The battle to “alluminate” the future of metal AM production has intensified this week as three major players have engaged in new aluminum-specific AM activities. After A20X working to optimize metallurgy and Rusal announcing a major push for ALLOW-based AM alloys in the US, Canadian power manufacturer Equispheres is launching Performance, Precision and Production aluminum powders for AM (which are both the brand names for each product and their intended uses).
These new powders can now also be bundled with advanced engineering services to assist customers in achieving optimal results for specialty metal additive manufacturing applications. The three new powders are variations on the original high-performance aluminum alloy that have each been engineered to offer enhanced features for either increased print precision, enhanced printed part strength, or faster print speed and volume.
“Equispheres’ unique proprietary atomization process is carefully controlled and can be managed with precision,” said Dr. Conlon, CTO at Equispheres. “Powder features such as PSD (particle size distribution), morphology, and chemistry can be optimized to achieve specific behavior in the laser melting process and to meet defined application requirements.”
In addition to the original atomized AlSi10Mg powder Equispheres produces, the new metal powder products include are each tailored for specific uses. Equispheres Performance is a powder designed to provide enhanced printed part strength and performance across a wide range of applications and that achieves a 20-30% increase in the a-basis design allowable over traditional powders.
Equispheres Precision was designed to support applications where fine features and precision (as related to CAD design) are of paramount importance. It also enables 50% improvement in dimensional accuracy. The third product, Equispheres Production is designed to reduce the cost per part manufactured, with features to facilitate the rapid production of items without compromising mechanical performance. The company is working on parameter sets to increase production speeds by 3 to 4 times.
As part of the powder delivery package, Equispheres now provides ‘bundled’ application engineering services to assist customers in achieving optimal results with the powder specific to their application requirements.
“The unique nature of the Equispheres powder requires the use of special printer parameters to achieve the best outcomes,” stated Evan Butler-Jones, Director of Applications Engineering. “Our research team has been working with our industrial partners in automotive and aerospace to arrive at the optimal methods for the application of our powder. For new customers that knowledge on how to best use the powder is just as important as having the powder itself, which is why we now offer engineering service to facilitate the implementation of the powder into production.”
Equispheres continues to optimize their aluminum alloy powders and plans to announce an additional line of products, specifically for sintering and use in binder jet printers, in Q1 of 2021.