“ExOne is proud to partner with the innovative and experienced team at FreeFORM, who will help customers tap the incredible value offered by our high-speed binder jetting technology,” said John Hartner, ExOne’s CEO. “This team demonstrates how binder jetting is a perfect complement to metal injection molding (MIM) operations.”
Based in St Marys, Pennsylvania – known as the Powdered Metal Capital of the World – FreeFORM was founded this fall by a team of engineers experienced in MIM, powder metallurgy, engineering software, and automation.
“We believe metal binder jetting is a revolutionary technology that represents the next generation of metal production using metal powders,” said FreeFORM President Nate Higgins. “We’re excited to begin producing parts on our Innovent+ and to help customers tap the benefits of complex metal parts without the need for expensive tooling. Binder jetting can also affordably produce lower volumes of MIM-like parts and consolidated or lightweight parts that deliver more value. We’re committed to providing world-class engineering and manufacturing services around binder jetting.”
ExOne’s patented binder jet 3D printing process transforms powdered materials — metal, sand or ceramic — into highly dense and functional precision parts at high speeds. An industrial printhead selectively deposits a binder into a bed of powder particles creating a solid part one thin layer at a time, just like printing on sheets of paper. The technology is viewed as a desirable and sustainable production method, largely because of its high speed, low waste and cost, as well as material flexibility.
Launched in 2016, the Innovent family of 3D printers has become the world’s best-selling and most-researched metal binder jetting system, with machines installed worldwide at some of the world’s best-known universities and industrial brands. The Innovent+ is compact, easy to use, and affordable. Loaded with ExOne’s patented Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT), the system delivers industry-leading quality and repeatability, with final dimensional tolerances routinely below 1% with tuning.
ExOne has qualified more than 20 metal, ceramic and composite materials for its patented binder jetting process. FreeFORM intends to focus primarily on metal part production, with stainless steels such as 17-4PH and 316L, as well as M2 Tool Steel. The new company also intends to qualify materials internally and for customer-specific applications.