A new generation technology for Additive Manufacturing. Introducing the DED process

Directed Energy Deposition (DED) is making a difference to the life and usability of parts. DED focuses thermal energy to fuse materials by melting them as they are being deposited. Materials such as Stainless steels, Titanium alloys, Nickel alloys and Stellites can all be applied using this process. But the real advantages of DED processes is in the variety of industrial applications including extending the life of parts by providing wear-resistant coatings, repairing broken or damaged parts, multi-material applications, creating additional structures on pre-existing parts, and building new parts from precise complex geometry.

The system that fulfills this task is BeAM Machines, first developed in France with recent operations commencing in Cincinatti USA with AddUp which offers a complimentary technology of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) systems. BeAM provide two models, the Modulo 400 and Magic 800. These 5 axis machines have been designed and manufactured for industrial purposes and are sympathetic to customer requests. They are modular, upgradable and offer high performance.  Modulo 400 for example, has a 640 x 400 x 400 mm build volume, a process module with 5-axis kinematics, the DED deposition nozzle, powder tight enclosure and air extractor and filtration unit offering exceptional safety operational standards. Additional peripherals of extra hoppers, an automatic tool changer, controlled atmosphere, and a touch probed can be added in.

The whole system is able to fit into a shipping container, enabling transportation and operation in remote locations.

BeAM’s DED process can produce metal parts in ‘near net shape finish’ that require no supports during the build. While the advantage of this process means less post-processing and less material waste a key advantage is in fabrication. New sections can be formed, added on to old parts giving them a new purpose or worn pieces can be replaced to extend the part life. Recently, a hybrid part was produced to demonstrate the exceptional use of DED. First, using an AddUp PBF system to build the base skirt of a piston out of steel using lattice structures to reduce weight but not performance. Then BeAM DED technology was applied to add rings to the top of the piston in Inconel 625, a different material providing better performance at a higher temperature.

All BeAM machines offer automated quality assurance software that displays real-time data on a screen, compatible with 4.0 platforms. Some 80 different parameters can be observed including gas flow, torque, powder consumption, porosity, and so on. Should a spike in the data output be observed, the print can be halted, and the problem fixed. In this way, the sensors act as a monitoring device in real-time.

BeAM DED can be used for component repair, adding features, multi-material applications, and producing near-net-shaped parts and components. The machine utilizes traditional CNC controls and ISO G-code, meaning the tools your skilled workforce is already accustomed to using are built in.