Freemelt introduces ProHeat for pre-heating in PBF-EB AM machines

October 6, 2020

Observing hot processing in the Freemelt ONE machine (Freemelt AB)

Freemelt AB, Mölndal, Sweden, a developer of Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-EB) Additive Manufacturing technologies, has introduced a new solution to enable preheating of the powder bed in PBF-EB AM machines, called ProHeat.

According to the company, ProHeat is based on heating by electromagnetic radiation from a heating device positioned over the powder bed. The radiation sinters each powder layer smoothly, with zero risk of powder charging or so-called smoke events. It is said to provide a number of benefits over existing PBF-EB preheating solutions. Benefits include:

  • Fast and efficient heating, preserving all unique advantages of a hot and stress-relieved AM process
  • Preheating without interaction with electrons – eliminating charging of the powder
  • Highest vacuum purity and optimum beam quality maintained at all times
  • Zero consumption of costly, high-purity inert gas (helium or argon)
  • Uniform sintering of the powder bed, resulting in smoother melting and less spatter

ProHeat is currently under development and is expected to be implemented in future versions of Freemelt’s Additive Manufacturing machines. It will be presented at the 3rd International Conference on Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM 2020), set to take place virtually on October 5–7.

“We are very optimistic about this innovation,” stated Ulric Ljungblad, CEO at Freemelt. “ProHeat is an enabler for robust, efficient processing and expands the potential of E-PBF to new classes of materials that are difficult or even impossible to process in E-PBF systems as of today.”

Ulf Ackelid, senior scientist at Freemelt, commented, “ProHeat makes it possible to heat and sinter the powder bed in a gentle and uniform manner, without exposing it to electric charge. This makes it much easier and more efficient to build parts from fine powders and

from powders of poor conductivity.”

Ackelid added, “ProHeat will speed up development of new E-PBF materials since it eliminates the time-consuming optimisation of preheating parameters.”

To learn more about Freemelt’s PBF-EB technology, read the article‘Freemelt AB: Open source technology to explore the potential of Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion’, in the Summer 2020 issue of Metal AM magazine. The article is available to read in full here.

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