Nippon Gases on Developing Gases for the Additive Manufacturing Sector
In additive manufacturing processes, many different systems coexist to ensure that the machines run smoothly to produce quality parts. One of them is the supply of gases for processes where stable temperatures are required – this is the case with metal technologies. One of the companies offering such solutions, not only for the 3D printing industry but also for many other sectors, is Nippon Gases. To understand how gases are used to maintain an optimal environment in additive manufacturing, we met with one of their team members.
3DN: Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Pablo Acha and I am part of the team specializing in metal fabrication processes at Nippon Gases. Our main areas of activity are welding, cutting (oxyfuel, plasma and laser) and additive manufacturing. Our experience allows us to assist our customers in all stages of the various additive manufacturing processes: making the filler material, storing the filler material, inertization of the working atmosphere, protection of the manufacturing process and post-processing of the manufactured part.
3DN: What is Nippon Gases’ mission?
Nippon Gases’ core business is the manufacture and supply of industrial, food and medical gases, as well as installations for the consumption of these gases. On the other hand, in the Iberian Peninsula, we have a Cutting&Welding division that supplies welding and cutting equipment and all kinds of consumables. This product portfolio includes different metal materials in wire coils that are used in different metal 3D printing processes. Our core mission is to create social value through innovative gas solutions, thereby increasing industrial productivity and helping to shape a safe and sustainable future.
3DN: What is the range of products you offer to the additive manufacturing market?
The main product that Nippon Gases provides for additive manufacturing is a very high quality gas. Around this quality gas, we have created a range of specific products and services, called 3DPro®, that help customers ensure the highest quality in their processes. As a unique service in the market, MiruGas® is the process monitoring and analysis tool that helps our customers take full control of their manufacturing processes and work more productively.
3DN: For which 3D technologies are Nippon Gases’ solutions designed? What type of gases do you supply?
Our technology solutions are suitable for both manufacturing processes that consume gas during the material deposition stage, and manufacturing processes that require this gas consumption during the post-processing of the part. For technologies with gas consumption in the deposition phase, we provide high purity gases that guarantee the best printing conditions.
The main technologies with this type of consumption are powder bed fusion (PBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) technologies. Some DED technologies, such as LMD and WAAM, also use specific gas mixtures to improve part properties or optimize the manufacturing process. For technologies such as powder bonding, material jetting, and material extrusion (FDM) that use gases in the post-processing of the part, Nippon Gases provides gases and gas mixtures that help improve the properties of the final part.
3DN: How important is environmental control during the manufacturing process?
The biggest enemies of metal 3D printing are moisture and oxygen. All the gases and technological solutions that Nippon Gases has developed and continues to develop are aimed at reducing this oxygen and humidity to a minimum.
3DN: Any last words for our readers?
Nippon Gases strives to continuously improve additive manufacturing processes at all stages of manufacturing in which it is involved. To do this, it relies on partners and collaborators to help develop these solutions in the best possible way. You can also find more information on the Nippon Gases website HERE.
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*All Photo Credits: Nippon Gases