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Powder bed fusion

Powder Bed Fusion is the second most popular 3D printing technology worldwide and is used to create tens of thousands of functional parts across most every industry every day.

What is powder bed fusion?

Powder bed fusion (PBF) is a category of additive manufacturing (AM) processes that use thermal energy to selectively fuse granular materials into solid shapes. A granular printing medium such as metal, ceramic, polymer, etc. is spread on the surface of a build platform to create a bed of powder. Using the information supplied by a CAD file, the powder bed fusion machine applies thermal energy to specific areas of the powder bed to bind granules into a solid layer. The build platform is then lowered, another thin layer of powder is added, and the process is repeated for the next layers until the design has fully printed.

Related products: NX AM Fixed Plane | NX AM Multi-Axis | NX AM Build Optimizer

r4a8718 poweder-bed-fusion

Understand the benefits of powder bed fusion

Reduce waste

Generate less material waste than other manufacturing methods such as machining.

Eliminate tooling

Reduce the need for expensive tooling when compared with other manufacturing methods like injection molding or casting.

Manufacture lot sizes of 1

Manufacture custom parts because the cost doesn’t increase as the lot size goes down.

Low cost complexity

Produce highly complex geometries for the same cost as basic geometries.

Reduce lead times

Create production-ready parts on-site in less time than procuring them from a supplier.

Repair parts in the field

Repair broken parts in the field closer to the point of need, reducing down time and minimizing the cost of replacement.

Production techniques

Powder bed fusion encompasses a variety of additive manufacturing production techniques to fuse the powdered material, including:

Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

Selective Heat Sintering (SHS)

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM)

Directed Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Powder bed fusion techniques are primarily differentiated by the source of thermal energy (e.g. laser pulse, electron beam, heated print head) and level of heat applied (i.e. whether the granules are sintered together or melted together). Also, it is worth noting that powder bed fusion is distinct from Binder Jetting because binder jetting does not utilize thermal energy (heat) to bind the particles together.

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