Advantages

What makes MELD different?

No chambers. No powder beds.

One of the greatest things about a no-melt additive process for metals is that it is capable of making large parts. Two things make this possible: open-atmosphere operation and scalable equipment.

Since MELD is open atmosphere, it does not need to be contained like many similar technologies.  Melt-based processes either have a container to hold metal powder or operate in a chamber that prevents oxygen from getting in while the laser is running. Either way, these containers automatically limit you in the size part you can build. MELD doesn’t need a powder bed or a chamber. Without these constraints, MELD can make parts as big as you want.

MELD equipment is also an important factor. Traditional equipment in machine shops, like CNCs and mills, have a lot in common with MELD equipment. These types of machines get bigger as needed. The same is true for MELD machines. Dream big, build big!


No porosity. No splintering. No HIPing.

Since there is no melting in MELD, we’re able to create better, stronger parts. MELD created products are printed fully dense, meaning there are no voids in the deposited material. With melt-based processes, the additively-manufactured part contains small pockets without material, similar to a sponge. These “green” parts must then go through a second process during which they are compressed. Finally, they are ready for the last processing steps before they are considered ready. MELD, on the other hand, requires no additional steps and skips these costly and time-consuming procedures.

Additionally, residual stress is a concern for all processes – additive and subtractive.  Material can collect stress from initial production methods and processes, like finish machining. Residual stress often shows itself as distortion in a part.  Heat is a major contributor to this issue. Comparing stresses in additive manufacturing steps, MELD has an advantage because it is a low-heat process. We’ve seen quarter inch thick plates of steel bend into a U shape with laser deposition.


Fewer Steps. Better Results.

High material throughput is one of the greatest advantages of MELD. Because of our machines’ large size, they can deposit a wide array of metals at rates that are unmatched by any other metal additive process. In most cases, the MELD process can deposit material at least 10 times faster than other metal additive processes. Unlike parts made with other processes, once the MELDed material is deposited, the process is over.

.

It is also important to note that the story isn’t finished for these other processes. Because these more conventional technologies are melt-based, they will require additional, time-consuming steps such as HIP and sintering, to obtain an acceptable level of material quality. While parts made by one of these other processes are being “improved,” a MELD deposit is ready for its intended application.


No Limitations

MELD’s commercially available machines, L3, K2 and 3PO, use solid bars of metal.

Solid bar is more economical than powders. It also avoids the fire hazards and operator risks associated with many metal powders.

And here’s the greatest part: we won’t tell you what to use, and we won’t force you to buy material from us.

Materials we currently print using the MELD Process include:

Aluminum: Al 6061, Al 7075

Titanium: Ti-64

Materials we’ve demonstrated using the MELD process include:

Aluminum: Al1100, Al2219, Al2024, Al2139, Al2195, Al5083, Al5086, Al5183, Al6063, Al7050, Al7136

Titanium: Ti6242, TiAl​

Copper: Cu110, CuCr, NAB, Cu182​

Metal Matrix Composites: Al-SiC, Al-Fe, Al-W, Al-Mo, Al-BNC, Al-CF, Al-CNT, Cu-W, Cu-Ta, TiC​

Magnesium: AZ31, AZ61, AZ91, WE43, E675, AMX602, E21​

Nickel: Inconel 625, Inconel 718, Inconel 600, Nimonic 80A​

Steel: 4340, HY80, ODS 14YWT, 300M, Aermet 100, A514, 316/L, 304/L, A36​