Patented Metals with Extremely High Carbide Content

Share this Article

Metal materials with remarkable properties. This has been the focus of Swedish company VBN Components since the very start. In the middle of the financial crisis in 2008, VBN saw the opportunity to turn the steel business upside down by using additive manufacturing of high strength, carbide-rich materials. Today they present a range of patented alloys with unique performance.

The Vibenite® materials

VBN Components nurtures the Swedish heritage within the metal industry by continuously developing new and improved materials branded Vibenite®. Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to produce industrial steel with purity as a key factor. VBN takes this to the next level by 3D printing materials unique in their composition, offering exceptional wear resistance. Their properties are achieved by a patented additive manufacturing process through which metal materials with 100% density can be produced. Small sized uniformly distributed carbides in a specific matrix are the reason for the materials’ performance. They are all produced from a base of gas atomized metal powder and are therefore classified as powder metallurgy materials.

Vibenite® technology allows the user to switch to a more wear resistant material than what can be produced with traditional manufacturing. When 3D printing, most production and transportation steps are eliminated, material usage optimized, and environmental impact significantly reduced. Both performance and life-time of components increase with Vibenite®. These properties are easily tested by simply printing a full-quality prototype and running it! Better material properties are normally not heard of in the 3D printing business today, where typically difficult geometries are promoted.

Your application of choice can be printed with Vibenite® materials.

Cross section of shaper cutter showing a 100% dense material.

Hardness of Vibenite® materials compared to H13, a common tool steel.

Vibenite® 290, the world’s hardest steel

Today there are five different types of Vibenite® materials, with a hardness range from 58-72 HRC (600-1100 HV). Among them we find the world’s hardest steel, Vibenite® 290 with 25% carbide content. Its hardness of 72 HRC means it could never be processed traditionally. It was recently put through two abrasion tests to measure wear against rock, in collaboration with Robit Plc. The results spoke for themselves; Vibenite® 290 showed only 50% of the wear rate compared to reference material H500 (51 HRC) in the first test, and 25% of the wear rate in the second. H500 is commonly used in these types of abrasion lab-tests.

Total wear in grams in high-speed slurry pot test.

Vibenite® 480 – a new type of cemented carbide

Recently, VBN Components announced that they can print cemented carbide. This type of material has previously been considered “impossible” to print, due to high carbide content. Vibenite® 480 contains an astonishing ~65% of carbides, which really beats al the odds. There is no mixing, drying, pressing or sintering needed, as in the traditional process. It has a long-term heat resistance of 750°C, is corrosion resistant and magnetic. Vibenite® 480 is niched both towards applications where steel is normally used, but where replacing it with hard metal would increase production efficiency, and also towards hard metal applications with complex geometry. Since it combines the best of two material worlds – powder metallurgy high-speed steel and cemented carbide, it is referred to as “hybrid carbide”.

3D Benchy printed with Vibenite® 480.

Milestones and future projects

These material innovations have raised quite a lot of attention. Already in 2013, VBN Components was awarded with Sweden’s largest and most important innovation prize, SKAPA, established in honor of Alfred Nobel. In that same year, Swedish steel giant Uddeholms AB contested VBN’s first patent regarding high purity in high carbon content materials. It took five years before the battle was finally settled, in favor of VBN Components, at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. Not long thereafter, just before Christmas of 2018, a multi-million license agreement was signed with a global engineering group. It implies an exclusive license within a specific niche of high-strength components, which is kept confidential for now.

VBN Components is the only company 3D printing alloys with high carbon content, resulting in hard and wear resistant unique materials. The extremely high cleanliness of Vibenite® alloys gives very high fatigue resistance. Following this path, VBN will continue developing new metal alloys and novel ways to print these. The possibilities are vast, from “Vibenite® Combo” which implies printing Vibenite® upon other existing components, to “Vibenite® Grado” which would give different properties in different parts of the component.

Share this Article

Recent News

Fortify Adds Two New Composite 3D Printers, Customization Software

Bassetti Buys 3D Printing MES 3DTrust


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like


Benny Buller on VELO3D’s SPACtacular Rise in Metal 3D Printing

2021 has already been a SPACtacular year for the 3D printing industry, with several companies already announcing mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). This includes Markforged, Rocket Lab, and...


Materialise Has Option to Acquire 3D Printing MES Company Link3D

Belgian 3D printing service and software company Materialise (Nasdaq: MTLS) has announced that it has an option to acquire Link3D. The transaction will close later this year, but the company...


3D Printing Bureaus on the Rise: Sandvik’s BEAMIT Acquires 3T Additive Manufacturing

The BEAMIT Group has acquired polymer and metal additive manufacturing (AM) provider 3T Additive Manufacturing from the German holding group AM Global. The deal represents the first step towards BEAMIT’s...

3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup: April 10, 2021

We’ve got another packed week of webinars and virtual events for you, starting with Hannover Messe 2021 on Monday. What else is coming up this week: ASTM CoE’s personnel certificate...


View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.