A few years ago, metal powder producer the Höganäs Group acquired Digital Metal, a small Sweden-based company with a proprietary binder jetting technology of the same name that was developed in 2013. The company produced more than 200,000 metal parts before its DM P2500 metal 3D printer was even made commercially available two years ago.
Along with its part production count, Digital Metal has continued to grow, introducing a fully automated production concept last fall, and just this week launched two new superalloy-grade materials meant for use in extreme applications.
“We have been receiving qualified requests for these materials from various large companies. Many producers within the aerospace and automotive business have long been anticipating high-quality superalloys that are suitable for 3D printing,” said Ralf Carlström, the General Manager at Digital Metal. “Now we can offer them the perfect combination – our unique binder jetting technology and superalloys that are specially developed for our printers.”
The company was the first to commercialize high-precision 3D metal printers for serial production of small, high-volume components. Digital Metal’s high precision binder jetting technology makes it possible to 3D print complex, detailed, high quality objects with a superior surface finish.
The types of companies that require complex parts with excellent surface finish are from the same industries – aerospace, automotive,chemical, and industrial – that are seeing an increasing demand for 3D printable superalloys. To meet this demand, Digital Metal has introduced two of its own superalloy grades that can be used in these types of extreme environments: DM 625 and DM 247.
Superalloys are metal materials that, even when subjected to high temperatures and stress, still show excellent corrosion resistance and strength, which makes them well-suited for more challenging applications. Unfortunately, using non-weldable materials, like MAR M247, in 3D printing is not easy, due to inherent thermal gradients and high solidification rates.
But Digital Metal materials are different. Its binder jetting technology has some unique properties that make it possible to 3D print superalloys – even grades that are not weldable – with near full density. The method works by printing in an ambient temperature without applying heat, and is then followed with a sintering step. Densification occurs without melting during the sintering process, and during cooling it happens with only a minimal amount of thermal gradients.
Both the DM 625 and the DM 247 superalloys have been subjected to plenty of in-house testing by Digital Metal, in order to make sure that they meet, and even exceed, customer expectations. DM 247 is based on MAR M247, which is non-weldable and often used in applications that deal with elevated temperatures, such as material for turbine blades. DM 625 is an Inconel 625-grade, which applications from aerospace and chemical processing equpiment to the nuclear and seawater industries.
Digital Metal’s new DM 625 and the DM 247 superalloys now join the company’s existing range of materials, which also includes titanium Ti6Al4V and stainless steel 17-4PH and 316L.
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Source/Images: Digital Metal]
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