As Formnext 2021 prepares to wrap up, we can expect a slew of new partnership announcements. After all, AM’s largest industry event is the place to meet up and make connections. The latest from the event is that manufacturing technology company TRUMPF and AM materials developer Equispheres have announced a collaboration to qualify the latter’s aluminum powders on TRUMPF 3D printers.
The partners have already started the qualification process for Equispheres’ three lines of AlSiMg10 powders for laser powder bed fusion systems and TRUMPF says they are off to a promising start. Already, the powders are showing positive results, so much so that the companies expect to complete qualification in early 2022.
When qualification is complete for the aluminum powders, TRUMPF will officially list Equispheres as a recommended powder supplier. The Canadian company’s powders will also be supported by application engineers at TRUMPF and Equispheres. The ultimate aim of qualifying the powders is to unlock faster build rates for aluminum materials on laser powder bed fusion systems.
“TRUMPF’s engineering team is working to determine the optimum parameters for faster production of aluminum parts with Equispheres’ powders,” said Thomas Bloor, Head of Global Business Development at Equispheres. “This will allow customers to reduce production costs for 3D printed parts and opens the door for more broad adoption of additive production in global manufacturing.”
As we reported yesterday, Equispheres’ aluminum powder is also being qualified by Aconity3D for the production of a metal component for its metal AM technology. In this case, Aconity3D has already reported significantly faster build speeds (60% faster) than using conventional powders. Equispheres aluminum powders show such promise because of their sphericity and uniformity. At the same time, the company installed additional high-speed commercial reactors to product its proprietary aluminum powders this year, increasing its output.
“Equispheres’ powders have the potential to support faster build rates than some other aluminum feedstocks,” elaborated Severin Luzius, Head of Application, Materials and Consulting AM at TRUMPF. “To help our 3D printing customers reduce part costs and make the move into mass production, we are developing optimized processing parameters for Equispheres’ high-quality metal powders.”
TRUMPF is qualifying the aluminum powders on its TruPrint additive manufacturing systems with the support of Equispheres. The powder manufacturer is also working with a number of other partners in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors to qualify its powders for industrial applications.
“This will be a significant step forward for our material. For part manufacturers to receive the maximum benefit from our superior feedstock, processing parameters must be adjusted,” added Bloor. “TRUMPF’s qualification work will give users of TRUMPF equipment a productivity and cost advantage when using Equispheres aluminum powders.”