Optomec develops pure copper DED Additive Manufacturing process

November 25, 2019

November 25, 2019

Optomec develops pure copper DED Additive Manufacturing process

A pure copper fin feature added to a copper tube using Directed Energy Deposition (Courtesy Optomec)


Optomec, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, has announced the development of a pure copper Additive Manufacturing process using its LENS Directed Energy Deposition (DED) systems.

According to the company, establishing a DED process for pure copper is especially important for designers of heat exchangers used in a variety of industrial applications in fields such as aerospace and chemical processing. This copper process is also applicable to alloys of copper such as bronze, brass and cupronickel.

“Pure copper is a big challenge for DED systems because of its high reflectance,” stated Tom Cobbs, Product Manager for Optomec LENS systems. “The infrared wavelengths on most standard, laser-based AM systems are not readily absorbed by copper, making it difficult to establish a meltpool as the laser energy is reflected back into the source, causing all kinds of havoc.”

“Our laser-based solution is virtually immune to any back reflection, so the laser can operate at full power on reflective surfaces without any difficulty,” Cobbs continued. “Optomec engineers have developed process parameters to account for thermal conductivity differences as well as big changes in absorption, and have demonstrated efficient DED builds with pure copper.”

“We see this as a major milestone for LENS and DED Additive Manufacturing – because working with copper is essential for many of our customers. Copper is so critical because it enables the addition of high thermally-conductive features like cooling fins, the addition of soft metal sealing surfaces and high electrically-conductive surfaces for power transmission.”


November 25, 2019

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