Freemelt AB, Mölndal, Sweden, has been granted a patent in Japan for solutions contained in the company’s electron gun, the electron ejector used within the company’s Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-EB) machines. The patent concerns the cathode and is reportedly the first patent in the ‘Electron Gun Cathode Technology’ patent family.
“Japan has the potential to become an important market in 3D printing, based on electron beam technology,” stated Daniel Gidlund, Freemelt’s CEO. “It is a successful industrial nation in terms of innovation and technology transformation supported by advanced solutions, including electrification of the automotive industry, which is an important market for us. Furthermore, it is a confirmation of the strong innovation ability from our team, something that has impressed on me since I took the role as CEO in the company.”
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The patent-protected design enables the part of the cathode that ejects electrons to retain heat through advanced thermal insulation. The diode-type source and laser-heated cathode enable consistent beam spot quality throughout the entire beam power range from 0–6 kW. The Freemelt ONE machine thus allows users to operate the electron beam at very high beam currents while still maintaining a well-focused beam spot, essential to reach high build rates and temperatures.
Ulric Ljungblad, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Freemelt, added, “We have developed a solution completely focused on high productivity with high and accurate quality. One of the most important things that sets us apart from our competitors is our unique electron gun where we have full control over the manufacturing and design of our proprietary, and now patented, cathode technology.”
Parallel patent applications for this invention are also pending in Europe, North America and China. The patent number in Japan is 2021-576773 and extends to 2040.