Linde plc is showcasing a number of gas technologies at this year’s Formnext. These include the launch of ADDVance® Laser230, the company’s latest bespoke gas solution used to optimise the Additive Manufacturing of copper, along with Linde’s powder atomisation test laboratory and its cold spray gas supply solution. Hot gases technology for finer powders will also be exhibited via augmented reality.
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“We are particularly proud this year to be showcasing some of our most technologically advanced gas solutions supporting industries at the forefront of manufacturing,” stated Pierre Forêt, Associate Director, Additive Manufacturing, Linde.
“Linde has long been a pioneer innovating to optimise Additive Manufacturing processes. The solutions on our stand this year demonstrate our expertise and ability to not only keep pace with the most forward thinking industries but to support all our customers in improving their processes,” added Forêt.
Copper’s primary characteristic as a superior heat conductor has long been recognised by the aerospace industry and has made it a critical material for rocket applications, explains Linde. With the advancement of Additive Manufacturing, copper can now be used for engine components, offering highly specialised geometries which were previously not possible.
However, copper can face challenges in Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing due to its reflective properties. The copper acts like a mirror to the laser so that a considerable amount of power is reflected and not used to melt the metal. A higher laser intensity is therefore needed but this can risk overheating of the part and oxidation issues.
ADDvance Laser230 is specifically designed to optimise manufacturing results in the PBF-LB processes. Its blend of argon and helium reduces fumes and spatter formation, speeds up cycle times, and makes the manufacturing process more reliable, thus reducing the cost per part.
Linde is currently collaborating with Ariane to test a highly precise Additive Manufacturing process to deliver consistent, high quality copper components.
Atomisation test bench
Linde’s recent launch of its test bench laboratory has seen several powder manufacturers demonstrating interest in collaborating with Linde to participate in the testing of powder production gas parameters. Metal powder atomisation is a highly complex process, where both the development of nozzle design and gas parameters take time and resources. But in what is essentially real world conditions, Linde’s test bench is reported to enable dramatically improved results.
Specially adapted windows, lighting, high-speed cameras and schlieren imaging (a visual process that is used to photograph the flow of fluids of varying density) allow for surveillance and data capture of each change of gas parameter. This means that the test bench does not rely on the introduction of molten metal, but instead provides the gas structure of the atomisation under certain conditions. The different parameters to be assessed include gas type, volume of gas, pressure and temperature, with the atomiser able to rapidly switch over to analyse hundreds of combinations within minutes.
Hot gases atomisation
Linde is also hosting a demonstration of the Hot Gas system technology via augmented reality. When producing metal powders, high volumes of gas need to be injected at high pressures through a nozzle. By using a heater to increase the temperature of the gas to several hundred degrees, the gas can move at faster speeds through the nozzle, enabling finer powders to be created. The gas heater can be retro-fitted and Linde offers a turnkey solution including heater, control panel and gas supply.
Linde is also highlighting its cold spraying gas supply solution, LINSPRAY® Connect, which is said to significantly enhance the reliability and safety of the cold spray process. The supply solution was developed in collaboration with German cold spraying technology leader, Impact Innovations.
Its design ensures not only the delivery of a reliable, stable and high-quality gas flow with minimal variation, it also enables the customer, for the first time, to monitor process parameters including pressure, temperature and filling levels of the nitrogen tank. It automatically sends error messages in real time and can switch to an emergency gas supply or activate a safe shut-down of the system in case of incidents. Production volume can easily be increased or decreased as required.
A gas enabled solution for binder jetting, ADDvance Sinter250 optimises sintering atmospheres to avoid oxidation in metal fused deposition modeling (FDM). Linde has developed a range of highly tailored gases – from pure argon and hydrogen to special argon/hydrogen gas mixtures for advanced atmosphere control. ADDvance® Sinter250 is ideal for ensuring the integrity and strength of parts printed from stainless steel powders.
Attendees to Formnext can learn more about all these advanced gas technologies by visiting Linde’s stand C82 in Hall 11.