% finer feature resolution. 

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