New research out of McGill University on powder developed by materials science technology company, Equispheres, has major implications for mass production in additive manufacturing.
OTTAWA, ONTARIO: Equispheres, in partnership with McGill University, today announced the results of extensive testing which found Equispheres’ aluminum alloy powders suitable for sintering with binder jet technology. These findings have major implications for the automotive industry as aluminum alloys represent over 30% of the overall material demand in this space.
Binder jet printers are 100 times faster than traditional laser based additive manufacturing (AM) printers and hold the promise of enabling AM to be used in mass production. However, until now, binder jet printer technology was unable to sinter aluminum alloys. The powder, developed by Equispheres, will enable one of the most efficient and scalable production methods (binder jet printing) to work with some of the most in-demand production materials (aluminum alloys). This combination was unfeasible – until now.
The powder, developed by Equispheres, will enable one of the most efficient
and scalable production methods (binder jet printing) to work with some of
the most in-demand production materials (aluminum alloys.)
This combination was unfeasible, until now.
“The unique and tailored attributes of Equispheres powder have proven exceptional in compaction free sintering.” Explains Dr. Mathieu Brochu, Associate Professor at McGill and Canada Research Chair in Pulse Processing of Nanostructured Materials, “We are excited to begin work with Equispheres’ binder jet printing partners in the next phase to fully understand all aspects related to sintering of complex shape components and the fundamental relations with new specialized binder agents.”
Equispheres’ CEO, Kevin Nicholds, is understandably optimistic after receiving the results, “We are excited about the industry response to our unique aluminum sintering results. Although binder jet printer technology offers the speed and cost reductions necessary to enable additive manufacturing to meet the requirements of automotive mass production, the inability to print with aluminum alloys has been a major limitation to the technology – until now.”
The specifics of the findings are:
- Compaction-free, sub-solidus sintering of Equispheres’ standard AlSi10Mg aluminum alloy powder
- Good densification (>>95%) and excellent microstructure
Equispheres is presently working with key partners on the development of specialized binder agents required for aluminum and for specific automotive applications. The company is optimistic that the process and powder will prove to be a new high standard for many critical parts as the process is refined and testing continues.
Equispheres is a materials science technology company focused on additive manufacturing applications. Equispheres focuses on engineering and providing ultra-high-performance, mono-sized metal powders and invests heavily in R&D around metallurgy and alloy development.