ECN produces high quality metal products via additive manufacturing

Thursday November 12, 2015 08:35

Development and use of Additive Manufacturing enjoys strong growth. Additive Manufacturing is an alternative to traditional manufacturing technologies such as injection moulding and machining. Additive Manufacturing enables new applications. Products can be tailored to the requirements of individual consumers, such as contact lenses that are perfectly customized to the wearer’s eyes. Another example are very light but strong designs for the construction sector.

For metal products, Additive Manufacturing until now has resulted in products with rough surface finishes, internal stresses and a mediocre microstructure. ECN changes this situation with developments in Digital Light Processing and Selective Laser Melting technology.

For Selective Laser Melting, control over the energy applied to the material has been improved. This energy, delivered by a laser, is applied very locally. Improved control results in a better microstructure. The Digital Light Processing technology has been adapted for use with metals. This implies that very high resolutions can be achieved for Additive Manufacturing with metals.

It is now possible to produce metal shapes with a better microstructure and smoother surface finish than the current state of the art. ECN continues to refine the techniques.

ECN’s track record in powder metallurgy dates back many decades. Previously, ECN has developed ceramic and metal injection moulding. More recently, together with Formatec Ceramics an additive manufacturing process for ceramics based on Digital Light Processing technology has been successfully developed. Admatec Europe uses this process to deliver products to the market.

Want to know more about these development? Visit us on 18 and 19 November at the Precision Fair in Veldhoven, booth 131. Click here for free access.

Part produced by ECN in stainless steel (AISI136) using additive manufacturing. Insert: Photo taken by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

Category: Corporate, Engineering & materials