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New Powder-Bed-Fusion Process Said to Hold Advantages Over Laser, EB

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
 


NeuBeam is described as a “hot-part rather than a hot-bed process,” according to Will Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Wayland Additive. “This efficiently creates parts that are free of residual stresses because the high temperatures are only applied to the part and not the bed, ensuring free-flowing powder post-build (no sinter cake) and stress-free parts with reduced energy consumption.”

The NeuBeam process reportedly overcomes electron-beam limitations for manufacturing large, complex metal components, according to Wayland Additive officials. Stated NeuBeam benefits include no residual thermal stresses, no gas cross-flow and a much simplified powder-removal process. NeuBeam also offers built-in, real-time in-process monitoring.
A U.K. company claims to have developed an entirely new powder-bed-fusion (PBF) process for metal additive manufacturing (AM) that minimizes existing speed and precision limitations associated with laser and EB PBF, respectively. Wayland Additive’s NeuBeam, touted as a third PBF technology even though it employs an EB, reportedly neutralizes the charge accumulation generated by that beam.

“This offers greater flexibility than laser PBF while overcoming the stability issues of (traditional) EB PBF,” says Will Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Wayland Additive. “Both of these things mean that the NeuBeam process enables metallurgical requirements to be tailored to application requirements rather than to maintain the print process within the narrow bounds permitted by the process. These process capabilities, along with the greatly improved ease of process development, also opens up the use of a much wider range of metal materials.”

Despite a couple of commonalities between EBM and NeuBeam, namely that both are PBF processes employing an EB as the heat source to melt the metal powder, the two are fundamentally different, according to Richardson.

“Unlike the traditional EB PBF process, the charging issues that make EBM so unstable have been fully neutralized with NeuBeam using core physics principles developed in the demanding semiconductor industry,” he says. “Moreover, NeuBeam is a hot-part rather than a hot-bed process. This efficiently creates parts that are free of residual stresses because the high temperatures are only applied to the part and not the bed, ensuring free-flowing powder post-build (no sinter cake) and stress-free parts with reduced energy consumption.”

The NeuBeam process reportedly overcomes many EB limitations for manufacturing large, complex metal components, namely no residual thermal stresses, no gas cross-flow and a much simplified powder-removal process. NeuBeam also offers built-in, real-time in-process monitoring, allowing for rapid material development or tuning of microstructures by adapting the solidification during manufacture. With NeuBeam, according to Wayland Additive officials, the process temperature is not constrained by sintering the powder bed, allowing the process temperature to be optimized to the material microstructure and/or the application. 

 

See also: Wayland Additive


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