Feb 4, 2016 | By Kira
BeAM (which stands for ‘Be Additive Manufacturing’) is a French 3D printing startup that develops and manufactures a range of industrial metal 3D printers, high-level laser nozzles, and dedicated Delcam-based software for the additive manufacturing of high-demand metal parts. Thanks to the innovative LMD (Laser Metal Deposition) technology behind its machines, BeAM’s metal 3D printing services have been widely utilized by the French aerospace and aircraft industries, specifically for the repair or modification of existing aerospace parts at the world’s highest level of additive manufacturing qualification.
BeAM’s industrial metal 3D printers—which can come with price tags of up to €1.5 million per machine—utilize LMD technology. Unlike SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), whereby metal powder on the printing bed is sintered by a laser into a solid, 3D object, with LMD, metal powder is injected directly into the nozzle, allowing for a layer-by-layer metal deposition directly from CAD files.
While SLS 3D printed objects can be more complex, LMD 3D printing offers marked advantages. Not only can it be used for direct manufacturing, which allows for new shape and material possibilities, time and material saves, and end-use parts with good material properties, but the technology also allows the deposition of new metal onto existing parts, meaning it can be used to add new functions, or to repair worn down yet critical components.
This, combined with BeAM’s qualification to repair aeronautical repairs at the world’s highest level of additive manufacturing qualification, has made the French startup a tremendous boon to the aerospace and aircraft industries, where manufacturing new parts from scratch using traditional manufacturing methods can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.
“Our technology makes impossible repairs possible,” said Emmual Laubriat, president and founder of BeAM. “In addition, it allows repair work to be done easier, which means no hyper specialists are needed who are very limited in number.”
Thanks to its technology, BeAM machines have already repaired critical turbine parts that previously could not have been modified. In 2015 alone, more than 800 aerospace parts from an American company were repaired using LMD 3D printing technology, and then returned to flight.
“The development of these new types of repairs has been established with an international partner dedicated to aeronautical maintenance. Our partner organized the qualification of several parts that allowed drastic savings in terms of maintenance and supply chain costs. The lifecycle of these parts is now 6 times longer than it was in the past. From 10.000 hours in flight, the part can now be used for about 60.000 hours,” said the company.
Though it was founded in 2012, BeAM is actually the spin-off of industrial laser processes and materials R&D Company Irepa Laser, and its technology is thus the result of more than 15 years of research and development. The company also boasts a unique ecosystem of partners (who are often also its customers). These include aerospace company Safran, Avantis Engineering, and Fives Machining, a spin-off of Fives Group that provides to BeAM its expertise in the machines’ development, manufacturing, and international sale.
Currently, BeAM offers two ranges of its LMD industrial 3D printing machines: the Mobile, was optimized for the direct manufacturing and repair of thin and complex parts; and the Magic 2.0, which was developed for the state-of-the-art industries which need specific working areas for direct 3D manufacturing to repair large metallic parts in five continuous axes.
“Using the BeAM CAD software and our dedicated range of nozzles, this ergonomic range of machines allows the direct manufacturing of complex parts in many different alloys, the adding of functions on existing parts and also repairs of critical parts that were impossible to repair up to now,” said the company.
So far, BeAM has already sold three of its industrial metal 3D printing machines: one to Safran, and two to Chromalloy, which provides manufacturing and repair services for gas turbine engine manufacturers and operators. BeAM’s next steps will be to move into the defense, nuclear, oil and gas sectors, as well as to launch an important financing round.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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Benoit Dupond14 wrote at 2/5/2016 1:12:14 PM:
Les fabricants français d'imprimantes 3D sont rares... pour le moment il n'y a que Prodways et le Beam, Phenix Systems ayant été racheté par 3D Systems.