Linde Gases, a business division of The Linde Group, has helped advance 3D printing technology with the launch of the first-of-its-kind measuring and analysis unit to control oxygen (O2) and humidity levels inside printer chambers.

Impurities due to insufficient purging, small machine leakages and metal powder can affect the O2 level during the additive manufacturing process which can result in altered mechanical properties and different chemical compositions of the end product.

The new ADDvanceTM O2 precision technology can detect O2 levels down to 10 parts per million (ppm) and modify the gas atmosphere accordingly by adjusting the level of argon (Ar) or nitrogen (N2).

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Developed in response to a need identified by aerospace company Airbus Group Innovations, the unit was designed to give additive manufacturers more control when analysing gas and humidity levels in chambers.

“That Airbus selected Linde to work with them to overcome such a challenge in the pioneering area of additive manufacturing is testament to Linde’s technical competence and innovative spirit,” signified Pierre Forêt, who is responsible for additive manufacturing research and development (R&D) at Linde.

The Tier One player recently opened a dedicated industrial gases laboratory for additive manufacturing near Munich, Germany, which researches the effect of different atmospheric gases and gas mixtures on different metal powders used in additive manufacturing with the aim of optimising various layering processes.