3D printer manufacturer Aconity3D and AM powder specialist Equispheres have achieved an early and highly promising milestone in a collaborative project. Using Aconity3D’s 1-kW MIDI system and Equispheres’ aluminum powder, the companies have achieved 60% faster printing speeds without sacrificing mechanical properties.
Aconity3D and Equispheres have been working together since early 2021, when Canada-based Equispheres selected the German company to be a member of its lab expansion project. As part of the collaboration, Aconity3D has been testing Equispheres’ aluminum powder for the production of a part for the AconitySCAN, a system integrated into the company’s line of powder bed fusion printers. The goal has been to use Equispheres’ aluminum powder to speed up the production of the part compared to standard powder print times.
Strategically timed with Formnext, the companies have divulged the first promising results of their collaboration. To date, Aconity3D and Equispheres have achieved print speeds 60% faster compared to printing standard powders, reducing print time from 53 to 17.5 hours—all without any impact on the part’s mechanical properties. Because the part in question is destined for Aconity3D systems, the company seeks to benefit greatly from this capability.
“This dramatic reduction in production time reduces the cost to produce the part by greater than 50%,” explains Yves Hagedorn, Managing Director of Aconity3D. “More importantly, it enables Aconity3D to produce our printers more quickly and meet the growing demand for our systems.”
The faster printing speeds are due in large part to the high quality of Equispheres aluminum powder, which is characterized by highly spherical and uniform particles. By pairing the powder with the precision and configurability of Aconity3D’s system, the companies were able to dramatically speed up print times. Evan Butler Jones, Director of Applications Engineering at Equispheres added: “Most importantly, the powder can absorb the energy from the powerful 1 kw laser without disturbing the stability of the melt pool. This is not attainable with standard aluminum powders. We are pleased to partner with Aconity3D on this initiative. Combining their expertise with AM systems and our expertise in powders provides a powerful solution to the market.”
The collaboration is still in its early stages and Aconity3D is planning to conduct further testing with the aluminum powder to optimize the process and potentially reduce costs even further. The companies are also in the process of finalizing an agreement that will see Aconity3D provide Equispheres’ powder material to its customers in the form of a starter kit.
“We want our customers to have the best production experience when they utilize our specialized printer equipment,” adds Hagedorn. “The best way to showcase our devices is to equip them with the best powder.” If you haven’t already yet, be sure to catch the partners at Formnext 2021, where Aconity3D is presenting the printed 3D printer part at booth D39, Hall 11. Equispheres is also present at D54 Hall 11.