On the first day of Formnext, GE Additive gave to the industry… a lot! We’ve broken down the announcements by GE Additive, looking first at its new Arcam product releases, including the new Spectra L 3D printer with improved productivity, an automated powder recovery station and a new software suite for printing analytics and machine health.
This morning at Formnext, GE Additive unveiled the new Arcam EBM Spectra L system, which offers a larger build volume than existing Spectra systems as well as faster print speeds. According to the company, the improved system enables users to reduce cost per part by 10%.
With a build envelope of Ø350x430mm, the Spectra L has a build volume nearly double the size of the Spectra H and 13% larger than the Arcam EBM Q20plus. Added to that is a 4.5 kW beam power that allows for print speeds up to 20% higher than the Q20plus. Other improvements include better powder layering and heat model control, both of which enable the Spectra L to complete a full height build 4.5 hours faster than the Arcam EBM Q20plus.
The new Spectra L also comes with a fully integrated system architecture, with enhanced powder handling, beam diagnostics and calibration and increased automation. The 3D printer is compatible with the new Arcam EBM PRS 30 automated powder retrieval system (also launched at Formnext today), and comes with a standardized IoT interface built on an OPC Unified Architecture. The latter feature enables users to connect multiple machines and collect vital data analytics.
On that front, the system also has advanced data analytics incorporated into it, leveraging data collected by sensors in the machine and intelligent algorithms to provide process and machine health reports.
“The Spectra L is perfectly suited to those customers on the bring of, or those who have already begun to industrialize additive into their business,” said Karl Lindblom, General manager of GE Additive Arcam EBM. “When we were developing the system feedback in particular from our aerospace industry customers centered on reliability, repeatability and automation, but increasingly—as they begin to scale their fleets of additive machines—also the need for process and machine health analytics and an integrated system architecture.”
The Arcam EBM Spectra L 3D printer is now available for order with delivery expected by the end of Q1 2020. The machine, which is being manufactured at GE Additive’s Arcam EBM facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, supports grade 5 Ti6Al4V, grade 23 Ti6Al4V. Support for copper is in the works.
To accompany the launch of the Arcam EBM Spectra L, GE Additive has introduced a new automated powder recovery station: Arcam PRS 30. The closed system offers a safer means to work with metal powders, reducing the risk of exposure for machine operators.
The new powder handling system integrates a number of new or improved features, including automated blasting and self-diagnostics for increased automation; easier cleaning thanks to automatic blast chamber cleaning, exchangeable cyclone and tubes and a combined blasting and air cleaning nozzle; as well as improved ergonomics with an updated human-machine interface and a larger window and work light for improved visibility.
“Customers shifting to serial additive production increasingly look to us to take and integrated, system-wide approach, and that usually includes guidance on safe and efficient powder handling,” said Karl Lindblom, general manager, Arcam EBM. “We are able to respond quickly to customer demands with solutions such as the Arcam PRS 30, by relying both on extensive collective experience with powder manufacturing and handling, and expertise in industrial automation and EHS across GE Additive.”
Like the Arcam EBM Spectra L, the Arcam PRS 30 system will be manufactured at GE Additive’s facility in Gothenburg, Sweden. Orders are now being taken for the system and delivery is expected for Q2 2020.
Rounding out its new releases under the Arcam product family, GE Additive is launching Arcam EBM Build Performance Analyzer, a new suite of machine health data analytics. The software suite will first be released next month for Arcam EBM Q10 and Q10plus customers. In Q1 2020, Arcam EBM Q20 and Q20plus customers will gain access, while Arcam EBM Spectra customers can expect releases in Q2 and Q3 2020.
The new software suite was developed jointly by Arcam’s software team in Sweden and a team from GE Global Research Center in India. In short, the new Build Performance Analyzer gathers data from in-situ machine sensors and then analyzes it using intelligent algorithms to deliver a holistic view of process and machine health.
The software, which can be run on the 3D printer as well as on the user’s laptop, also provides 32 root cause analyses with recommendations for corrective actions. Users will also be alerted about non-critical events and will benefit from a more visual user interface.
“Being able to access and then make decisions based on real-time data analysis is another way we put our users in control of their systems,” said Lindblom. “Whether they operate a single machine or entire fleets of our systems, the ability to receive, interpret and use data smartly can save both time and cost.”
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