additive manufacturing heat treatment in vacuum furnaces

ECM Technologies’ expertise at the service of additive manufacturing

18 February 2021

Supply of vacuum furnaces designed for post additive manufacturing treatments


Since 1964 and the development of its first vacuum furnaces, ECM Technologies has been able to combine its expertise in heat treatment with its mastery of vacuum, heat and process gases to be able to respond to the various industrial applications and technical challenges of its customers. Technological developments in furnaces and processes follow, and sometimes anticipate, changes in certain markets.

Among these, metallic additive manufacturing has shifted from fast prototyping means to a real production tool for medium to large scale production. This technology now offers new development perspectives for professionals in many sectors, such as aeronautics, automotive or medical.

In many cases, parts issued from additive manufacturing require heat treatment to ensure optimal mechanical strength, requiring in some cases protection against oxidation. ECM Technologies’ Turquoise vacuum furnace is the ideal tool for post-additive manufacturing heat treatment of high value-added parts. ECM Technologies has recently supplied several furnaces of this range to an important player in the aerospace industry, wishing to ensure the perfect resistance of its parts (in this case titanium components).


Vacuum heat treatment: quality and reliability


The Turquoise vacuum furnace allows clean and high-temperature heat treatments. In the case of the treatment of titanium alloy parts resulting from additive manufacturing, vacuum heat treatments allow a relaxation of the stresses generated during the manufacturing process. The parts will therefore be more resistant and will keep their structural stability and dimensions.

To fight against oxidation of sensitive alloys such as titanium, nickel or tungsten; furnaces of the Turquoise range are designed to guarantee very strong tightness, and thus, excellent leakage rates. These furnaces with fully metallic hot zones, allow sensitive or high value-added parts’ treatment for advanced applications. The absence of dust generation from the furnace makes possible accelerated cooling under neutral gas convection, which optimizes productivity.


An expertise opening up new applications


Titanium, cobalt or nickel based alloys, represent a strong application potential. This is the case in the medial industry and especially in the manufacturing of implants. The Turquoise vacuum furnace, which is AMS compatible and can be equipped with dry, turbomolecular or cryogenic pumps, is the ideal tool for this type of application. Indeed, this fully metallic equipment maintains a high level of cleanliness that will not pollute parts and maximizes biocompatibility.  The recent supply of several Turquoise furnaces by ECM Technologies to a leading medical corporation to heat treat medical implants issued from additive manufacturing, reflects the rich application potential of these furnaces, and the perfect integration of the Turquoise furnace in a sensitive environment in a context of mass production.