Is Wayland Additive's technology just another EBM clone?
The short answer here is: No!
To go further: it really is not. The only commonalities between EBM and NeuBeam® are: first, they are both powder bed fusion processes and second, they both use an electron beam as the heat source to melt the metal powder. Beyond that however, EBM and NeuBeam are fundamentally different. Wayland Additive has named its process Neutral Beam Technology® — or NeuBeam® — because unlike the traditional Electron Beam (eBeam/EBM) process, the charging issues that make EBM so unstable have been fully neutralized. We have developed a number of technologies — based on the core physics — to overcome this Achilles heel.
What makes NeuBeam® so different from other metal additive manufacturing systems on the market?
Our NeuBeam technology has been developed in-house from the ground up by a team of physicists that have worked for many decades with electron beam technology and industrial systems in the semi-conductor industry. The science, combined with extensive expertise and experience has allowed us to develop a very capable and reliable system rather than imitating existing systems or adapting off the shelf components and re-purposing them.
Why would I buy this technology rather than the more established Laser PBF or EBM?
It’s no secret that both Laser PBF and EBM AM systems come with limitations. Both have — rightly — proved valuable for certain industrial applications. However, invariably this comes with some requirement for compromise(s) to overcome these limitations. NeuBeam® is able to reduce the need for compromise and open up new opportunities for metal AM applications. This is because it is a very stable technology. Parameters can be selected specific to the application / material properties. In other words, NeuBeam can be tuned to your application specifications, rather than being limited by process constraints. In addition, the nature of NeuBeam requires fewer downstream post processes compared with EBM or Laser PBF systems.
Is the system a hot bed process like EBM?
NeuBeam® is a hot part process, efficiently creating parts that are free of residual stresses. One of the key advantages of eBeam PBF processes over laser PBF processes is the higher processing temperatures that minimize residual stresses and thus internal defects within parts. However, with traditional EBM the entire build volume was subjected to these high temperatures, meaning that the powder surrounding the part was also sintered, which necessitated extensive and difficult post-processing steps. The NeuBeam technology is more flexible and the high temperatures are only applied to the part ensuring free-flowing powder post-build and stress free parts with reduced energy consumption. Win : Win : Win!
What materials are compatible with NeuBeam?
All of the common metal materials/alloys that are currently used for additive manufacturing can be processed with NeuBeam. However, NeuBeam offers significant advantages over other technologies with built in real time in-process monitoring, allowing for rapid material development or tuning of microstructures by adapting the solidification during manufacturing. With Neubeam the process temperature is not constrained by sintering the powder bed, allowing the process temperature to be optimized to the material microstructure and/or the application.
Are parts produced with the NeuBeam process rough like EBM, or smoother like SLM?
The user can determine this according to their application. Part surface roughness of the any electron beam process is determined by key parameters such as beam width and particle size as well as how the energy / contouring strategies are managed. Unlike traditional EBM for certain materials — such as Titanium — Neubeam® allows the user to specify the particle size. NeuBeam is flexible and can process different particle sizes. Technically beam width is also a choice for us as a manufacturer, along with scan strategy, meaning that potentially NeuBeam can deliver smoother surfaces like laser systems.
Do NeuBeam parts require many post-processing / finishing processes?
Unlike existing EBM systems, NeuBeam does not produce a sinter cake around the printed parts. This eliminates the need to blast the sinter cake to expose the parts. Once a build is finished our powder is loose around the parts, much like a laser system — but unlike laser systems NeuBeam parts do not require extensive support structures to hold them down to a build plate. For the end user this means that post-processing requirements such as Wire EDM to remove supports are negated. In fact, with NeuBeam the system is so stable you can choose the support structure to suit your particular build requirements. In addition, because NeuBeam is a hot part process, the parts do not suffer from residual stress which means that post-process heat treatments are not required.
Why would I buy an AM System from Wayland rather than the established companies in the market?
Wayland Additive has brought together a team that can demonstrate unprecedented technical expertise that collectively amounts to more than 120 years of experience with electron beam technology. Much of this expertise was developed within the semi-conductor industry where they categorically understand the need for consistency across platforms, repeatability and reliability. Alongside this is 20+ years of experience within the additive manufacturing sector. While we may be a young company, our pedigree and our reputations speak for themselves. By partnering with Wayland Additive from the outset, early adopters of NeuBeam technology have access to a new technology that opens up new opportunities for AM applications. This collaborative approach will shape future technology development and outcomes.
When could I expect to take delivery of a NeuBeam system from Wayland?
Wayland Additive is committed to supporting partners and ultimately end users to take advantage of the NeuBeam technology for specific new and/or reworked applications. Currently, we are adding value and delivering industrial solutions through collaborative partnerships. We will continue to bring our knowledge and that of our customers to develop new applications and industrial production capabilities. We are engaging with clients in this way now. A full launch of NeuBeam is scheduled for Autumn 2020, with delivery of the first platforms planned for Q3 2021.
How much will a NeuBeam system cost?
Although final pricing has not been established, we do not expect the NeuBeam technology to be any more expensive than the current market leaders in metal AM in terms of capital outlay. However, we do anticipate that the added value of NeuBeam capabilities, along with its flexibility, will be key USPs for our customers.
Where can I see the NeuBeam technology in action?
We have our dedicated facility in Huddersfield, UK. We are happy to engage with end users of metal AM and other advanced manufacturing companies to demonstrate NeuBeam technology and its capabilities. We are also open to collaborating with them for future system development, based on end user feedback.
How can I get in touch with Wayland Additive?
You can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org