Engineering service provider EWI––formerly the Edison Welding Institute––has agreed to purchase a Calibur3 system from UK-based electron beam (eBeam) 3D printer manufacturer Wayland Additive and use it to identify new opportunities in metal additive manufacturing (AM) applications. In addition, by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the duo will collaborate to extend the production capabilities of eBeam metal AM once the Calibur3 system is installed at EWI’s Buffalo Manufacturing Works research facility in New York.
The EWI research team already has an in-depth understanding of metal AM processes, and this joint effort will help deepen their work. A pioneering engineering and manufacturing technology organization, EWI works with all seven AM processes under one roof to support manufacturers through all stages of the AM process.
For example, EWI previously engaged in a highly publicized partnership with Phillips Service Industries’ subsidiary Sciaky to produce prototype parts for high-tech manufacturers using Sciaky’s electron beam 3D printing technology. More recently, EWI decided to add SPEE3D’s cold spray-based supersonic 3D printers to its soon-to-launch Cold Spray Research Center.
This time around, EWI and Wayland will work together to identify and fulfill collaborative commercial and government projects based on the strengths of both organizations. They will also partner to advance the state-of-the-art of eBeam powder bed fusion (PBF) technology.
Wayland’s technology was identified as part of EWI’s Additive Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) project, which was created to research emerging technologies to accelerate and advance the manufacturing readiness of metal AM. Established in 2010, the consortium currently has more than 50 members worldwide from various industries, including aerospace and heavy equipment manufacturers, powder, equipment, and technical service providers; R&D organizations; government agencies; and academic institutions.
All 50 members hope to impact the AM landscape through organized and focused activities positively and by addressing the technical challenges that have stalled the advancement of AM processes such as PBF and directed energy deposition (DED) using lasers, arc, and electron beams.
Expanding the use of eBeam 3D printing
As the newest addition to the Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Calibur3’s ability to print without solidifying the entire powder cake will provide users with the potential to produce features that were formerly not suited for eBeam PBF, claims EWI’s Director of AM Programs, Mark Barfoot.
Launched in January 2021, the Calibur3 is Wayland’s first production NeuBeam 3D printing system. Created from the ground up by a team of in-house physicists, NeuBeam metal AM is an electron beam PBF process that can actually neutralize the charge accumulation you normally see with electron beam melting (EBM), which enables more flexibility than laser PBF while overcoming the stability issues of traditional eBeam PBF.
The creators used physics principles learned in the semiconductor sector to develop this unique method, which, as Wayland states, can overcome “the inherent instabilities of traditional eBeam processes,” along with the typical internal residual stresses that occur with PBF technologies.
According to Wayland CEO Will Richardson, Calibur3 opens up many new opportunities for production applications of eBeam metal AM because of the unique capabilities of the NeuBeam process.
“EWI has a stellar reputation for working with and leveraging advanced technology for industry,” sadi Richardson. “EWI quickly understood this and have committed to working with us to develop new commercial opportunities in a number of areas.”
In fact, Senior Technology Leader of AM at EWI, Ron Aman, said the organization’s customers are already very interested in leveraging the capabilities of Calibur3 for their applications. Adding this unique capability to EWI’s suite of metal AM processes could not only expand the uses for the technology but also support Wayland along the way with other process and material developments.
Similarly, Wayland’s Business Development Director Peter Hansford explained that the company is witnessing real-world applications for Calibur3, which is proving to be valuable in the industrial world, and says he “can’t wait to see how Calibur3 opens up more new applications in the hands of this very capable team.”
The startup has grown since selling its first Calibur3 to Canadian firm Exergy Solutions and since it began distributing its flagship product to Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Today, thanks to this new MoU with EWI, the duo will solidify their joint collaboration and expand its application spectrum to deliver real engineering solutions to even more clients, helping consolidate the adoption of AM across new industries.
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