This article will review those areas and the role of metal powders and industrial gases in several AM processes that involve laser metal fusion and laser metal deposition. It will also discuss how industrial gas technologies are helping to address the challenges ahead.
The popularity of 3D printing with powder metals has risen rapidly over the past five years because it provides many benefits, including shorter lead times, fewer process steps, less labor and reduced waste. Most notably, however, it is AM’s ability to produce new designs that are not possible with conventional metal fabrication methods such as casting and machining. With no need for this tooling, parts can be manufactured faster and on demand, reducing the need for extensive machine infrastructure and inventory. Quality advances in powder metal (PM) processes aided by industrial gas technology are helping to push AM and the automotive industry into fast forward.