Freemelt AB has officially launched ProHeat, a new patent-pending solution for preheating the powder bed in Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (E-PBF)-based 3D printers.

Freemelt AB is a Sweden-based manufacturer of E-PBF-based 3D printers. The company is on a mission to broaden the Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-EB) material portfolio and application areas hence the development and continuous improvement of its open source material development system that enables operators to try new materials and innovative beam scanning strategies.

ProHeat technology is currently under development and will be embedded in the company’s future versions of 3D printing systems.

We are very optimistic about this innovation” says Ulric Ljungblad, CEO at Freemelt. “ProHeat is an enabler for robust, efficient processing and expands the potential of E-PBF to new classes of materials that are difficult or even impossible to process in E-PBF systems as of today.”

Main advantages of ProHeat

Due to a heating device located above the powder bed, Freemelt’s new technology uses electromagnetic radiation to sinter every powder layer smoothly. This way, there is no risk of powder charging and “smoke events”.

Images via FreeMelt

Freemelt explains that ProHeat delivers fast and efficient heating, preserving all unique advantages of a hot and stress-relieved AM process. The solution enables preheating without interaction with electrons – eliminating charging of the powder. It also allows for highest vacuum purity and optimum beam quality maintained at all times as well as zero consumption of costly, high-purity inert gas (helium or argon).

ProHeat makes it possible to heat and sinter the powder bed in a gentle and uniform manner, without exposing it to electric charge. This makes it much easier and more efficient to build parts from fine powders and from powders of poor conductivity. ProHeat will speed up development of new E-PBF materials since it eliminates the time-consuming optimization of preheating parameters“, states Ulf Ackelid, Senior Scientist at Freemelt.

In three years of activities, Freemelt has completed a $1.6M capital investment round led by venture capital firm Industrifonden. The development of ProHeat is part of the first fruits the company bears following this funding round. This is certainly not the last development in the company’s growth strategy as it ambitions to provide a complete open-source EBM AM technology. Lastly, the start-up recently made it onto the yearly ’33-list’, which sheds light on the most innovative and promising Swedish start-ups from 2020.

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