Powder Atomization

The quality of the powders is crucial for good reproducible properties of the AM components.  The Foundry Institute operates a hybrid powder atomizer with the possibility of producing metal powders in the close coupled and free fall mode processes.

Atomisation is possible with both argon and nitrogen. In the close coupled process (VIGA process=Vacuum Induction Melting Inert Gas Atomisation), the desired alloy composition can be melted in a crucible with two litres effective melting volume and atomised into powder particles. The D50 values of the particles are between 30 and 80µm.

For ceramic-free metal atomisation, powder can be produced from a prefabricated rod electrode in the EIGA (Electrode Induction Melting Gas Atomisation) process using the Free Fall method. With a maximum electrode length of 500 mm, the electrode diameter can be between 50 and 70 mm. This process is particularly suitable for reactive or refractory alloys. The D50 values of the particles are between 80 and 120µm.

The metal powder obtained for alloy development can be further processed using AM- processes on site such as LPBF (Laser Powder Bed Fusion) and LMD (Laser Material Deposition) systems. The LPBF system has a preheating configuration for the build plate, a high-speed camera, and two high-speed pyrometers for in-situ process monitoring.

The LMD system is a self-contained system with an inert gas glovebox, a powder feeding system with mixing unit and a wire feeding system unit for wires with diameters between 0.8 to 1.6 mm. The build plate in this system can also be heated up to 400 °C.