Linde Gases, the industrial gas supplying unit of German multinational The Linde Group, has recently unveiled first-of-its-kind measuring and analysis unit ADDvance O2 which is aimed to maintain oxygen and humidity levels within 3D print chambers. This new technology is expected to facilitate additive manufacturing by controlling gases in the 3D print environment. Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) and Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) are two technologies that particularly make use of industrial gases like nitrogen, oxygen and argon in metal 3D printing processes. The level of humidity within the chamber along with the amount of these gases produced affects the printing process and must be controlled meticulously in order to get an optimal print.
How does the ADDvance O2 Work?
ADDvance O2 is innovatively designed to detect oxygen levels down to 10 parts per million (ppm) which helps discovering any changes in the oxygen levels and also alter them by adjusting the argon and nitrogen levels within the 3D print chamber. This is a major development in additive manufacturing as any changes in the set oxygen level, be it due to machine leakage, insufficient purging or even impurities in the metal powder can result in an altered chemical composition of the printed part. This will also affect the mechanical properties of the printed part.
It is interesting to note that Linde Gases were actually approached by aerospace giant Airbus Group Innovations to work on the ADDvance O2 project as it was looking for a way to more optimally control and analyze the humidity and has levels during its print process. As Airbus Group Innovations has made some huge strides in advancing 3D printing within its niche, the R&D department at Linde Gases sees their selection for the task as a testament to its technical competence and innovative spirit.
Linde Gases has also established a laboratory at the outside of Munich, Germany with a dedicated team of researchers to study the effect of various atmospheric gases on 3D printing metal powders as well as for finding ways to better the process of industrial 3D printing. 3D printing technology is also gaining widespread acceptance in several other sectors including education and designing. For the best-in-class 3D printers online, click here!