Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, today announced they will be featuring their innovative ADDvance powder cabinet at formnext, the leading exhibition and conference showcasing the best of next-generation manufacturing technologies. Linde’s ADDvance powder cabinet has been designed to retain the quality of the valuable, sensitive metal powders used in additive manufacturing by protecting them from exposure to ambient air and humidity. The quality of metal powder has a fundamental impact on the microstructure and physical properties of the printed item, so they must be of a defined and consistent quality, meaning that correct storage and handling is vital.
“Linde has long been a pioneer in developing innovative gas technologies, delivering productivity and economic benefits across a wide range of industrial applications”, said Mr. Pierre Foret. “Our new ADDvance powder cabinet will optimize storage of high-value AM powders and mitigate wastage.” Linde Gases has been introducing several solutions that complement and optimize gas use throughout (before, during and after) the AM process, thus leading to improved automation and industrialization.
Metal powders are typically stored in containers or closed cabinets in the vicinity of the printer until needed. However, with each opening of the vessel, ambient air and humidity are allowed to enter, affecting the chemical and physical characteristics of the powder and causing it to age. This can result in degradation of the powder and increased porosity, ultimately reducing tensile strength, heat tolerance and impact and corrosion resistance. When stored in typical cabinets, metal powders can also react with the atmosphere within the cabinet itself. Even if the cabinet is purged, ambient air and humidity flow in each time the doors are opened resulting in contamination and degradation.
With the innovative ADDvance powder cabinet, Linde has developed an innovative solution to resolving this storage challenge. The powder cabinet works with a moisture control and monitoring unit to continuously measure humidity levels, triggering a high-volume purge gas flow as soon as the doors are closed to rapidly remove moisture in the air. It then applies a lower stream of gas to ensure a consistently low level of humidity.