Metal Additive ManufacturingMetalsProduct Launch

Colibrium Additive presents Spectra M EBM solution and more at RAPID+TCT

Software upgrades, LPBF materials and commercial availability of Binder Jet are also announced

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Colibrium Additive, the GE Aerospace company formerly known as GE Additive, has much on show at RAPID+TCT this week. Like many others the company has taken the event as an opportunity to release new products, software upgrades, materials and more. Chief among these releases is the new Spectra M system, an electron beam melting (EBM) solution that offers a more compact build envelope to meet the requirements of end users like medical and orthopedic implant manufacturers. In addition to the new system, Colibrium has also announced the commercial availability of its Binder Jet solution, a new coarse Ti64 powder for LPBF platforms and the release of EBMControl 6.4 software, which features significant improvements for the EBM printing process.

Expanding the Spectra EBM series

Those looking to capitalize on Colibrium’s EBM technology but don’t require the large build volume of the Spectra L (350 x 430 mm) will be eager to learn of the company’s new Spectra M solution. The EBM platform, which is available for order and is expected to deliver in Q1 2025, has a build capacity of 270 x 430 mm. This size of machine was developed to meet the notable interest from manufacturers—particularly implant manufacturers looking to minimize cost per part.

Oscar Angervall, senior product manager at Colibrium Additive, said of the new system: “Having the largest installed base of highly experienced, long-standing users provides invaluable insight and help is constantly evolving our portfolio to provide EB-PBF technologies that fulfil their specific requirements as they continue to scale their additive manufacturing operations. Spectra M is in direct response to constant dialogue with our customers, particularly those additive super users in the orthopedic implant industry.”

Colibrium Additive Spectra M RAPID+TCT

The new system, which is currently compatible with Ti6Al4V Grades 5 and 23, is equipped with the latest version of Colibrium’s EBM software, EBMControl 6.4.

What EBMControl 6.4 brings to the table

The software solution, which was also debuted at RAPID+TCT this week, features a number of upgraded features designed to improve the EBM process, including Point Melt, Powder Supports and Plate Free.

The Point Melt feature allows Colibrium’s EBM machines to melt powder using small points rather than lines. This both encourages more accurate temperatures and minimizes temperature gradients throughout the print process for superior isotropic properties, yield strength and orientation freedom. Colibrium states that parts made using this new approach have a surface roughness comparable to that of LPBF parts. “Controlled with adaptive software algorithms, Point Melt marks a step change in melt strategy. Metal parts can benefit from a reduction of support needed to build overhangs and an improved surface quality,” said Angervall.

The second capability, Powder Supports, is designed to minimize post-processing costs for EBM parts by reducing the need for supports. While Point Melt itself minimizes the need for supports, Powder Supports can be used with line melting to ensure the dimensional accuracy of the process. “For the aerospace and medical industries, we can now print smaller parts, such as a femoral knee implant, fully without traditional supports, which reduces post-processing cost and time,” Angervall added. “For some components this application will drastically improve the business case for customers.”

Last but not least, Plate Free is a new alternative to Start Plate Healing, which makes starting a build more efficient in terms of cost and intervention. If users opt to use the Plate Free start, powder is sintered gradually to “a point where parts can be built on top”. According to Colibrium, this offers a number of benefits, including shorter machine turnaround times, less manual intervention, reduced contamination risk and longer lasting cathode, the ability to initiate several builds per machine turnaround and eliminating the need for an expensive consumable.

EBMControl 6.4 is now available for customers using Spectra L systems as well as those who will adopt the new Spectra M machine.

Validated coarse Ti64 solution

Working in cooperation with AP&C, Colibrium Additive has validated parameters for processing coarse Ti64 powder on its laser powder bed fusion systems. The powder, which shares the same quality as AP&C’s finer powder products despite its larger grain size, boasts a lower cost per part.

Colibrium Additive AP&C coarse titanium

Ti64 (also known as Ti6Al4V) is a widely used material in the production of orthopedic implants, as well as aerospace components, high-performance bicycle parts and more. The ability to print a coarser particle grain using validated LPBF process parameters, will reduce the costs associated with 3D printing titanium alloy. Notably, coarse Ti64 is also safer to use than finer powders because it is less reactive. This means that steps like powder storage and handling could be simplified. The coarse powder is also easier to recycle than its finer counterparts.

“Coarse powders have a higher potential for reusability compared to finer powders,” explained Javier Arreguin, Product Manager of metal powders at AP&C. “Titanium powders are typically limited in their reusability due to the oxygen pickup after multiple builds. Coarser particles pick up less oxygen because they have a smaller active surface (aspect ratio between surface area and volume) compared to finer particles.”

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