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Uniformity Labs launches UniJet SS17-4PH for Desktop Metal’s Binder Jetting Production System platforms

The ultra-low porosity stainless steel powder delivers double the green strength of existing stainless-steel powders

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Engineered materials company Uniformity Labs has made available its ultra-low porosity 17-4PH stainless steel powder UniJet SS17-4PH Performance for the Desktop Metal Production System.

During the qualification on Desktop Metal’s Production System, the physical and mechanical properties of UniJet 17-4PH powder were extensively evaluated. The highly uniform powder bed layering of UniJet 17-4PH delivers double the green strength, and an average of 20% less shrinkage than other stainless-steel powders qualified for use with Desktop Metal’s Production System. These factors, alongside the highest powder bed uniformity in the industry, mean far better-sintered part geometric accuracy and less breakage of green and brown parts during post-print handling and depowdering – resulting in high process yield at high throughput.

One of the key advantages of UniJet 17-4PH is its exceptional apparent and tapped densities – resulting in green parts with many more contact points between particles and higher density (10% reduction in relative porosity) than the standard binder jetting powders. This allows for green parts with nearly twice the magnitude of transverse rupture strength across all layer thicknesses. Such green parts, alongside the very high flowability of Uniformity powder, make fabricating more complex thin-walled or heavier green parts with larger aspect ratios viable by minimizing breakage during de-powdering of large, high aspect ratio and geometrically complex parts with fine features and channels.

Uniformity’s UniJet 17-4PH powder on the Production System consistently achieved about 25% less shrinkage in X, 19% less shrinkage in Y, and almost 20% less shrinkage in Z axes than the standard binder jetting powder across all layer thicknesses. The powder reportedly repeatably delivers 99-100% final part density for best-in-class material properties. UniJetTM 17-4PH powder yielded parts with, on average, 3x lower standard deviation in green density than standard binder jetting powder. This roughly translates into 3x better absolute geometric tolerance in sintered parts fabricated from UniJetTM powder using Desktop Metal’s Production System.

Uniformity Labs launches stainless steel UniJet SS17-4PH for Desktop Metal's Binder Jetting Production System platforms.
High-resolution CT scan of bone structure, STL file (left), Sintered part UniFuseTM (center), Green part BJT L25 that didn’t survive de-powdering (right).

The highly flowable powder improves throughput by allowing repeatable fast layering at thicker layers. At 75um layer thickness and with 20% reduced shrinkage (more parts fit on the bed), a net throughput benefit of approximately 25% relative to standard binder jetting powders for Desktop Metal’s Production System – thereby enabling substantial cost reduction for parts manufacturers to begin to plan for the adoption of metal AM at scale. At 110um layer thickness – still delivering all the beneficial improvements in green strength, uniformity of powder bed, and sintered density relative to standard inert gas-atomized binder jetting powders printing at 65um layer thickness – the throughput improvement is 80%+.

“The application of Uniformity UniJet 17-4 PH stainless steel for BJT delivers mechanical and process excellence for our customers who require materials that perform to the highest standards across each step of the production process,” said Adam Hopkins, Founder and CEO of Uniformity. “Our powders deliver superior mechanical properties, printing yield, and process stability, delivering repeatable production scale binder jetting.”

Uniformity Labs launches stainless steel UniJet SS17-4PH for Desktop Metal's Binder Jetting Production System platforms.

“Desktop Metal is delighted to offer this highly advanced 17-4 PH stainless steel powder from Uniformity Labs for our Production System platform,” said Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “This latest addition to our material portfolio allows us to binder jet 17-4 PH  stainless steel materials critical to producing complex designs. Binder jetting powders processed with Uniformity Labs technology enables unmatched mechanical properties and can further improve the economics of printing. We look forward to continuing to collaborate  with the Uniformity team.”

“This is not the first time we’ve partnered together to develop materials, and Uniformity’s powders have a history of exhibiting superior mechanical properties and higher machine productivity, which will help us further our mission to build things better together in the medical device industry,” said Shri Shetty, CEO of Zeda – a partner of Uniformity Labs.

“The combination of Uniformity’s breakthrough powders and the superior capabilities of Desktop’s P-1 Production System enables us to deliver fully dense, higher quality parts, faster and more cost-effectively for our customers,” said Nate Higgins, President of FreeFORM Technologies.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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