Adira (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal) has developed machine tools to manufacture large-sized metal additive manufacturing components, based on both powder bed fusion (PBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) technology. For the PBF process, they are a pioneer in manufacturing large parts with this technology. The need to maintain ideal process conditions led to the creation of a new processing method that allows the creation of parts with bigger volume than the process chamber, allowing an expansion of the available workspace without compromising system functionality.
The technology, called tiled laser melting (TLM), divides the existing work area in smaller segments or tiles, which are processed sequentially. At the end of the process, it provides one large part or several small ones.
Combining laser scanner motion with a defocusing capability establishes different scanning strategies for both detailed and highly complex contoured shapes or faster processing of filling sections, enhancing productivity and increasing processing speed.
The TLM process uses a detachable modular feeding system for quick changeover of material—therefore minimizing machine downtime, as cleaning and preparation of the feeding device can be made in parallel while the machine is processing.
Regarding the DED process, the company has developed a hybrid process capability called direct laser processing (DLP), where the end-user may choose to work on sheet metal in a subtractive way through laser cutting, or make use of the additive manufacturing laser technology for repairing, shape modification operations, or 3D additive manufacturing by exchanging the process nozzle attached to the processing head.
The dual-hopper independent feeding system may be loaded with different powder materials and configured through the machine command. The end-user is free to choose whichever material may be the most suitable for the final application. Additionally, the worktable for the DLP process may be removed from the machine, which will allow an external platform preparation while the process is undergoing. This parallel work method may be exploited in accordance with the user's needs, and follows the company's shuttle table concept from its laser-cutting technology.
The company has combined both laser additive manufacturing technologies in a conceptual machine with its proven laser cutting capability, creating a true three-way processing solution. The resulting system includes the current state-of-art in laser processing technology, exponentially increasing the manufacturing potential.
For more information, please visit www.adira.pt.