Electron Beam Melting

As a proven leader in cost-efficient additive manufacturing (AM) solutions to produce orthopedic implants and aerospace applications, the Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process has the power to unleash a new generation of additive innovation. This leading-edge technology offers design freedom, excellent material properties and stacking capabilities. When you combine these advantages with the elimination of stress relief, your business will see an increase in productivity, when you adopt EBM technology. 

What is EBM?

The EBM process utilizes a high-power electron beam that generates the energy needed for high melting capacity and high productivity. The hot process allows you to produce parts with no residual stress and the vacuum ensures a clean and controlled environment. Watch the video to see the process in action.

General Electric
Video transcript
Additive manufacturing offers greater freedom in design and allows for the creation of optimized parts that are not constrained by the limits of traditional manufacturing. Arcam EBM has the unique ability to tightly stack parts within the build in order to increase productivity. An optimized build file is sliced and loaded into the Arcam EBM system.  Following this metal powder is loaded into the machine. The build chamber is then closed, and a vacuum is created to ensure a clean controlled environment that allows for the processing of reactive material. Next Arcam EBM’s powder layering system evenly distributes a thin layer of powder on the build area. A powerful six-kilowatt electron beam heats the powder bed to the optimal ambient temperate and then proceeds to melt the powder. First contour melting then hatch melting the electron beam unit generating the beam contains no moving parts allowing for extremely fast and accurate beam control. The build environment is kept hot reaching temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius. Resulting in no residual stresses and allowing for the process of crack prone materials. As each layer is completed the build is lowered and a fresh layer of build powder is raked over it. The process repeats drawing the build one layer at a time. When the build is complete the tank is extracted and the Arcam EBM machine is prepared for the next build.

High productivity and lower cost

We worked with an independent consultant to evaluate the production costs of EBM compared to several laser machines. Two applications were selected for the study: a bracket for the aerospace industry and a hip cup for the orthopedic industry. Both applications were produced in titanium (Ti64). The consultant found Electron Beam Melting had a significant cost advantage compared to other methods.

"Depending on the characteristics of the part, the production cost per part can be up to 50% lower for EBM."

Stacked hip cups in Q10plus

Frequently asked questions

What is the hot process?
During the hot process, the electron beam heats each layer of the build until the entire powder bed reaches an optimal process temperature specific to the material used. 

As a result, the EBM process produces components without residual stresses and have microstructures free from martensitic structures.
How does the vacuum chamber work?
The Electron Beam Melting process takes place in a vacuum chamber to ensure a clean and controlled build environment.

Vacuum production is an important aspect of the EBM process as it maintains the chemical specification of the build material.
What is sintering?
During sintering, parts are produced free floating in sintered powder. This allows parts to be stacked tightly and limits, or eliminates, the need for supports.
What benefits does EBM offer the orthopedic industry?
EBM technology offers greater freedom of design, as well higher build volume builds, thanks to part-stacking capability. This combination allows for the manufacture of complex and detailed orthopedic implants.

There is a growing number of CE-certified and FDA-cleared implants on the market produced with the Arcam EBM technology.
What benefits does EBM offer the aerospace industry?
Aerospace is an innovative industry, and engineers are always searching for ways to make parts lighter, faster and more efficient. The EBM process allows you to produce lightweight components with a very efficient buy-to-fly ratio. EBM also allows you to additively manufacture parts using crack-prone materials.

Ready to fast track your path to production?

GE Image
Tomas Kellner
19 September 2019