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GE Announces New Electron Beam 3D Printer and Software at RAPID + TCT

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At RAPID+TCT 2024, the recently rebranded Colibrium Additive, a GE Aerospace company, made several announcements, including the latest model in its Spectra series of electron beam powder bed fusion (EB-PBF) printers, as well as an update to its EB-PBF software, and coarse titanium for its laser PBF machines.

Spectra M EB-PBF

The Spectra M, which can now be ordered with first deliveries expected in early Q1 2025, addresses the demand for a smaller build volume EB-PBF printer while maintaining the design freedom and productivity benefits of electron beam melting technology.

The development of the Spectra M is a response to the specific needs of additive manufacturers, particularly those in the medical and orthopedic implant industries. The smaller build volume of the Spectra M offers a solution for reducing cost-per-part and overall production costs. Machine specifications for the Spectra M include a build envelope of Ø270 x 430 mm and a beam power of 4.5 kW. The printer supports materials such as Ti6Al4V Grade 5 and Ti6Al4V Grade 23.

Oscar Angervall, Senior Product Manager at Colibrium Additive, highlighted the significance of customer feedback in the development process. “Having the largest installed base of highly experienced, long-standing users provides invaluable insight and help in constantly evolving our portfolio to provide EB-PBF technologies that fulfill their specific requirements as they continue to scale their additive manufacturing operations,” Angervall stated. “Spectra M is in direct response to constant dialogue with our customers, particularly those additive super users in the orthopedic implant industry.”

EBMControl 6.4

The Spectra M is equipped with the newly launched EBMControl 6.4, compatible with Point Melt, Powder Supports, and Plate Free technology. Depending on the application, customers can choose between a high productivity theme or an advanced Point Melt-based process theme, meant to enabling support-free printing without compromising surface roughness or mechanical properties.

Additionally, Colibrium Additive has released EBMControl 6.4, a major upgrade to its EB-PBF software. This upgrade includes innovations such as Point Melt, Powder Supports, and Plate Free, and is available for both the new Spectra M and existing Spectra L printers.

Point Melt technology melts metal powder through small “points” instead of lines, allowing for more accurate temperature control and reduced temperature gradients. This results in what the company claims to be excellent isotropic material properties and a significant increase in yield strength, allowing for greater freedom of orientation and improved surface roughness.

Powder Supports significantly reduce or eliminate the need for support structures during the build process, retaining dimensional accuracy while reducing post-processing costs. Plate Free offers a cost-effective, hands-off way to start a build, reducing machine turnaround times and contamination risk, and enabling multiple builds per machine turnaround.

Coarse Ti64

Also at the event, AP&C, GE Aerospace’s metal powders company, introduced a coarse Ti64 powder solution aimed at lowering part costs. This new powder, validated for use with Colibrium Additive’s M2 laser PBF platform, offers the same quality as finer powders but with larger particle sizes, making it more cost-efficient and safer to handle. Coarse Ti64 powders have a lower reactivity, reducing the risk of contamination and increasing the material’s reusability.

The coarse Ti64 powder solution represents a significant step forward in reducing additive manufacturing costs while maintaining high-quality production standards. This innovation aligns with industry demands for more cost-efficient powders and efforts to minimize the environmental footprint of additive manufacturing.

The company also shared that its Series 3 metal binder jet system is available commercially, a topic we will discuss in greater depth during an upcoming interview. While the corporate giant spent significant resources on developing this binder jet solution, Colibrium’s announcements at RAPID+TCT reflect the continued progress of GE’s additive division across its product lines. Binder jet will be obviously be crucial for pioneering the burgeoning

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