Optomec Develops Pure Copper Additive Manufacturing Process through LENS Directed Energy Deposition Systems

Pure Copper
Above: Optomec Pure Copper Fin Feature Added to Copper Tube/Image Credit: Optomec

Optomec, a leading global supplier of production-grade additive manufacturing equipment and software, announced the development of a pure copper additive manufacturing process using Optomec’s LENS directed energy deposition (DED) systems.

According to the company, the development of this new process for using pure copper is extremely important for designers of heat exchangers in a variety of industrial applications in industries such as aerospace and chemical processing.

The Optomec copper process is also applicable to alloys of copper such as bronze, brass and cupronickel.

Speaking about the new development at Optomec, Tom Cobbs, product manager for Optomec LENS systems said, “Pure copper is a big challenge for DED systems because of its high reflectance. The infrared wavelengths on most standard, laser-based AM systems are not readily absorbed by copper, making it difficult to establish a melt pool as the laser energy is reflected back into the source, causing all kinds of havoc. Our laser-based solution is virtually immune to any back reflection, so the laser can operate at full power on reflective surfaces without any difficulty. Optomec engineers have developed process parameters to account for thermal conductivity differences, as well as big changes in absorption and have demonstrated efficient DED builds with pure copper.“

He added, “We see this as a major milestone for LENS and DED additive manufacturing — because working with copper is essential for many of our customers. Copper is so critical because it enables the addition of high thermally-conductive features like cooling fins, the addition of soft metal sealing surfaces and high electrically-conductive surfaces for power transmission.”

Optomec will be displaying pure copper additive components built using the DED process in LENS systems Formnext 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany scheduled for November 19 – 22 (Hall 12, Booth C-61).

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