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Elementum 3D to lead “Proliferation of AM Aluminum Alloy Material Datasets” team

The company was awarded $2,875,000 from America Makes to expand availability of statistically based, industrially relevant AM material

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America Makes has selected a proposal from Elementum 3D, a leading developer and supplier of metal additive manufacturing (AM) advanced materials, print parameters, and services, aimed at qualifying its commercially available, high-strength A7050-RAM2 aluminum additive manufacturing feedstock, for funding under the “Proliferation of AM Materials Datasets” project call.

The program’s goal is to generate material property datasets with high statistical power for industrially relevant aluminum and nickel alloys, with a focus on accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing in the American aerospace, automotive, defense, and energy sectors. With these data sets in place, engineers can confidently apply these materials for critical applications with an extremely low tolerance for failure.

Heading the project, Elementum 3D will incorporate products and services from additive manufacturing software, hardware, and researchers, including:

Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein, Elementum 3D president and founder, emphasized the impact of America Makes’ commitment to advancing AM material datasets, stating, “America Makes’ push to advance AM material datasets is monumental for the manufacturing industry. It stimulates greater confidence in high-strength aluminum print quality and broadens the AM supply chain. We are excited to join forces with the other awardees. Together, our expansive knowledge and expertise in materials development establishes the future of AM materials.”

“We congratulate Elementum 3D on their selection for the America Makes Proliferation of AM Material Datasets, and EOS is proud to play a significant supporting role in the initiative,” said Yash Parikh, process engineering consultant at EOS. “We are dedicated to the project through our cost-sharing pledge and steadfast commitment to realizing the desired production results for customers and are thrilled to embark on this project as an esteemed research partner, with a focus on providing guidance on qualification and best practices to expedite it.”

Manufacturers consistently express the need for access to lightweight, high-strength aluminum materials that offer excellent fatigue and stress corrosion cracking resistance for rapid on-demand components. This is why Elementum 3D’s printable A7050-RAM2 is so well regarded and earned the gold medal in the 2020 US Air Force Advanced Manufacturing Olympics first-ever “Material Hurdles” event.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology Office (OSD(R&E)) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funded this project. The program awards Elementum 3D with project cost reimbursements up to $2,875,000. Elementum 3D and consortium partners will commit at least 50% of this amount as cost share, for a total project effort of more than $4.2 million.

Results of this America Makes program will be available to America Makes members as well as the U.S. Government.

An optical micrograph of additively manufactured (3D printed) aluminum 7050. Image of hot tearing, which is expected for unaltered aluminum 7050.

“Most industries are just beginning to see the opportunities provided by additive manufacturing,” said Steve Walton, head of product, Dyndrite, “Broader adoption of additive manufacturing in critical industries like defense, energy, and aerospace has been hampered by lack of public, traceable, statistically significant data sets that characterize high value materials. We look forward to working alongside Elementum 3D and America Makes to reverse this paradigm. We are helping to proliferate knowledge that enables new solutions through the adoption of additive manufacturing.”

As a part of this project, Dyndrite will provide copies of its LPBF Pro software to enable rapid build preparation, materials and process development, and report generation for qualifications for the EOS metal 3D printing machines selected for this effort. LPBF Pro will largely automate the process of generating additive material data sets, traditionally a tedious manual task. the software will also improve the process of communicating methodology and achieving repeatable results, also a traditionally user-error-prone process.

Castheon, an ADDMAN Group Company, will provide statistically relevant data for part design utilizing Aluminum A7050-RAM2. Aerospace clients often require high-strength aluminum alloys, facilitating the consolidation of functional and structural components. Mark Saberton, ADDMAN’s chief technical officer, emphasizes, “As Castheon expands manufacturing operations to address the increasing demand for Additive Manufacturing, the expansion of data sets for this high-performance material stands as a significant milestone. This will empower our customers to expedite the development of innovative designs and system integration.”

Eaton will partner with Elementum 3D to develop a design allowable dataset for their A7050-RAM2 material. Generating allowables based on new C/D basis guidelines from MMPDS enables Eaton to more quickly and cost effectively develop superior additive manufacturing solutions to some of our most stubborn design challenges. “We have been impressed by the performance of the A7050-RAM2 material and are excited about possible applications in our extensive aluminum portfolio,” said Eaton Aerospace’s Director of Additive Manufacturing and Digital Design, Mike York. “A printable, high-strength aluminum allows Eaton to bring to market superior product solutions that are lighter, better performing, and more sustainable than conventional counterparts.”

Eaton brings significant experience developing and deploying statistically based material allowables for a variety of metal additive manufacturing processes, including L-PBF, EB-PBF, and cold spray for aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel materials. Eaton hopes to guide aerospace product qualification expectations for both military and commercial platforms, including regulatory bodies such as the FAA and EASA.

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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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