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Metal 3D printer manufacturer AddUp and heat treatment equipment manufacturer ECM Group join forces to develop thermal treatment solutions dedicated to metal 3D printed parts. As a manufacturer of L-PBF and Directed Energy Deposition (DED) machines, and a parts producer AddUp is well aware of the challenges that may raise at the post-processing level.

With ECM Group’s knowledge in the development of vacuum furnaces, the AM company will have a better understanding of the heat treat production needs of advanced sectors such as: medical, aeronautics, e-mobility, and renewable energies. The partnership will especially focus on the control of atmospheres, gases, and thermal applications.

For those of you who are not well familiar with heat treatment, note that during the printing process, metal parts are fabricated to the desired shape by successive layers of metal powders fused by one or more lasers.

The speed at which the laser moves creates a rapid heating and cooling of the material which can cause expansion or shrinkage. This often creates constraints inside the parts produced. To improve the homogeneity of the material and reduce its internal stresses to obtain the right mechanical properties, it is often necessary to apply one or more heat treatment cycles to the metal parts after they are printed, a press release reads.

“Heat treatment operations are just as important as the 3D printing phase itself, both to reduce the internal stresses generated during the “lasering” phase and to adapt the microstructure of the material and its properties,” said Jean Rivoire, Parts Production Manager at AddUp.

The two groups will work jointly on a development program to define the appropriate specifications for a heat treatment solution adapted to additive manufacturing applications. Next, the ECM Group will design and industrialize a suitable vacuum furnace system according to the specifications defined during this joint development program, AddUp announces in a press communication.

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