ALD Vacuum Technologies designs, engineers, and produces advanced vacuum metallurgy and heat treatment furnace systems involving many different technologies of interest to the AM and PM markets, including master melt electrode and barstick production of certified material. Close cooperation with well-known manufacturers and OEMs have strengthened ALD’s capabilities as a supplier of key technologies to demanding aviation, power generation, environmental, photovoltaic and automotive markets.
ALD invented and patented the EIGA in the 1980s to atomize spherical titanium alloys for aerospace and electronics PM applications. We have now reinvented the EIGA Premium for the finer useable fractions demanded of AM and MIM (metal injection molding).
For a common titanium alloy, the EIGA Premium’s d50 reduction from 65 to 35 microns increases the useable fraction in the SLM and in the MIM range substantially. With the EIGA Premium reducing specific gas consumption 50% to 75%, cost of conversion drops by half, and EIGA Premium now also becomes a real alternative to VIGA for super-clean requirements of Ni-, Cr-, Fe- based special alloy powders. Generally, all metals and alloys with melting points up to approximately 3000 °C can be converted into powders with the EIGA process. Electrodes with up to 150 mm diameter and up to 1500 mm length can be used as feedstock.
EIGA systems are the most versatile method for converting a wide variety of metals and special alloy electrodes into metal powders. The ceramic-free material processing and the outstanding process simplicity and robustness are the inherent advantages of the EIGA process. Powders produced by the EIGA process can be used in numerous applications and typically have the following characteristics:
- Spherical shape
- Good rheological flow characteristics
- Particle sizes ranging from 40 µm ≤ d50 ≤ 100 µm
- High purity
- High flow ability
- Low O, N and N concentrations
- Rapidly solidified and homogeneous microstructure
The EIGA system design is based on a vertically-oriented, rotating electrode that is continuously melted at one end in an inert gas atmosphere, without a ceramic crucible, using controlled motion into a specially designed, conical induction coil. The design of the induction coil and the frequency of the generator are optimized to achieve the necessary heat, causing the melt to drop from one end of the electrode. With proper controls, a continuous stream of molten material is atomized with an inert gas nozzle using a high-velocity gas stream. The micro-droplets spray solidifies while traveling down the atomization tower and forms spherically shaped fine powders which are collected in a vacuum-tight powder container.
As part of AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V., Netherlands, ALD employs approximately 900 people in 10 countries. AMG is a global critical materials company at the forefront of CO2 reduction trends and emerging technologies, producing highly engineered specialty metals and mineral products.
Visit ALD Vacuum Technologies in booth E8240.