Industrial gas company Linde Gases launched the ADDvance O2 precision, a measuring and analysis unit for metal 3D printing. The devices allows for analysing and controlling the level of oxygen and humidity within the printer chamber more precisely.
The unit was developed in response to a need identified by aerospace company Airbus Group Innovations, as the presence of too much oxygen or humidity can negatively impact the quality and performance of printed parts. The metal 3D printing process takes place in closed chambers filled with high purity inert gas such as argon or nitrogen. Impurities due to incomplete purging, small machine leakages and metal powder can influence the level of oxygen. These variations in the level of oxygen can result in differences in mechanical properties or chemical compositions of the parts printed, such as a decrease in fatigue resistance.
The ADDvance O2 precision can detect a level of oxygen of up to 10 parts per million within the print chamber. In order to ensure a constant level of oxygen during the printing process the gas atmosphere can be modified by adjusting the level of argon or nitrogen.
The Linde Group has recently opened an industrial gases laboratory for additive manufacturing near Munich in Germany. There research on the effect of different atmospheric gases and gas mixtures on a variety of metal powders used for 3D printing is being performed in order to optimise the manufacturing processes, as reproducibility of parts is key in industries such as aerospace and automotive. With further research going into it, ADDvance O2 precision is ideal to improve the reproducibility of parts.
“Linde has always played a leading role in developing new technologies for our customers in order to improve the efficiency of their production processes and quality of output,” said Pierre Forêt, responsible for additive manufacturing R&D at Linde. “That Airbus Group Innovations selected Linde to work with them to overcome such a challenge in the pioneering area of additive manufacturing is testament to Linde’s technical competence and innovative spirit.”
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