Warsaw University of Technology spin-off Amazemet delivered its first rePowder research and development platform primarily for the development of new metallic materials suitable for additive manufacturing. The first beneficiary of this system’s capabilities is the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). The main function of the platform is the ability to perform ultrasonic atomization of metallic materials and allows the production of high-quality powder even in small quantities, which allows to quickly verify theoretical calculation in practice.
One of the main advantages of the system is the possibility to atomize the feedstock material despite its initial shape. This means that it can be used to recycle failed printouts, casting leftovers, powders. In addition to ultrasonic atomization the rePowder device can be used as an arc melter to prepare and homogenize alloys, and also allows vacuum casting with ultrasonic agitation.
Thanks to the use of two independent heat sources, electric arc and induction, the platform can be used to atomize any alloy system, from light and highly reactive structural alloys such as MgLi to high-melting high-entropy alloys such as WTaVTi.
Powders produced by this method are characterized primarily by very high sphericity, lack of satellites resulting in very high flowability, and low oxidation and impurities which increases their printability. Depending on the process parameters, in particular, the ultrasound frequency, powders with a narrow particle size distribution can be obtained. For 20 kHz it is about d50 = 70-90 µm, and for 40 kHz d50 = 40-50 µm.
Amazemet and WUT invite all universities, scientific and research units, as well as companies to cooperate in the research and development of new metallic materials especially for use in AM. In addition to spin-off atomization equipment, the Polish company also develops post-process technologies such as automatic support removal stations and laboratory-scale high vacuum furnaces.
One of the most promising is the automated support removal station which allows to chemically dissolve support structures with ultrasonic agitation even in hardly accessible places that could not be removed mechanically. The other advantages of the process are the reduction of surface roughness and keeping the sharp edges of the model. Such a process highly reduces the labor work for each part and can be easily introduced to the manufacturing chain.