University of Birmingham to use a Prima Additive metal AM system

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Prima Additive, the company of the Prima Industrie Group specialising in metal additive manufacturing technologies, will supply a system for metal additive manufacturing (AM) based on Powder Bed Fusion technology with an infrared laser and a green laser to the University of Birmingham in the UK.

The solution purchased by the University of Birmingham will be installed at the Advanced Materials & Processing Laboratory (AMPLab), at the School of Metallurgy and Materials.

The system is the Print Genius 150 Double Wavelength. This is a unique configuration on the market, featuring two lasers of different wavelengths within the same system: a 300 W infrared laser and a 200 W green laser which can work alternately on the same ⌀150 x 160mm cylindrical work area. This solution is unique in its ability to alternate between the two lasers on the same work area, thus ensuring high performance, reliability, and accurate results on each application.

The interchangeability of technology ensures that both conventional materials such as steel, aluminium, nickel, titanium, and cobalt chrome alloys can be processed on the same system, thanks to the infrared laser, and highly reflective materials such as pure copper or precious materials, with the implementation of the green laser.

The green laser solves, indeed, the main problems of absorption, process stability, and poor efficiency that generally occur when these alloys are processed with an infrared laser. In particular, thanks to its special configuration of a 30μm spot size beam, the Print Genius 150 DW can process precious metals such as gold with high accuracy, achieving excellent levels of quality.

The University of Birmingham will use this system primarily for research into novel material, including functionally graded materials, copper and its alloys, precious materials, and refractory metals.

Funding to purchase this system was provided through a Strategic Equipment Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The system will serve as a national facility, where other users from across the UK, both in academia and the industry, will be able to access the system to use in their research.

The University of Birmingham is one of the most renowned universities in the UK. AMPLab is a centre of excellence in metal 3D printing technologies. It has received over £15M of research grants in the past 10 years from the UK government, the EU, and a long list of industrial and research partners in the UK and beyond.

The university hosts state-of-the-art materials processing facilities, including 12 laser-based 3D printing platforms (the largest number in any university in the UK).

Professor Moataz Attallah, AMPLab’s director, said: "The Print Genius 150 Double Wavelength is an exciting addition to AMPLab’s research facilities. The planned research activities will connect the research and innovation landscape, and through commercial work will promote collaboration with innovative manufacturing companies in the UK and beyond.

"The system is unique in its ability to deliver both infrared and green lasers, which will enable a significant amount of fundamental science to be explored, alongside novel applications."

Paolo Calefati, Prima Additive's CEO, said: "We are thrilled to be suppliers and partners of a prestigious institution like the University of Birmingham: for us, collaboration with universities has always been crucial as it allows us to bring important developments to our products. Universities are often the gateway through which companies decide to approach additive manufacturing.

"For this reason, the Birmingham area is particularly strategic thanks to the presence of many leading companies, and we are happy that one of our machines can be available for university research and to support innovative companies in the area."

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