Following the introduction of its PB EBM 30S last year, the pro-beam Group, Gilching, Germany, has disclosed further information about the Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-EB) Additive Manufacturing machine’s key features.
Dr Thorsten Löwer, Managing Director of the pro-beam Group, stated, “With the PB EBM 30S, we have developed a highly innovative and extremely efficient system for our customers. We knew from the very early development stages on, that these innovations would enhance the Additive Manufacturing market and significantly advance serial production.”
The PB EBM 30S is characterised by its suitability for industrial manufacturing, achieved by carrying out production steps, such as setup, evacuation, building and cooling, in parallel processes. This parallel production led to the company developing ‘BuildUnits’. These pass through the different process areas of the PB EBM 30S as separate modules; up to three can be used in the machine simultaneously.
The optimised usage of the build chamber in combination with the minimal auxiliary process times increase the productivity of the machine by a reported 100% compared to other systems which do not feature similar modules.
BuildUnits are currently available in two different sizes: 160 x 160 x 400 mm and 300 x 300 x 400 mm, allowing the system to be used more flexibly, and processes can be designed more efficiently. The customer can use the smaller space, for example, for material qualification and the larger one for production. The suitable build space size can be selected, and powder use can be reduced depending on the size and number of components to be produced.
The powder required for a process is fed into the build chamber with the BuildUnit, then transported out of the system after processing along with the remaining powder. Since the metal powder is linked to the BuildUnit and not to the machine, the powder types may vary from build job to build job along with the build space. Furthermore, the BuildUnit enables good spatial and personnel separation for pre- and post-processes, such as unit filling and depowdering. This enables the PB EBM 30S to be integrated into existing machine parks.
Another addition from pro-beam is the spot strategy RainTec, which uses controlled heat input that can be adjusted to requirements. Individual spots are melted in a stochastically distributed manner, so that the entire/desired surface is only created in the late phase of the melting process. This is said to prevent warping while achieving homogeneous material properties. In addition, RainTec leads to a significantly improved surface quality of components. Users benefit from a wide range of applications for their manufacturing parameters, regardless of component size.
The PB EBM 30S machine operates under vacuum in an inert atmosphere. This minimises component contamination with oxygen, which, for example, leads to cleaner workpieces and improved product properties. Due to the electron beam technology developed by pro-beam with an acceleration voltage of up to 150 kilovolts, the electrostatic charge of the powder bed is lower, which leads to higher process stability. At the same time, the powder is heated isochorically through the electron beam process, which is said to have a positive effect on the quality of both the process and the component.