Sweden’s Arcam has been in the metal additive manufacturing (AM) business since 1997, and has established itself as a leading manufacturer of electron beam melting (EBM) metal AM machines.
With the introduction of the Q10, Arcam is replacing its A1 EBM system, which represented the industry standard for AM orthopedics.
Featuring an upgraded electron beam, the Q10 also comes equipped with a new quality assurance measure, LayerQam, which allows for a camera-based, in-chamber part quality verification.
In addition to those features, the Q10 also includes a metal powder recovery system that enables closed powder handling, which can minimize potentially dangerous handling of combustible metal powders.
How the Q10 Works
Arcam’s Q10 uses an electron beam melting process to build parts, layer by layer, from a metal powder. Electron beam melting is a process in which a high-powered electron gun generates and focuses an intense beam of energy onto an area of metal powder.
Using electromagnetic coils, the Q10’s electron gun can quickly and accurately trace a profile predetermined by CAD input.
Given the power and accuracy of the Q10’s electron beam, a pool of metal can be melted simultaneously, speeding overall print times, optimizing surface precision and finishing, and allowing for multi-part production.
Before parts are processed by the Q10, the machine’s build chamber is pressurized to a base level of 1×10-5 mbar. As the printing process begins, helium gas is introduced into the chamber at a pressure of 2×10-3 mbar. With a stable environment established in the Q10’s build chamber, components can be produced with few imperfections, and better, more consistent material quality.
To complete its prints, the Q10 can be programmed to build a porous surface onto any component. Called Trabecular Structures by Arcam, this rough finish is ideal for orthopedics, giving components a better primary fit and allowing a greater chance of grafting with a patient’s natural bone.
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