Binder jetting pioneer ExOne has added another metal powder to its roster of third-party qualified materials: Inconel 718. The nickel-based alloy now holds the company’s highest designation of material readiness for its metal additive manufacturing systems.
Inconel 718 is a high-strength metal broadly used in the aerospace, energy and automotive industries, among others. Besides its strength, the material is known for its hardness and good resistance to corrosion, chemicals and extreme temperatures (up to 1300° F or 704°C). The metal is also well suited for welding and has many applications, including the production of tooling, jet engines and maritime components.
“Today’s qualification of Inconel 718, following on the heels of M2 Tool Steel earlier this year, shows the ExOne R&D team is aggressively delivering new materials for binder jet 3D printing,” stated Rick Lucas, ExOne CTO and VP of New Markets. “Our increasing pace of material qualifications is a testament to the strength of our new metal 3D printer systems equipped with Triple ACT, an advanced compaction technology that is essential for binder jetting metals and other materials at high speeds and densities.”
Inconel 718 has now passed through all three tiers of ExOne’s material qualification system, from R&D to Customer-Qualified to Third-Party Qualified. Actually, the metal has advanced from R&D material straight to Third-Party Qualified after successfully undergoing a series of tests and third party material data verification. Customer-Qualified materials indicate those which have been qualified by ExOne customers using their own standards for a given application.
Today, Inconel 718 becomes the 22nd material (including metals, ceramics and composites) to receive Third-Party or Customer qualifications. Another two dozen materials are currently recognized as R&D ready. One of these materials, aluminum (notoriously difficult to use in binder jetting), has been fast tracked for qualification.
Earlier this week, ExOne introduced the ExOne Scout app, a secure Industry 4.0 app that provides real-time machine monitoring and analysis of production 3D printers on a wide range of digital devices, including smartphones and watches. The company also recently launched a Sand 3D Printing Network to offer 3D printed molds and cores to customers and manufacturers across North America.