May 20, 2016 | By Alec

It must be busy time over at the HQ of Arcam. The Swedish pioneers of Electron Beam Melting (EBM) 3D printing already offer a wide range of industrial 3D printers, and are aiming to further expand their services to the aerospace and medical industries. To that end, they have announced plans to open a new metal powder manufacturing plant in Montreal, Canada, while they have also unveiled two new 3D printers: The Arcam Q10plus, specifically designed for medical implants, and the Arcam Q20plus 3D printer, capable of producing key engine parts for aerospace applications.

These new developments are the logical result of the company’s significant growth over the last two years. Especially the demand for 3D printed titanium powders has skyrocketed over 2015 and 2016. To cope with that growing demand, Arcam already acquired Canadian metal powder developers AP&C in February 2014. Though Arcam’s headquarters is located in Mölndal, Sweden, the bulk of their powders (especially made from titanium and other high melting alloys) are therefore being developed in Montreal. The forthcoming facility, the company says, will provide them with the manufacturing redundancy and short-term capacity increase needed for long-term growth.

As the company’s CEO Magnus René revealed, AP&C’s titanium powders are absolutely crucial for their EBM 3D printing platforms. “The need for high end titanium powder is driven by the fast growth and adoption of Additive Manufacturing. Arcam is determined to serve the industry through cost efficient solutions thus converting traditional manufacturing into Additive Manufacturing. A requisite is to offer highest quality powder for production at competitive cost,” he said.

Their subsidiary AP&C, in turn, feels that this investment shows Arcam’s satisfaction with their products. “With this investment we are committing to supply our present and future customers with superior quality materials to meet the high manufacturing standards of the biomedical and aerospace industries. With the powder plant and atomizing technology advancements, AP&C will add significant capacity in 2017 and onwards,” said Alain Dupont, president of AP&C. Once the new facility opens, the company expects to produce at least 750 tons of metal powders per year.

Arcam Q10plus 3D printer.

Arcam’s two newest industrial 3D printers will doubtlessly become beneficiaries of that increased capacity. What’s more, both EBM 3D printers are specifically tuned to meet client demands. The Arcam Q10 plus (visible above), will replace their existing Arcam Q10 system, and has been designed for orthopedic implant production. Featuring a very large build area that easily accommodates most types of implants, the 3D printer has also been specifically designed for easy powder handing, fast turn-around times, and high volume production.

Arcam has further said that the Q10plus has been optimized for processing high volume press fit implants with advanced Tribecular Structures, as derived from the CT scans of individual patients. “The Arcam Q10plus has the latest generation electron beam (EB) gun, which improves productivity and resolution. It also includes Arcam LayerQam, a camera-based monitoring system for inline part quality verification,” they add.

But the Arcam Q20plus, the company’s largest and fastest 3D printer to date, is even more impressive and has been specifically designed to 3D print aerospace components of all sizes. “Arcam Q20plus is based on the Arcam Q10 technology platform, with the same electron beam (EB) gun for higher productivity and improved resolution, but with a larger build envelope (Ø350×380 mm),” the Swedish developers say.

Arcam Q20plus 3D printer.

Like the Arcam Q10plus, the Q20plus benefits from the Arcam LayerQam and easy powder handling and fast turn-around innovations, but is capable of a lot more. “The Arcam EBM process takes place in a vacuum and at elevated temperatures, resulting in stress relieved components with material properties better than cast and comparable to wrought material,” the company says. Compared to its Q20 predecessor, the Q20plus 3D printer is up to 15 percent more productive, which is made possible by all these new features, as well as through an optimized software platform and more efficient beam control technology.

Both 3D printing platforms have already received considerable attention from various industrial partners, and Arcam just revealed that the first Q20plus 3D printer has already been delivered to lightweight metals leader Alcoa in Austin, Texas. As Alcoa revealed, they will be using the Q20plus to meet the increasing demand for their complex, high-performance 3D printed aerospace components. Among others, engine components, aircraft frames and industrial gas turbine components are already on the agenda. “Arcam is proud to support Alcoa, an innovation leader in 3D printing for aerospace, with our cutting edge 3D printing technology,” Arcam CEO René said of the delivery.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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