BeAM, Strasbourg, France, has signed a research and development agreement with Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. The research partnership will focus on powder-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technologies for metal Additive Manufacturing, and aims at jointly developing the technology for high-precision DED machines.
The agreement comes after Empa’s acquisition of a BeAM DED machine earlier this year, to be used in the integration and testing of new components. The machine is located at the Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun, Switzerland, where it is in use by Patrick Hoffmann and his research team specialising in laser processing, Powder Metallurgy and process monitoring.
DED enables components to be manufactured more quickly than is possible using traditional Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) methods of Additive Manufacturing, and also has unique potential in that it allows different metal powders to be fed simultaneously into the build process and fused to form functionally graded materials. It also makes possible the production of ‘sandwich structures’, where the core of a part is produced in a different material to the outer layer.
“We are very excited to collaborate with BeAM’s engineers to push the boundaries of this innovative Additive Manufacturing technology and to develop a whole new range of applications for Swiss industries and beyond,” stated Hoffman. Vincent Gillet, BeAM CEO, added, “We are very proud that Empa joins our network of partners to help us enhance our lead in DED technology.”