Additive manufacturing is relatively new production concept, based on obtaining near net shape parts, made from standard industrial metal semi-products -- powders or wire.
By its technical principle, additive manufacturing are representing the method of "3D printing" but for metals. Consumable material in the form of powder or wire is melting by focused source of energy in the way, when molten material is controllably depositing in the given place of three dimension space, step-by-step forming near net shape product.
One of such focused energy sources is electron beam. Moreover, for such application, the full power of electron-beam gun can be just of few kW, due to the fact, that in a single period of time it is required to melt only small portion of material.
Features of gas-discharge electron-beam guns tend to suggest about good prospects of their usage in additive manufacturing. One of the most important problems in additive manufacturing as well as for the other known electron-beam technologies, is the decrease of cost of equipment. Ability of gas-discharge electron-beam guns to work in rough vacuum and relatively low price of these guns may provide beneficial competitive advantage during operation and maintenance. Furthermore, ability to generate good electron beam under rather low accelerating voltage (from 5 kV and higher) provides additional technological capabilities for gas-discharge EB guns (electron-beam) in additive manufacturing.
JSC NVO "Chervona Hvylia" has started research & development works on integration of gas-discharge electron-beam guns of small power into additive technologies of manufacturing.