Freeman Technology, the powder characterisation specialists, will be exhibiting at the TCT Japan on stand 3S-E21. The company offers solutions aimed at optimising process performance, increasing productivity and improving quality in a diverse range of sectors, including additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing (AM)is a transformative, highly efficient manufacturing technique. Powder Bed Fusion techniques involve ‘printing’ often intricate components to a tight specification by gradually building up powder layers which are then selectively fused together (Figure 1). Controlling the performance of the powders is critical for process efficiency and product quality. How the powder flows, and packs as the layers are formed, are defining aspects of this performance. Variability in feedstock can lead to inconsistent bulk density, non-uniform layering, low tensile strength and poor surface finish.
Focus is now increasingly directed at the identification and consistent supply of powders to meet the exacting demands of the printing process. Processors are looking at the way powders can be optimised in an intelligent and reliable way. Understanding the way powders behave is playing a vital role in supporting this process, and powder testing techniques that can reliably measure properties that correlate directly with performance are essential.
The FT4 Powder Rheometer® is a universal powder flow tester, the instrument provides automated, reliable and comprehensive measurements of bulk material characteristics (Figure 2). Specialising in the measurement of dynamic flow properties, the FT4 also incorporates a Shear Cell, and the ability to measure bulk properties like density, compressibility and permeability. Various studies have shown how the diverse/sensitive methodologies provided by this technology enable the detection of minor variations in feedstocks that directly influence performance in AM processes, in a way that traditional characterisation techniques cannot. Powder rheology can therefore support successful optimisation and lifecycle management of powders for AM.
Click here for more information on the FT4 Powder Rheometer.