Industrial metal additive manufacturing OEM AddUp Solutions, which was established as a joint venture by French companies Michelin and Fives, announced that it’s collaborating with engineered materials producer Uniformity Labs to increase the productivity of titanium alloys using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology. Specifically, the two companies are using the AddUp FormUp 350 3D printer, which was launched last year, and Uniformity’s Ti64 Grade 23 titanium alloy.
The immediate goal is to market Uniformity’s Ti64 Grade 23 alloy together to both AddUp and Uniformity’s customer bases as an advanced material option for the FormUp 350 LPBF system. Then hopefully, a partnership will grow that uses metal AM processes, like LPBF, to target regulated aerospace and healthcare production…both major sectors in the AM industry.
“Uniformity Lab’s metal powders combined with AddUp’s unique roller demonstrate the ability to unlock applications where demanding surface finish and mechanical requirements combined with high levels of productivity are critical. Initial testing of Ti64 Grade 23 on the FormUp350 exhibited increased machine productivity, helping our customers to justify applications which to date may have been out of reach,” Rush LaSelle, the recently appointed CEO of North American subsidiary AddUp, Inc., said in a press release. “Our engineering teams continue to collaborate in qualifying Ti64 Grade 23 medical applications and have already begun planning for additional materials to more broadly serve AddUp customers in healthcare and other high-value markets.”
The modular FormUp 350 is an open LPBF platform that offers both user safety and high productivity in a scalable package. As LaSelle mentioned, the system features a “unique” roller technology, which is said to enable a 20% higher density in the print bed for better surface finish, fine feature resolution, and the ability to achieve extreme unsupported overhangs. The FormUp 350 also has a bidirectional coating system with what AddUp says is 40% faster powder spreading, more than 160 accessible parameters, up to four 500W lasers, user-friendly interface, and machine feeding. In addition, an autonomous powder module, powder storage, and unfused powder recovering and sieving keeps human operators safe. Combine all of these features with a complete monitoring solution to ensure quality assurance post-print, and customers can enjoy a real Industry 4.0 solution.
On the other side of this collaboration, Uniformity Labs uses its high-density metal powders and print processing knowledge to help customers make improvements to manufacturing at scale. The company’s patented materials technology enables more throughput, residual stress reductions, and powders with densities up to 85% that are more supposedly flowable than other powders of similar size. Uniformity already has an ongoing partnership with Desktop Metal to develop metal powders for binder jetting, and reports that for powder bed technology, like AddUp offers, it can achieve more reliable printing due to less warpage, and save time due to reduced use of support structures.
The company’s Ti64 alloy, which was developed in-house by expert AM innovators and materials scientists, displays what it calls “best-in-class” mechanical performance, in addition to a vastly improved throughput, surface roughness, and, as Uniformity reports, the ability to increase part production by up to 100% or more in comparison to 3D printing other Ti64 alloys with similar mechanical properties.
“We’re excited about the potential of this collaboration. The advanced features of the FormUp 350 and the optimized material properties of our ultra-low porosity Ti64 Grade 23 powder produce the highest quality printed alloy ideal for medical and other high-performance applications such as aerospace and energy,” explained Uniformity CEO Adam Hopkins. “Ti64 is the starting point as we will look to verify other materials on the FormUp350 platform with AddUp.”
Both companies will be attending RAPID + TCT 2022 in Detroit this week, with Uniformity Labs at Booth #1942 and AddUp at Booth #2625. Keep an eye out for the 3DPrint.com team on the show floor as well!
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