Metal Powder &
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a technology that allows physical components to be made from virtual three-dimensional (3D) computer models by building the component layer-by-layer until the part is complete. Additive manufacturing, three-dimensional 3D printing (3DP), solid freeform fabrication (SFF), layered manufacturing (LM), and rapid prototyping (RP) are collectively technologies that are can manufacture or fabricate a component additively. Metal powders are the base materials for the production of metallic components through the conventional powder metallurgy route or the emerging field of additive manufacturing. 3D printing filament spools are also used as consumables.
Storage of Metal Powders and Filaments
Metal powders used in additive manufacturing are usually stored in containers around the printer or ordinary closed cabinets until they are needed. However, in each opening of the container, ambient air and moisture get into the container which affects the chemical and physical properties of the powder and cause aging. This issue cause deteriorating of powder and increasing of porosity. Consequently it costs increased tensile strength, heat tolerance, impact, and corrosion resistance. When it is stored in normal cabinets, metal powders can also react with the atmosphere inside the cabinet. Even if the cabinet is emptied, ambient air and moisture flow will cause contamination and deterioration each time the doors are opened.
X-Treme Series Powder Storage Cabinet has developed an innovative solution to solve this storage problem. The cabinet works with a humidity and temperature control unit to measure humidity levels continuously and delivers a high volume of nitrogen into the cabinet as soon as the doors are closed to remove moisture from the air quickly. When it comes to set the value of humidity and temperature then it keeps values constant with the calculated amount of nitrogen where injected into the cabinet.
The Power of Nitrogen
The use of nitrogen gas for dehumidification and storage is one of the oldest accepted methods in the market for a long time. Nitrogen gas is purging into the cabinet and the air is thrown out of the cabinet. Along with the air, moisture and oxygen are also thrown out. With that way, a moisture-free and oxygen-free environment is provided.
Nitrogen is commonly used because it does not react when exposed to other gases, especially as opposed to oxygen, which is highly reactive. Due to its chemical structure, nitrogen atoms need more energy to break down and react with other substances. On the other hand, oxygen is a much more reactive gas, as oxygen molecules break down easily. On the contrary, nitrogen gas enables obtaining non-reactive environments where necessary.
The non-reactive feature of nitrogen is its greatest feature, and so this gas is used to prevent slow and rapid oxidation. The electronics industry is an excellent example of this use because slow oxidation can occur in the form of corrosion during the production of PCB’s (printed circuit boards) and other small components. In this case, nitrogen is used to displace or replace air to better protect the end product.
X-Treme Series Powder Storage Cabinet is an ideal environment, an effective method, especially in cases where oxidation and corrosion are possible. Thanks to the positive pressure it provides, it prevents moisture penetration into the dry cabinet and provides a safe environment for the materials inside the dry cabinet.