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Joe Kennedy Joins 6K: First Politician to Sit on a 3D Printing Company’s Board

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Former Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy III joins 6K’s board of directors after 15 years in politics. The leading metal powder producer suggested that the newly appointed politician would add a strategic voice for clean energy production initiatives at the highest government level. 6K is revolutionizing feedstock for premium powder production with its UniMelt platform, generating new materials set to advance industries across the additive manufacturing (AM) spectrum.

Metal 3D printing. Image courtesy of 6K.

An American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district from 2013 to 2021, Kennedy has been a long-time supporter of climate action, clean energy development, and local manufacturing. During his tenure as a U.S. congressman, Kennedy pushed for clean energy technology.

From 2015 through 2020, he was even a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – which has jurisdiction over the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy (DOE). In Washington, he was a vocal advocate for maximizing domestic resources in a responsible way, committing to renewable energy technologies and fuel efficiency measures, and supporting the region’s emerging clean energy industry.

In line with his progressive stances on climate change and net-zero emissions (which can often be at odds with one another), Kennedy’s 2020 senate campaign managers indicated that his family’s trust sold their investments in the fossil fuel industry, which had been estimated at $1.75 million worth of stock in fossil fuel companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil. As one of the family trust beneficiaries, Kennedy told media site Boston.com, “He has never exercised any control over his family trusts, but fully supports the decision to divest.” Kennedy’s initiatives have supported environmentally sustainable energies and related jobs, including solar panel installation and energy storage innovation.

Joe Kennedy Advocates for a Greener Future as he Joins 6K’s Board of Directors. Image courtesy of 6K.

6K accelerates the industrial transformation of advanced material production with sustainable manufacturing through its UniMelt system, the world’s first industrial microwave plasma platform. The company’s name, 6K, represents 6,000 degrees, the temperature of operation of UniMelt and, is also the temperature of the sun’s surface. 6K uses proprietary advanced plasma processing and industrial systems to create materials at exact specifications.

The company’s 6K Additive division has over 20 years of expertise in metals reclamation, used by automotive and aerospace aluminum suppliers for its TY-GEM titanium compacts used in the aluminum melt process. Its ISO9001-facility reclaims and processes over 500 tons of the titanium alloy Ti-64 per year and is in the process of building a state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot automated production facility for AM powders.

“6K’s system takes the two-to three-day production cycle of legacy technologies, which consume huge amounts of energy, and replaces it with a clean, two-second process that uses a fraction of the energy,” said Kennedy. “When we talk about clean energy and production responsibility, advanced materials and next-generation systems have to be a part of that conversation. 6K’s UniMelt system is a next-generation system that this sector desperately needs.”

6K Additive can produce Ti-64 spheres. Image courtesy of 6K.

According to 6K, even though countries continue to pass legislation to shift to more environmentally friendly technologies, such as electric vehicles, the materials used to power them are only as clean as the production processes and legacy technologies used throughout the supply chain, which are unsustainable. These environmentally unfriendly processes fly in the face of climate change and have a dramatic negative impact on the environment. Instead, 6K proposes its unique UniMelt technology can deliver a cleaner process, while batteries could be designed with more extended range and shorter charge times, potentially accelerating wider adoption.

Kennedy suggested that currently, there are virtually no battery materials being produced in the United States, costing the country good jobs and a tremendous economic opportunity. As a new board member for 6K, he sees great potential in changing this dynamic, leading to cost-effective and environmentally-friendly battery material production in U.S. soil. He said the company is “powerfully aligned with our new administration’s commitment to U.S. job creation and clean technology” and expects to mainly solidify the leadership on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing for his home state of Massachusetts.

Currently tackling energy storage materials and AM, 6K claims its UniMelt platform offers multifaceted sustainability benefits. For example, if a legacy battery cathode production plant were replaced with a UniMelt system, by 2030 100% of wastewater would have been eliminated, that’s 210 billion liters, plus 37 billion pounds of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases, 67 billion kWh of energy – a 70% savings–, and a 90% reduction of water, that’s 177 billion liters.

CEO Aaron Bent described that having Kennedy on the company’s team helps strengthen its sustainability strategy by propelling 6K to the forefront of the conversation with government initiatives in organizations like the Department of Defense and DOE. Moreover, 6K’s technology has the potential to change the paradigm of how advanced materials are produced, offering a tangible representation of the clean energy technology Kennedy pushed for during his time as a congressman, which he can now drive forward as a member of 6K’s board of directors.

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