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Metal Powders for Additive Manufacturing

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In this article, you will learn:

  1. What are metal powders?

  2. What is their role in AM processes?

  3. Which industries use additive manufacturing?

  4. What is the significance of the quality of powders in the manufacturing process?

  5. How does AMAZEMET contribute to the AM industry with its portfolio of metal powders?

  6. What are potential future advancements for metal powders in AM?

The Manufacturing Process of Metal Powder

Creating high-quality powders for metal additive manufacturing is a sophisticated process. Manufacturing process involves transforming materials in their solid state into fine particles through atomization – a key powder manufacturing process. Gas-atomized metal powders dominate the field, but the process has limitations, especially in R&D scenarios where gas atomizers lack flexibility for material development.

AMAZEMET uses the power of ultrasonics to create metal powders designed for additive manufacturing technologies. The production process begins with feedstock materials of any form or shape, including machining chips, broken parts, rods, wires, or pre-existing powders. This can be a route to create sustainable metal powder. These materials are then either melted in a crucible or directly at the sonotrode, undergoing the process that transforms metal into atomized metal powder.

Moreover, the ultrasonic atomization process provides considerable control over the particle size distribution (PSD), which is essential for the quality of metal powder. Additionally, this powder production technology efficiently produces metal powder, with up to 80% usability for specific technologies. The process is adaptable for a wide range of elements and alloys, including reactive metal powders, Fe-based powders, and alloy powders based on different metals.

What’s so special about ultrasonic technology?

AMAZEMET’s metal powder manufacturing technique and metal powder portfolio are what set it apart in the metal additive manufacturing industry. The innovative additive manufacturing company produces powders, employing cutting-edge powder technologies and manufacturing technologies to create a variety of premium metal powders. These include custom alloy powders suitable for different additive manufacturing processes, direct energy deposition (DED), including powder bed fusion (PBF), and laser metal deposition. The metal powder range includes powders with tailored particle sizes:

  • At 20 kHz, the process produces powders with a d50 of 80-100 µm, suitable for EBM and DED

  • At 40 kHz, the process yields powders with a d50 of 45-60 µm, suitable for LPBF technologies and EBM

  • At 60 kHz, the process creates powders suitable for binder jetting and LPBF technologies requiring narrower PSDs, with a d50 of 30-45 µm.

 

This flexibility in powder properties enables manufacturers to choose the most suitable powder for their additive manufacturing processes.

High-quality metal 3D printing powder production

The quality metal powder is crucial for successful additive manufacturing. The quality of the powder materials directly influences the outcome of the process. The spherical powder shape and well-controlled powder size ensure excellent flowability and packing density, making them perfect for powder bed fusion. Those properties result in much higher flowability and spreadability. This is an important aspect of powder bed fusion, where the consistent interaction of the energy source with the powdered metals is crucial for consistent print material properties. Additionally, ultrasonically atomized powders have little to no satellites or very fine particles below 10 microns. That is also far less prone to oxidize, and they don’t create fine dust, which gets everywhere, creating fire and explosion risks, among other safety issues.

Diverse Metal Powders Portfolio for Metal Additive Manufacturing

The powder range includes alloys with most elements found on the periodic table, including:

  • iron-based alloy powders,
  • superalloy powders,
  • titanium alloys,
  • reactive metal powders like magnesium alloys or magnesium-lithium alloys,
  • refractory alloys with melting points up to 3000 °C,
  • even atomization of semi-metallic materials like silicon or germanium.

 

AMAZEMET’s powder portfolio offers a broad spectrum of powders designed to meet the diverse needs of additive powder portfolios for the industry.

 

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AMAZEMET leverages ultrasonic capabilities to produce a wide range of additive powders directly. Manufacturers can access an array of metal powder options, including on-demand powders tailored to specific needs, from standard materials to custom alloy compositions. Multiple examples of already atomized materials can be found in AMAZEMET’s Book of Powders for those looking for a reliable source of premium metal powders for their AM projects.

Customization in Metal Powders Production with Advanced Specifications

AMAZEMET’s commitment to customization extends to the specifications of the powders that are produced. Their advanced process transforms metal into powders with tailored particle size distributions (PSD). These PSD specs are optimized for various additive processes. This adaptability ensures that metal powders feature the desired qualities, whether it be for spherical metal powder for PBF or coarser granules for other processes. The customization allows for a versatile range of metal powders specially designed for different AM components.

On-Demand and Specialty Powder Production for Diverse Applications

On-demand and specialty powder production at AMAZEMET isn’t just about quantity—it’s about quality. Quality-controlled material production ensures the highest performance in various powder applications. Depending on the customer’s requirements, the production processes can yield gas-atomized metal or even spray powdered metal. This flexibility enables AMAZEMET to cater to a wide variety of additive manufacturing components, setting them apart in the industry.

Role of Optimized Metal Powders in Key Industry Sectors

In the heart of key industry sectors, the optimized, quality powders are showing their worth. Metal wear resistance is a crucial aspect in the automotive and aerospace industries, and AMAZEMET’s powders, which are processed to exhibit high wear resistance, are well-suited for these applications. Moreover, creating these metal powders involves integrating raw material processing and alloy optimization to facilitate industry-leading additive manufacturing solutions. The resulting powdered metals are high-quality and perfectly tailored to their respective applications.

Outlook

Looking into the future, the possibilities for metal powders are boundless, especially with the adoption of advanced metal additive technologies. For instance, the application of metal powder in large-scale additive production is on the rise. As such, the demand for high-quality powder materials is expected to grow. Additive manufacturing is also making headway in combining with traditional manufacturing technologies, further widening the spectrum of metal powder applications. The production of specialty metal powders, such as Fe-based and Ti-based powders, is poised to revolutionize numerous industry sectors.

AMAZEMET’s commitment to staying at the cutting edge of these developments is unwavering. Consequently, the constant exploration of new metal powder technologies and applications highlights AMAZEMET’s innovation. This, combined with their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, underlines their position as a leader in the AM industry. Whether you are looking to apply metal powder in new innovative ways or for existing processes, AMAZEMET is here to help. We are ready to support your journey in additive manufacturing.

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Explore AMAZEMET's research in additive manufacturing, which introduces new strategies in metallic glasses (MGs) and laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). Discover our advanced research contributing to significant developments in the field of materials science.

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