EOS Releases Copper-Nickel 3D Printing Alloy in Partnership with Phillips Federal and Austal USA

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EOS, the global leader in metal additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, has released a new copper-nickel alloy for powder bed fusion (PBF) applications. EOS developed the material, EOS CopperAlloy CuNi30, in partnership with Phillips Federal and Austal USA, specifically in connection with the work of the latter two organizations on the US Navy’s submarine industrial base (SIB) program.

According to EOS, CopperAlloy CuNi30 has successfully demonstrated resistance to saltwater corrosion and performs consistently in low temperatures. Moreover, Phillips Federal considers the cost-per-part of CopperAlloy CuNi30 to be competitive with parts made from traditional castings, suggesting that the SIB program should continue to significantly ramp up its use of AM in 2024.

Image courtesy of EOS

In a press release about EOS’ new CopperAlloy CuNi30 material, the senior manager of metals technology at EOS, Ankit Saharan, said, “EOS was provided with a strategic objective to deliver a CuNi30 product to the US Navy [SIB] to mitigate casting delays; a material holding unique to the naval construction industry and not widely available for AM technology use. We acted with priority to support the submarine program schedule, and we are pleased to share our successful product release within a few months of the project start. It is a privilege to contribute to projects of such strategic importance to our national interests.”

John Harrison, the senior VP of global additive at Phillips Federal, said, “We are grateful for the response from EOS and the Additive Minds team to develop EOS CopperAlloy CuNi30 so quickly. This alloy is critical in many marine applications and will be important in our efforts to support the US Navy Center of Excellence.”

Admiral Scott Pappano, President of Phillips Corporation Alan Phillips, Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, Sr. Vice President Global Additive John Harrison. Image courtesy of Phillips Corporation

Austal USA, a division of the Australian shipbuilding giant, is the head of an industry group working with the US Navy at its AM Center of Excellence (CoE), which was opened in Danville, Virginia, in the fall of 2022. Phillips is also a part of the group at the AM CoE in Danville, a site which is also home to the currently-under-construction, Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) Regional Training Center (RTC).

The fact that EOS developed a copper-nickel alloy, in particular, is noteworthy insofar as the deck drain assembly printed by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII’s) Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) last fall is a copper-nickel component. The deck drain assembly, printed for Virginia-class submarines, was the first part produced with AM destined for an in-service US Navy submarine.

The relative timing of the two announcements suggests that more or less as soon as HII and GDEB had successfully printed the part, EOS was asked to start developing CopperAlloy CuNi30 to support the ramp-up. Now that the material has been developed, it is reasonable to expect that HII and GDEB will start printing more copper-nickel parts for US Navy ships.

Additionally, the success of this project should breed more success with other material formulations. This could be especially pivotal for the use of AM in distributed manufacturing, given the international reach of companies like Austal USA and EOS.

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