Sandvik and Renishaw Qualifying New 3D Printing Materials for Production Applications

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Founded in 1862, Swedish company Sandvik has been investing in metal 3D printing since 2013, working to increase its focus on the technology and grow its presence in the industry. At last year’s formnext, the company announced that it had installed several RenAM 500Q quad laser 3D printers by global engineering company Renishaw. The doors closed last week at the huge formnext 2019 event, and the two companies are partnering up for a second time.

L-R: Mikael Schuisky, VP R&D and Operations, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing; Kristian Egeberg, President, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing; William Lee, Chief Executive at Renishaw; Andy Robinson, Director of Additive Manufacturing (Acting) at Renishaw.

Their joint goal is to qualify new materials for production applications in 3D printing, including new alloy compositions, featuring excellent material properties, that have been optimized specifically for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology.

“Much of the innovation in AM in the next few years will come from the pairing of enhanced machine performance with improved alloys. Better alloys mean better material properties, enabling AM components that are even more efficient and cost-effective,” said Stephen Crownshaw, AM Business Manager at Renishaw. “The consistency of Renishaw’s latest AM systems, combined with Sandvik’s material expertise, provides tremendous opportunities to advance AM processes and to make a stronger business case for AM.”

Renishaw knows a little something when it comes to metal 3D printing alloys, and Sandvik is no slouch either – the company has one of the market’s widest-ranging alloy programs for additive manufacturing. Since 2018, the firm has been working with Renishaw at its AM division, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, to develop process parameters for several of its metal powders, such as stainless and maraging steels and the newest nickel-based superalloys from its Osprey range.

“With our 157-year materials knowledge, our comprehensive range of in-house steels, duplex and super-duplex stainless steels, as well as nickel-based alloys and our new titanium powders, Sandvik now offers the widest range of AM materials to the market under the Osprey brand. Renishaw’s open machines have enabled us to rapidly optimize process parameters for our alloys for use in many different applications,” stated Mikael Schuisky, VP of R&D and Operations at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

“AM is transforming the manufacturing landscape, with better materials and equipment being the driving forces behind that change. Sandvik’s unique end-to-end process knowledge – spanning raw materials, powder production, additive manufacturing and post-processing methods such as machining – puts us in the ideal position to help manufacturers and customers to exploit this exciting technology. Renishaw’s latest quad laser systems also help us to extract AM’s full potential.”

Sandvik’s work with Renishaw in developing these parameters has been helpful in coming up with various ways to make small, but important, changes to its alloy composition, in order to optimize their mechanical properties for LPBF 3D printing, while also staying within ASTM specifications; various examples of this important work include a crack-free Osprey HX nickel superalloy and a maraging steel with increased hardness and strength.

The company is clearly invested in…well…AM investments. Sandvik inaugurated a titanium atomizer and powder processing facility not too long ago, and now plans to qualify the alloys in order to sell them for medical and industrial applications. In addition to qualifying materials to sell to other manufacturers, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has also created its own range of additive production applications.

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[Images: Sandvik]

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