AM giant GE Additive has introduced the Arcam EBM Spectra H metal additive manufacturing system for the first time at RAPID + TCT 2018. The new system, now available for pre-order, is built for processing and printing typically challenging metal materials such as titanium aluminide (TiAl). The Arcam EBM Spectra H marks the first system put out by Sweden-based Arcam since it was acquired by GE in 2016.
GE Additive’s latest electron beam melting (EBM) release is bound to create some buzz in the AM industry as it integrates a range of improvements that enable it to process high heat and crack prone materials. The Arcam EBM Spectra H is also said to deliver up to 50% faster build speeds and a 39% larger build volume compared to EBM systems currently on the market.
“This new system shows our commitment to developing industry-leading additive machines, materials, and services. We remain focused on accelerating innovation across sectors and helping the world work smarter, faster and more efficiently,”
Jason Oliver, president and CEO of GE Additive.
Looking at its material processing capabilities, the new metal additive manufacturing system supports titanium aluminide (TiAl), a lightweight metal with applications in aircraft manufacturing known for its oxidization resistance and heat resistance, as well as high-strength Nickel Alloy 718. In 2019, GE Additive also plans to add support for additional Ni-super alloys. Materials scientists at GE Additive are also reportedly investigating the use of other high heat materials, such as nickel superalloys, tungsten, CoCr, stainless steel and metal matrix composites, for the EBM platform.
In offering support for materials that are usually challenging to print—because of high heat requirements and risk of cracking—GE Additive is aiming to give manufacturers the means to achieve serial and industrial production with its EBM technology. Of course, materials aren’t the only factors that come into play with the Arcam EBM Spectra H, as GE Additive and its Arcam team have also introduced a slew of new features to the EBM printer than increase productivity while cutting down on overall costs.
By equipping the EBM Spectra H with a 6kW HV-unit, GE Additive has managed to reduce pre- and post-heating steps by 50% compared to EBM machines currently on the market. Along with theme improvements, enhanced heat management (thanks to a moveable heat shield that confines the heat inside the build space) and an upgraded layering process that lessens the heating requirement (and allows manufacturers to save up to five hours on a full height build), GE’s new EBM system promises overall build speeds up to 50% faster than other machines.
With a build size of Ø250 x 430 mm, the new Arcam EBM Spectra H also boasts a 39% larger build volume than the Arcam EBM A2X (200 x 200 x 380 mm). The increased build volume creates the opportunity to build larger metal parts or more components at once. For improved accuracy, the new 3D printer is also equipped with Arcam xQam™ automatic calibration technology. Having auto beam calibration not only improves the focus accuracy and position of the electron beam, but it also eliminates the need for time-consuming manual calibration.
Another feature of the new machine that GE Additive is keen to emphasize is its increased automation. The Arcam EBM Spectra H integrates an upgraded automated power handling process, an automated self-dosing sieve and automatic powder hoppers. A closed powder handling process also offers improvements such as less risk of material contamination, a dust-free environment and more protection for operators. Moreover, the EBM machine includes a dedicated process for removing unwanted particles consisting of a cyclone for low-density particles, a sieve for coarse particles and magnetic traps.
“It’s great to be able to show the Spectra H here at RAPID and get feedback from across the industry. We have created what we think is an amazing system that demonstrates how Arcam continues to push the possibilities of EBM technology. Spectra H is the result of really hard work by a cross-functional team from across the GE Additive family, supported by insights and feedback from a handful of internal and external customers,”
Karl Lindblom, general manager of Arcam EBM.
GE Additive’s new metal 3D printer will be manufactured at Arcam’s facility outside of Gothenburg, Sweden and first orders are expected to ship out starting Q4 2018.