Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Metal 3D Printing and EBM Technology at São Paulo — A Few Questions For: Arcam

ST Medical Devices

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i3dp sao pauloWith Inside 3D Printing São Paulo taking place just last week, the excitement lingers over everything that was shown at South America’s largest 3D printing event. We were certainly looking forward to a spotlight on metal 3D printing, and among those delivering on this front was Patrik Ohldin, Sales Manager for South America and Central Europe for Sweden-based Arcam AB, a company we cover often. Ohldin additionally spoke at Inside 3D Printing Düsseldorf in February, where metal was a big focus.

Arcam’s EBM technology offers incredible potential for industrial manufacturing, with highlights in the areas of aerospace components and orthopedic implants 3D printed in titanium materials.

ohldin

As it turns out, when hearing about events and speakers like this, I’m not the only one who wants to know more; in conjunction with Brazil’s 3D Printing, we now have a look at A Few Questions For Patrik Ohldin, originally conducted in Portuguese.

3d printing logoThere is something really fantastic about Electron Beam Melting technology in terms of the way it is conceived and its process. Actually, two main points in 3D Printing Industry. So what is the “gap” – it is not exactly the proper word, I know –  but what is the gap that the process of Electron Beam Melting fills in the Additive Manufacturing industry? What’s the real revolution, if we can say so?

The gap is not the same for all of our customers. For the implant manufacturers it’s primarily the ability to print trabecular structures and thereby save cost.

In aerospace it’s more multi-faceted, e.g. the ability to produce parts in materials that are difficult / expensive with conventional methods (e.g. TiAl turbine blades).

But it is also the ability to produce without tooling, with optimized geometries and with less material waste.

In terms of Biocompatibility, it is impossible not to talk about implants without thinking about the acceptance of implanted parts in the body. Considering the recycling efficiency of the trabecular structures, how is it possible to recycle them once they are implanted in the body? Can EBM method reduces the risk of non-acceptance, compared with other similar technologies used until now?

The EBM-manufactured implants can be removed in the same way as conventionally manufactured implants.

Our customer Lima has indeed shown that their EBM’d implants enhance the primary stability.

https://youtu.be/Z_7W4-zX0nU

Can we say that Trabecular Titanium is the “possible cure”, or at least can provide enormous relief for patients with osteoporosis disease (and those related with the bones)? How many others diseases can benefit from Trabecular Titanium?

I wouldn’t say that TT is “the cure”, but acc. to the above it can help to get the patients back on their feet faster.

Can you anticipate a bit of what you will present us in your talk at Inside 3D Printing São Paulo? Bene told me the title will be: “Additive Manufacturing of Implants – The Route to Production”. What to expect, just to “spoil us”? 😉

I will describe our journey from the first meetings with  the manufacturers back in 2006 to today, with 50.000+  implanted (CE-certified and FDA-approved) products.

ohldin sessionHow is the market for EBM technology? Do you think it might be accessible for B2C as well in the future? Or it will remain a B2B market?

I think it will remain a B2B market.

arcamDoes Arcam have clients in Brazil? If not, why? Do you plan to explore Brazilian market?

We’ve sold two machines is Brazil, to FACTI and ProInd.

Do you believe that EBM technology could be cheaper so that it could be used by small businesses, in the near future?

We already have customers with only a few employees. The type of business matters more than company size. Having said that, we work relentlessly to make the EBM technology even more cost-efficient.

Does EBM technology requires any post processing?

Yes, typically machining.

Arcam Q10.

Does the Electron Beam Melting have variants like other 3D printing technologies? Some examples: FDM has premium printers with multiple extruders, SLA has quicker variations which use a DLP instead of a guided beam, and DMLS sports machines which needs specialized alloys with nickel and bronze and more powerful ones that can work with pure steel.

EBM is currently available as three different systems, Arcam Q10, Arcam Q20 and Arcam A2X.

Arcam Q10 is designed for implant manufacturing in Ti.

Arcam Q20 is designed for aerospace manufacturing in Ti.

Arcam A2X is designed to also print high-temp materials.

What is the average cost of materials and post processing in a EBM printing process per gram with the most widely used material?

The cost of Arcam-supplied Ti6Al4V powder is 166 €/kg.

What are the main applications of EBM in the industry, especially compared to other 3D printing methods?

Orthopedic implants and aerospace components.

The Brazilian 3D printing market is certainly seeing an incredible future! You can follow up on 3D Printing’s coverage of the event (in Portuguese) here.

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