Optomec, the Albuquerque-based company behind Aerosol Jet Printing technology, has introduced the Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) Deposition Head (LDH 3.X), which ensures optimized directed energy deposition (DED).
“As metal additive manufacturing users continue to seek higher laser powers, faster speeds, and improved deposition rates to maximize production, they don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the build,” said Tom Cobbs, LENS product manager at Optomec. “Controlling power density during processing becomes a critical factor.”
“The new LDH 3.X is a marked advancement in sophistication for DED processing. Its versatility, robustness, and ease-of-use empower the user to control laser power density at the workpiece for optimal results across a wide range of industrial applications.”
The LDH 3.X Laser deposition head
LENS systems use a high power laser (from 500W to 3kW) to fuse powdered metals into fully dense 3D structures. The LDH 3.X, integrated into Optomec’s metal 3D printing systems, including the LENS CS 600 and CS 800, and is enabled by an advanced cooling system for high-power duty cycles, and variable optics.
Several features of the LDH 3.X include improved channeling for water cooling the head, as well as a quick connect/disconnect nozzle system to interchange nozzle types depending on the application (i.e. 4-tip, coax, high overhang, etc.). Furthermore, the LDH 3.X is incapable of overheating while operating at high powers and for long build times.
This laser deposition head is designed to be effective for a variety of industrial applications including small to large builds, high deposition rates at high powers, repairs, coatings, and cladding operations. It features a 0.6 mm focused spot size for processing smaller parts or intricate feature building, and 2 or 3 mm focused spot sizes for increased laser powers for larger builds or clad type operations.
Laser Engineered Net Shaping
Earlier this year, Optomec entered into a reselling agreement with Phillips Federal, a leading machine tool supplier for the U.S. government, to integrate LENS systems to the military. This process blows the metal powdered feedstock through a nozzle and melts it upon contact with a laser array.
Previously, to enable LENS repair base for gas turbines and engines, Optomec acquired South Carolina CNC and laser cladding machine supplier Huffman LLC. LENS has also found applications within maintenance, repair and overhaul services, the repair of legacy parts, and reducing waste.
The Optomec LENS LDH 3.X is available immediately for most Optomec LENS system models from $10,000 to upgrade from LDH 2.0. Variable optics and nozzle types are sold separately.
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Featured image shows Optomec’s new LDH 3.X laser deposition head allows maximum flexibility for optimal DED building over a full range of laser powers. Photo via Optomec Inc.