6K launches Premium Metal Powders for Additive Manufacturing from sustainable sources

Published 04 November 2019

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: manufacturing, automotive, additive manufacturing, materials, tech, aerospace, 6k

The UniMelt process used by 6K delivers premium spherical powder stock for AM

By using a combination of its UniMelt microwave plasma platform and in-house Alloy Reclamation technology, 6K has announced the launch of its new ‘best-in-class’ additive manufacturing powders.

The ability to reclaim materials and process almost any type of metal, alloy, or ceramic feedstock - including machining swarf, 3D printed support material, or botched prints - into premium powders means that any alloy that is currently capable of being machined has the potential to become powder for additive manufacturing.

“Furthermore,” added 6K’s CEO Dr Aaron Bent, “we can create new AM powders previously not possible: powders engineered from non-eutectic alloys such as high-entropy alloys, or designer aluminium alloys capable of printing in powder bed fusion systems.”

6K’s goal is to use 100 per cent of the materials that enter the supply chain, providing AM end-users a new way to manage project costs and control supply chain, while also advancing progress toward a circular economy in AM.

“If the AM industry is to succeed in expanding to a far greater number of parts and market applications, powder production technology has to advance to provide a far stronger business case,” commented Dr Bent.

“Part of enabling that expansion will come from a lower total cost structure and higher performance powders, both of which are possible with 6K’s process. But we need to go beyond that, to powders and business models that consider the full production cycle cost of building AM parts.”

The company states that it is already reclaiming and selling over 500 tons of Ti-64 per year into the aluminium alloying industry for aerospace, medical, and automotive products. This provides an engineered feedstock for its UniMelt plasma system: the ‘world’s only microwave production scale plasma’, which offers a reported highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination, and capable of high throughput production of advanced battery powders, phosphors, AM materials, and more.

6K is in the process of building a state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot production facility for additive manufacturing powders in Pittsburgh, which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020, with the company to make its worldwide debut at Formnext in Frankfurt, 19 - 22 November.

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