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SSAB launches emission-free steel powder for AM

The recycled SSAB Zero steel powder enables high-strength, lightweight structural possibilities

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SSAB, an industrial steel producer, has launched the world’s first emission-free steel powder for commercial deliveries, made of recycled SSAB Zero steel. The product will create opportunities for customers to 3D print in steel produced without fossil carbon dioxide emissions. The powder combines the properties of SSAB’s high-strength steel with the light structural possibilities of 3D printing.

“This is a game-changer in the world of 3D printed steel. SSAB has already proven it’s possible to produce steel without carbon dioxide emissions. Now we’re merging emission-free steel with powder technology to enable sustainable 3D printed design with unlimited imagination,” said Johnny Sjöström, EVP and Head of Special Steels at SSAB.

The production of steel is a large source of CO2 emissions when it comes to 3D printing of steel products. By pulverizing SSAB’s emission-free steel with fossil-free energy sources only, the carbon dioxide emissions from the steelmaking are reduced to virtually zero.

Last year, SSAB launched its first conventional steel powder to the market, SSAB AM Engineering, and now the portfolio is expanded with SSAB AM Tough Zero. SSAB also offers its unique fossil-free steel, based on HYBRIT technology, as a powder in limited volumes.

In 2020, SSAB in Oxelösund invested in a steel powder production facility to produce premium advanced high-strength steel powder for AM as a complement to SSAB’s regular steel offering. Steel powder is ideally suited for a limited series of tailormade components or spare parts requiring high structural integrity and optimal functionality. It can be used in a wide variety of industries, from consumer goods to heavy machinery to automotive and more.

SSAB launches emission-free steel powder for AM. The recycled SSAB Zero steel powder enables high-strength, lightweight structures.

“3D printing high-strength steel components will help reduce the amount of raw material used, and cut the weight, and increase functionality of the final product. This is especially important for industries, such as automotive or heavy machinery, that are trying to save weight, increase performance, and reduce their CO2 footprint,” said Jesper Vang, Head of Powder Technology at SSAB.

The company has already provided prototype fossil-free steel powder to selected customers. In 2023, HT Laser 3D printed the first fossil-free steel component suitable for a forest machine, and mining company Epiroc revealed a prototype hydraulic block for a rock drill in conventional steel powder and said it was exploring the possibility of using fossil-free powder. In 2022, Triwa launched a watch, its first consumer product made with fossil-free steel powder.

To make powder, molten steel tailored for 3D printing is broken up by high-pressurized atomization gas – creating small spherical droplets which are solidified into powder. The steel powder is also produced using only fossil-free energy sources.

SSAB Fossil-free steel is produced using HYBRIT technology, developed by SSAB with mining company LKAB and energy company Vattenfall. Instead of using coal to remove the oxygen from the iron ore, the HYBRIT technology uses hydrogen gas, produced with fossil-free energy, to make sponge iron for steel production. The carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated, and instead the by-product is water. Today, the company’s Fossil-free steel is only available for pilot deliveries.

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