Improving productivity of an electron beam melting system using Ti – 6Al – 4V

Tosi, Riccardo (2019). Improving productivity of an electron beam melting system using Ti – 6Al – 4V. University of Birmingham. Eng.D.

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The electron beam melting system is a unique powder bed technology used to manufacture high value components for different applications. Titanium alloys are conventionally used to produce additive manufacturing parts in several industrial sectors due its mechanical and geometrical characteristics. This demonstrates an increasing interest in this system. However, limits on productivity are pushing the market to improve the process of additive manufacturing (AM) parts into real production. The aim of this thesis is to gain a fundamental understanding of the Arcam A2XX system and its characteristics in order to explore new approaches for improving productivity.
This thesis explores fundamental studies of Ti - 6Al - 4V alloy manufactured with an electron powder bed fusion (E-PBF) system using a standard configuration, hardware reduction, and advanced methods to decrease the manufacturing time and its impact in production. All the studies include a metallurgical investigation of the parts, mechanical properties and an overall analysis of the components manufactured.
A standard build was first investigated to capture the E-PBF A2XX system behaviour and its build characteristics. After a fundamental study investigation, the hardware was modified to better understand the flexibility of the standard system. An “adaptonic chamber” was manufactured to reduce the amount of powder required during the build. This optimised the chamber volume, which generated benefits such as time saving and machine turnaround. Subsequently, two advanced manufacturing techniques called “in-situ shelling” and “hybrid manufacturing” were explored in order to understand whether the production time capturing un-melted powder in a shell to post treat could be reduced, and to include the starting plate as part of the final component respectively. Time and cost were monitored to measure productivity. Further research is recommended to gain deeper insight into the techniques successfully explored in this thesis.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Eng.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Eng.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Metallurgy and Materials
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Other Funders: Manufacturing Technology Centre
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)


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