Advanced MaterialsMaterialsMetalsRefractory Metals

6K Additive’s tungsten powder qualified for Wayland Additive NeuBeam

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6K Additive, a division of 6K Inc. and leader in the sustainable production of materials for additive manufacturing, and Wayland Additive, developer of the NeuBeam metal additive manufacturing (AM) process, have announced that 6K Additive’s sustainably produced tungsten powder has been qualified for processing by Wayland’s NeuBeam print process to address new applications with parts made in the nuclear, aerospace and hypersonic sectors. This collaboration and qualification of 6K Additive’s tungsten powder will set the standard for high-strength, heat-resistant parts that are printed using the NeuBeam technology.

Tungsten is a refractory metal with the highest melting point of any metal at 3422°C / 6191°F making processing exceptionally challenging. Tungsten is known for its exceptional hardness, high melting point, and excellent thermal conductivity. It has been widely used in various industries including aerospace, defense, energy and medical where its unique properties are highly sought after. The combination of the NeuBeam EBM technology and 6K Additive produced tungsten powder also addresses the requirements sought after in the nuclear market.

Will Richardson, CEO of Wayland Additive explained: “Wayland Additive has removed the barriers associated with traditional e-beam technologies with our NeuBeam process, allowing a wider range of metals and alloys to be additively processed. 6K Additive can produce these hard-to-process materials at scale, ready for use in the NeuBeam-enabled Calibur3 system. We are particularly excited about the opportunities we are uncovering here in the UK for nuclear applications which require the material properties of tungsten.”

6K Additive’s tungsten powder qualified for Wayland Additive NeuBeam e-beam powder bed fusion (PBF) process

Frank Roberts, President of 6K Additive added: “The UniMelt process can create a virtually infinite range of materials, including hard-to-manufacture metals and alloys. While these materials have exceptional properties, they are equally hard to process with traditional AM technologies and often present commercial challenges due to their high cost. Through the combination of our two innovative technologies, 6K Additive and Wayland can produce and process metals that have previously proved elusive. The exceptional properties of refractory metals like tungsten can now be exploited fully through additive manufacturing, opening up exciting new applications in the nuclear, aerospace and defense sectors.”

6K Additive’s production-scale microwave plasma process, UniMelt®, precisely spheroidizes metal powders while controlling the chemistry and porosity of the final product. This revolutionary technology uses the microwave plasma process to manufacture many of the difficult-to-produce metal powders including refractories like tungsten, rhenium, tantalum, niobium and molybdenum. Yields of greater than 90% within the desired particle size as well as the ability to use scrap and revert as feedstock makes the process significantly more environmentally sustainable and commercially viable compared with traditional atomization technologies.

Wayland Additive’s NeuBeam is an e-beam powder bed fusion (PBF) process that effectively neutralizes the charge accumulation generated by the electron beam, which is a major limitation of traditional e-beam technologies. Eliminating the charge removes the need for pre-sintering of the bed, allowing parts to be easily removed without a hardened sinter cake. The NeuBeam process can produce fully dense parts in a wide range of materials, many of which are not compatible with traditional e-beam or laser PBF processes such as refractory metals and highly reflective alloys.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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