The ExOne Company, a leader metal and sand binder jetting AM technology, and Global Tungsten & Powders Corp., a global manufacturer of tungsten metal powders, have entered into a collaboration to advance tungsten-based metal 3D printing using binder jetting.
The new ExOne-GTP collaboration focuses on the development of two metal matrix composites. One is cemented carbide (WC-Co), a material with very high hardness and toughness that is widely used for the production of cutting tools and wear-resistant parts. The other material, copper-tungsten (CuW), is used in applications where high heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion are needed.
“Binder jetting is the 3D printing method of choice for serial production of hard metal parts. Traditionally, tungsten carbide powder is pressed into the desired shape and then sintered to give it strength and density”, said Deborah West, Vice-President Business Unit Refractory & Specialty Powders, GTP. “Instead of costly and timely mold construction, the parts now can be printed directly in the desired shape, still using sintering technology to achieve the final strength. As a market leader in the development and production of high-quality tungsten powders, GTP always stays on top of the latest technology”.
GTP will now offer a 3D printing and sintering service for cemented carbide parts. This service can be utilized by customers that wish to explore the feasibility of their new designs. GTP uses an ExOne Innovent, an advanced binder jetting system that 3D prints metal, ceramic and composite powders in a compact build area. It offers an advanced form of binder jetting, developed over 20 years, which includes patent-pending methods of dispensing, spreading and compacting powders to deliver exceptional density and repeatability in final products.
Tim Pierce, ExOne Vice President of Metal Commercial Products, added: “Metal 3D printing using our exclusive approach to binder jetting has exciting and significant consequences for a variety of manufacturers, including those who make parts with cemented carbide and other tungsten composites. Our latest development collaboration with GTP will help advance the materials necessary to deliver on the vision of producing these parts faster, with less waste and more geometric design freedom.”