Linde unveils industrial gas solution to improve 3D printing of copper components

Proprietary gas atomization test bench for improved metal powder production open for business
Next-generation cold spraying solution will allow monitoring of process parameters for the first time
Hot Gases technology for finer powders to be exhibited via augmented reality

Linde will be showcasing several ground-breaking gas technologies at this year’s Formnext (Frankfurt, 7th-10th November), including its latest bespoke gas solution ADDVance® Laser230 which will optimize the printing of copper; its unique powder atomization test laboratory and next-generation cold spraying gas supply solution.

ADDvance® Laser230
Copper’s primary characteristic as a superior heat conductor has long been recognised by the aerospace industry and has made it a critical material for rocket applications. With the advancement of additive manufacturing, copper can now be used for certain engine components with highly specialised geometries which were previously not possible to create. However, copper faces challenges in relation to the additive manufacturing process due to its reflective properties. The copper acts like a mirror to the laser so that a considerable amount of power is reflected and not used to melt the metal. A higher laser intensity is therefore needed but this can risk overheating of the part and oxidation issues.

Using its bespoke gas mixture ADDvance Laser230, along with its unique oxygen control system, ADDvance O2 precision, Linde is collaborating with Ariane to test a highly precise additive manufacturing process to deliver consistent, high quality printed copper components. In a previous announcement, Linde confirmed it is cooperating with Ariane in a research project to improve 3D printing of copper components for future heavy lift space rockets.

“We are particularly proud this year to be showcasing some of our most technologically advanced gas solutions supporting industries at the forefront of manufacturing,” said Pierre Forêt, Associate Director, Additive Manufacturing, Linde. “Linde has long been a pioneer innovating to optimize additive manufacturing processes. The solutions on our stand this year demonstrate our expertise and ability to not only keep pace with the most forward thinking industries but to support all our customers in improving their processes.”

Atomization test bench
Linde’s recent launch of its test bench laboratory has seen several leading powder manufacturers demonstrating interest in collaborating with Linde to participate in what is the industry’s latest high-tech testing of powder production gas parameters. Metal powder atomization is a highly complex process where both the development of nozzle design and gas parameters take time and resources. But in what is essentially “real world” conditions, Linde’s test bench will enable dramatically improved results.

With specially adapted windows, lighting, high-speed cameras and schlieren imaging[1] allowing for surveillance and data capture of each change of gas parameter, the test bench does not rely on the introduction of molten metal, but instead provides the gas structure of the atomization under certain conditions. The different parameters to be assessed include gas type, volume of gas, pressure and temperature, with the atomizer able to rapidly switch over to analyze hundreds of combinations within minutes.

Hot Gases Atomization
On the stand, Linde will also be hosting a demonstration of the Hot Gas system technology via a virtual 3D object. When producing metal powders, high volumes of gas need to be injected at high pressures through a nozzle. By using a heater to increase the temperature of the gas to several hundred degrees, the gas can move at faster speeds through the nozzle, enabling finer powders to be created. The gas heater can be retro-fitted and Linde offers a turnkey solution including heater, control panel and gas supply.

LINSPRAY® Connect
Linde will also be highlighting its next-generation cold spraying gas supply solution, LINSPRAY® Connect, which significantly enhances the reliability and safety of the cold spraying process. The advanced supply solution was developed in collaboration with German cold spraying technology leader, Impact Innovations.

Its sophisticated design ensures not only the delivery of a reliable, stable and high-quality gas flow with minimal variation, it also enables the customer, for the first time, to monitor process parameters including pressure, temperature and filling levels of the nitrogen tank. It automatically sends error messages in real time and can switch to an emergency gas supply or activate a safe shut-down of the system in case of incidents. Production volume can easily be increased or decreased as required.

ADDvance® Sinter250
A gas enabled solution for binder jetting, ADDvance Sinter250 optimizes sintering atmospheres to avoid oxidation in metal fused deposition modeling (FDM). Linde has developed a range of highly tailored gases – from pure argon and hydrogen to special argon/hydrogen gas mixtures for advanced atmosphere control. ADDvance® Sinter250 is ideal for ensuring the integrity and strength of parts printed from stainless steel powders.
www.linde.com

 


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