Seurat Qualifies Low-carbon Stainless Steel from 6K for Metal 3D Printing


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Just a few days ago, I wrote that Velo3D’s qualification of Continuum’s recycled powder could “spark a trend toward qualifying every single powder in recycled form for use in machines from other leading manufacturers such as AMCM, SLM, and EOS.” It appears that Boston startup Seurat is helping to make this a reality after having qualified 316L stainless steel powder from sustainability-focused 6K for its Area Printing technology.
“Our partnership with 6K Additive is beneficial for Seurat on several fronts. Not only are we partnering with a supplier that can meet our powder quality requirements, but we are also teaming with a leader in sustainably sourced materials, which aligns perfectly with our decarbonization mission,” said Ben Fotovvati, Additive Manufacturing Process Engineer at Seurat Technologies.
“Our ability to leverage machining scrap, used powders, and other revert feedstock for a wide variety of metal powders sets us apart from any other powder supplier in the industry with regards to sustainability. Backed by the efficiency of our UniMelt process, it’s clear why 6K Additive is considered a leader in sustainable powder production for AM. Customers now have a very compelling reason to work with Seurat for part production, powered by the world’s most sustainably sourced powder from 6K Additive,” stated Nick Pflugh, Chief Commercial Officer at 6K Additive.
6K emphasizes its clean energy-powered process, stating that its microwave plasma technology is more energy-efficient than alternative methods. The company believes that its process, in conjunction with Seurat’s, will contribute to decarbonization. Seurat, in turn, hopes that it can “mitigate as much as 100 million tons of CO2 by 2030.” A study funded by 6K and conducted by another firm found that “6K’s UniMelt process delivered a 91% reduction in energy use and a 92% reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional processes.”
I’m extremely enthusiastic about this news. We should make high-quality recycled powder available for every major additive machine. I can’t wait for further announcements from more companies about additional powders. This is a crucial step forward. Now we’re discussing 3D printing not just as a revolution in itself, but as something that could significantly impact the great challenges of our age. Decarbonization? 3D printing can contribute to solving this. Concerned about the planet? 3D printing can help you make your missiles and keep the concerned hippies happy at the same time! Worried about China? 3D printing can help you produce everything you need in the USA. Additive manufacturing is being recognized as an enabling technology for the grand challenges of our time.
Clearly, companies like 6K, Seurat, and others would welcome support from the government. Local authorities could, through them, bring high-paying jobs and low-carbon manufacturing to their state or city. Meanwhile, for the nation, they could contribute to the revitalization of the industrial base. Companies such as Continuum and Velo3D would also appreciate significant support from Uncle Sam, as would Metal Powder Works, SLM, IperionX, and others. This scenario presents a capital opportunity. We’re observing that the US government is becoming the largest single funding source for the 3D printing market. These narratives could, therefore, prompt a significant response from the government.

If you, as an OEM and powder vendor, manage to create an overarching narrative that positions you as essential to any US tech dominance future, you could set yourself up for long-term success. It’s important to remember that switching from one Powder Bed Fusion company to another is not straightforward. If you’re working on precise parts, especially in regulated industries, you cannot simply switch out the powder. In some cases, it would take months and millions of dollars to switch OEMs, machines, or powders. Therefore, government investment and involvement also secure future government spending. Indeed, this may mean that for certain defense items, the government could effectively standardize its operations on your technology. This, in turn, could help you achieve economies of scale in other manufacturing areas. So, be on the lookout for future qualifications of sustainable and recycled powder because these could be announcements that signal a bright future for 3D printing, or at least for some companies within the 3D printing sector.

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