Additive ManufacturingMetal Additive Manufacturing

Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs achieve breakthrough in aluminum 6061 binder jetting

Promising fully Dense, sinterable aluminum with better than wrought strength

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

Binder-based metal AM innovators Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs, a company revolutionizing industrial 3D printing materials and processes, achieved a breakthrough powder that enables aluminum 6061 binder jetting. This new powder, that can be proficently sintered, is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the companies to develop a low-cost, raw material yielding fully dense, sinterable 6061 aluminum with greater than ten percent (10%) elongation and improved yield strength (YS) and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) versus wrought 6061 aluminum with comparable heat treatment.

One key benefit of newer binder jetting technologies is expected to be the ability to rapidly adapt powders used in MIM processes to the binder jetting process, further lowering material costs. However, several limitations still remain in truly adapting metal alloys, including the fact that one of the most relevant materials for binder jetting adoption, aluminum, is not well suited for MIM processes.

“This breakthrough represents a major milestone in the development of aluminum for binder jetting and a significant step forward for the AM industry as it is one of the most sought-after materials for use in automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “The global aluminum castings market is more than $50 billion per year, and it is ripe for disruption with binder jetting AM solutions. These are the best-reported properties we are aware of for a sintered 6061 aluminum powder, and we are excited to make this material available exclusively to Desktop Metal customers as part of our ongoing partnership with Uniformity Labs.”

Aluminum 6061 binder jetting
Desktop Metal’s Production System

According to 3dpbm Research‘s upcoming market report on the metal AM segment, today aluminum alloys are the fourth most popular alloys after titanium, steel and nickel, however, they will become the third most popular alloys by 2030. The increase in the use of aluminum for AM could be even more significant if binder jetting technologies will prove able to proficiently process it for serial production.

“The introduction of lightweight metals to binder jetting opens the door to a wide variety of thermal and structural applications across industries,” said Adam Hopkins, founder and CEO of Uniformity Labs. “This innovation is a key step towards the adoption of mass-produced printed aluminum parts.”

This new powder enables the sintering of unadulterated 6061 aluminum and represents a significant improvement over prior techniques used to sinter aluminum, which required coating powder particles, mixing sintering aids into powder, using binders containing expensive nanoparticles, or adding metals such as lead, tin and magnesium. Critically, the powder also enables compatibility with water-based binders and has a higher minimum ignition energy (MIE) relative to other commercially available 6061 aluminum powders, resulting in an improved safety profile. Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs plan to continue to work together over the coming year to qualify the powder and scale production for commercial release.

Once fully qualified, Uniformity 6061 aluminum will be available for use with the Desktop Metal Production System platform, which is the only metal binder jetting solution with an inert, chemically inactive processing environment across the printer and auxiliary powder processing equipment, enabling customers to achieve consistent, high-quality material properties across volumes of end-use parts with reactive materials, such as aluminum.

Research 2021
Ceramic AM Market Opportunities and Trends

This market study from 3dpbm Research provides an in-depth analysis and forecast of the ceramic additive ma...

Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

Related Articles

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services

STAY AHEAD

OF THE CURVE

Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*

WELCOME ON BOARD!