3D printing metals
A variety of materials are used for industrial 3D printing, depending on the Additive Manufacturing technology and the component requirements. We support you with manufacturing your components using the following materials:
Titanium is a light metal and characterized by a combination of low density and high strength. Furthermore, this material is corrosion-resistant and, depending on the alloy, biocompatible. Due to its high strength and low thermal conductivity, titanium is difficult to process. Forming titanium is equally complex. Additive Manufacturing therefore often provides cost advantages over the conventional production of titanium components.
The TiAl6V4 alloy can be processed with Selective Laser Melting (SLM) or with Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM). For the SLM process other alloys, such as Titanium Grade 2, are available.
Despite the higher material cost of titanium, there is hardly any difference between the manufacturing costs of titanium and stainless steel components, because titanium can be processed faster using Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The machine running time is the decisive cost driver in 3D printing.
Titanium is suitable for spare and functional parts as well as for functional prototypes, but especially for high-performance applications in the aerospace and automotive industry. It is also frequently used in medical technology due to its biocompatibility.
Aluminium alloys have a high specific strength. Due to their low density, these alloys are particularly suitable for lightweight construction applications. In addition to its excellent corrosion resistance, aluminium is also resistant to acid and alkaline media. Furthermore, this material is very easy to machine and process.
Aluminium alloys are primarily used in powder bed processing using Laser Melting and Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing, as they achieve a substatially higher strength than pure aluminium. Cast aluminium alloys such as aluminium-silicon alloys are mostly used. AlSi10Mg is a typical powder alloy. These alloys, however, are not very suitable for anodizing due to their silicon content. Alternative alloys without silicon fill this gap and achieve equally high mechanical material characteristics.
Aluminium is particularly suitable for heavy-duty (structural) components, prototypes and lightweight construction applications in the following industries:
- Automotive industry
- for production tools
Austenitic stainless steel
There is a large variety of steels with different mechanical and physical properties. They all have a high density compared to light metals. Austenitic stainless steels feature excellent corrosion resistance, as well as good suitability for welding, polishing, high formability and the resulting excellent toughness.
The alloys 1.4404 and 1.4301 are typical for Additive Manufacturing using LBM / SLM.
The alloys 1.4316, 1.4370, 1.4332, 1.4430 und 1.4551 can also be processed using WAAM.
Stainless steels are used in a variety of different industrie for functional or serial parts as well as for prototpyes:
- Medical technology
- Chemical industry
- Food industry
- Jewelry & livestyle
Tool steels has a high hardness and therefore a high wear resistance. An alloy typically used in Additive Manufacturing is 1.2709. This martensite-hardenable tool steel features excellent strength and toughness, which are achieved by ageing in a simple heat treatment after the Additive Manufacturing process.
The tool steels 1.2343, 1.2367 and 1.4718 can also be processed using WAAM.
Tool steels are particularly suitable for manufacturing tools and high-performance components with particularly high strength and toughness. They are used for prototypes, serial and spare parts as well as for customized products
- in tool making for pressure and injection molds with near-contour cooling,
- in aerospace as well as
- in the automotive industry.
Heat-resistant resistant steel
Heat-resistant steels are mostly used in a temperature range between approx. 500 and 1,150 °C. In the respective temperature range, they have specific mechanical and physical porperties as well as high strength, corrosion resistance and scale resistance.
1.4835 is a powder alloy that can be processed with LBM.
- Industrial furnaces
- Heat treatment plants in the metal industry
- Glass industry
- Chemical industry
- Hardening shops
- Equipment manufacturing
- Cement industry
Nickel-based alloy (Inconel)
Nickel-based alloys consist of nickel and at least one other element. They are corrosion-resistant and heat-resistant. There are different alloys which have a controlled thermal expansion or special magnetic properties, e.g. through an electrica resistance.
A typical alloy used in Additive Manufacturing is Inconel 718 (In718). This is a nickel chromium alloy with excellent mechanical properties. The tensile strength, fatigue strength, creep resistance and rupture strength are very high at temperatures up 700 °C. Corrosion resistance is also very good at low temperatures and at high temperatures up to 1,000 °C.
Inconel 625 is another nickel-based alloy that can be processed with LBM / SLM. The same alloys can be processed with WAAM.
Inconel 718 is used for highly stressed quality parts in gas turbines, turbochargers and exhaust system components. The industries where nickel-based alloys are used are are just as varied as the applications:
- Chemical industry
- Oil and gas industry