Sep 20, 2016 | By Tess

Industrial gas supplier Linde Gases, a division of German multinational The Linde Group, has just launched its latest product geared towards advancing additive manufacturing: the ADDvance O2. According to the company, the new technology is the first-of-its-kind measuring and analysis unit designed to monitor and maintain oxygen (O2) and humidity levels within print chambers.

Industrial gases such as oxygen, argon, and nitrogen and factors like humidity have large roles to play in most metal 3D printing processes, notably Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) and Laser Metal Fusion (LMF). That is, not only are gases used in the production of the fine metal powders necessary for additive manufacturing, but within the print chamber, gases must be controlled and maintained in order to have a successful and optimal print.

Changes within oxygen levels in the print chamber, often caused by insufficient purging, small machine leakages, and impurities in the metal powder material, can not only have an adverse effect on the mechanical properties of the printed part, but can actually result in a different chemical composition in the part, which as one can imagine, wants to be avoided as much as possible.

Fortunately, the new ADDvance O2 was developed specifically for the purpose of monitoring and controlling oxygen levels within the print chamber and is reportedly capable of detecting O2 levels down to 10 parts per million (ppm). If oxygen levels change during the print, the machine can also reestablish them by adjusting the argon and nitrogen levels within the chamber.

Interestingly, Linde Gases took on the project of developing the ADDvance O2 after they were approached by aerospace giant Airbus Group Innovations, who as we know have made big strides in adopting and advancing industrial 3D printing within the aerospace sector. According to a press release, Airbus was seeking a way to better control and analyze the gas and humidity levels during its prints to ensure the best result possible.

As Pierre Forêt, the man in charge of additive manufacturing R&D at Linde Gases, explains: “That Airbus selected Linde to work with them to overcome such a challenge in the pioneering area of additive manufacturing is testament to Linde’s technical competence and innovation spirit.”

It seems that Linde Gases will be continuing its research within the field of additive manufacturing as well, as it recently opened a laboratory aimed specifically at advancing industrial gases for additive manufacturing outside Munich, Germany. There, a team will be dedicated to researching the various effects of atmospheric gases and mixtures on different 3D printing metal powders.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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