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Desktop Metal And Uniformity Labs Announce Breakthrough In Aluminium Sintering For Binder Jetting Technology

Desktop Metal And Uniformity Labs Announce Breakthrough In Aluminium Sintering For Binder Jetting Technology

Desktop Metal, Inc. (NYSE: DM), a leader in mass production and turnkey additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, and Uniformity Labs, a leading additive manufacturing company that is revolutionising industrial 3D printing materials and processes, has announced a breakthrough powder that enables aluminium sintering for binder jetting AM technology. This new powder is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the companies to develop a low-cost, raw material yielding fully dense, sinterable 6061 aluminium with greater than ten percent (10 percent) elongation and improved yield strength (YS) and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) versus wrought 6061 aluminium with comparable heat treatment.

“This breakthrough represents a major milestone in the development of aluminium for binder jetting and a significant step forward for the AM industry as it is one of the most sought-after materials for use in automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “The global aluminium castings market is more than $50 billion per year, and it is ripe for disruption with binder jetting AM solutions. These are the best reported properties we are aware of for a sintered 6061 aluminium powder, and we are excited to make this material available exclusively to Desktop Metal customers as part of our ongoing partnership with Uniformity Labs.”

“The introduction of lightweight metals to binder jetting opens the door to a wide variety of thermal and structural applications across industries,” said Adam Hopkins, founder and CEO of Uniformity Labs. “This innovation is a key step towards the adoption of mass-produced printed aluminium parts.”

This new powder enables the sintering of unadulterated 6061 aluminium and represents a significant improvement over prior techniques used to sinter aluminium, which required coating powder particles, mixing sintering aids into powder, using binders containing expensive nanoparticles, or adding metals such as lead, tin and magnesium. Critically, the powder also enables compatibility with water-based binders and has a higher minimum ignition energy (MIE) relative to other commercially available 6061 aluminium powders, resulting in an improved safety profile.

Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs plan to continue to work together over the coming year to qualify the powder and scale production for commercial release. Once fully qualified, Uniformity 6061 aluminium will be available for use with the Desktop Metal Production System platform, which is the only metal binder jetting solution with an inert, chemically inactive processing environment across the printer and auxiliary powder processing equipment, enabling customers to achieve consistent, high-quality material properties across volumes of end-use parts with reactive materials, such as aluminium.

 

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Machining Aluminium Components Economically

Machining Aluminium Components Economically

In machining aluminium alloys, here is what will help manufacturers reduce unit costs and achieve process reliability. Article by Walter AG.

A few years ago, chassis components made of aluminium were still reserved for the premium segment in the vehicle market. Steering knuckles, suspension arms and wheel carriers for medium-class and small cars were predominantly made of cast iron or forged steel. This has changed in the last few years.

Since then, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of a vehicle has become a top priority in vehicle construction. One way to do this is reducing the vehicle weight. A reduction in weight of 100 kg means 0.3 l to 0.4 l less fuel consumption.

Even with electromobility as an alternative to the combustion engine, the weight of the vehicle is a key factor—the lighter the car, the higher the battery range. Materials like forged wrought aluminium alloys or ductile cast aluminium alloys with a low silicon content can therefore increasingly be found in all vehicle classes.

With the changeover to other materials, the challenges in machining also change. Machining aluminium alloys requires different machining strategies compared to existing materials in use, especially under the conditions of high cost pressure and strict machining quality and process reliability requirements. The machining tools used are an important factor here. Many automotive suppliers already count on machining specialist Walter AG for this.

“Aluminium alloys are the optimal material for the automotive industry. The alloys are light, with sufficiently high strength, and can be machined at speeds that are very different from those of traditional cast iron or steel materials. However, this does not mean that they are easy to machine. Above all, the long chips are a risk factor when it comes to a stable process. In addition, build-up on the cutting edge can quickly form on the cutting edges of the tools. It then soon becomes difficult to comply with the specified tolerances when it comes to the fit sizes and the surface quality. In this respect, users are dependent on the quality of the machining tool and the right technology,” says Fabian Hübner, Component and Project Manager for Transportation at Walter.

Creating Complex Bores

Above all, the integration of solid bores represents a technical and economic challenge in the production of chassis components made of aluminium alloys. While pre-forged recesses are often bored with larger bores, such as the wheel hub bore on the wheel carrier, smaller bores such as on the suspension arm are, in contrast, created in the solid material. The often high complexity of the contours to be drilled and the very strict requirements of the accuracy of the bore and of the surface quality also need to be considered.

Mostly, the smaller bores act as adaptors for plain bearings and dampers. This requires more than simply setting a bore. For example, defined end faces or chamfers must also be fitted, in order to allow you to fit bearing bushings or damping elements in the next production step. Consequently, up to five machining steps per bore quickly follow. 

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Global Aerospace Materials Market To Reach US$10.8 Billion By 2025

Global Aerospace Materials Market To Reach US$10.8 Billion By 2025

The global aerospace materials market is projected to grow to US$10.8 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 percent. According to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc., growth is mainly driven by increasing demand for sophisticated military aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Of the aerospace materials market, the aluminium alloys segment displays the potential to grow at over 7 percent and is poised to reach over US$11.2 billion by 2025.

Representing the developed world, the United States will maintain a 5.6 percent growth momentum. Within Europe, which continues to remain an important element in the global economy, Germany will add over US$380.2 million to the region’s size and clout in the next five to six years. Over US$995.6 million worth of projected demand in the region will come from other emerging Eastern European markets.

In Japan, aluminium alloys will reach a market size of US$497.2 million by the end of the forecast period. On the other hand, as the world’s second largest economy, China exhibits the potential to grow at 9.8 percent over the next couple of years and add approximately US$3 billion in terms of addressable opportunity for the picking by aspiring businesses and their astute leaders. Several macroeconomic factors and internal market forces will shape growth and development of demand patterns in emerging countries in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.

 

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Casting Light On First-Stage Aluminium Machining

Casting Light On First-Stage Aluminium Machining

In order to boost the first stage roughing operation on newly cast aluminium parts for the automotive industry, Sandvik Coromant is introducing its  M5Q90 angential milling cutter. Designed to complete “cubing” (first machining of faces after casting) in a single operation without creating burrs, the new tool is fitted with PCD tangential inserts that provide a smooth and stable cutting action to lower power consumption and eliminate vibration. This concept ensures reliable performance, improved tool life, exceptional surface finish, high metal removal rate and an increased number of parts per insert.

“To enhance efficiency, our new M5Q90 tangential milling cutter features fully engineered cutter bodies matched with dedicated PCD insert geometries that feature a positive cutting angle to reduce cutting force and load on the machined component,” explained Emmanuel David, Global Automotive Product Manager at Sandvik Coromant. “The inserts, which are easy to handle and adjust, offer reduced cost per part along with high accuracy and repeatability.”, added Jacques Gasthuys, Global Automotive Application Engineer.

M5Q90 cutter bodies are designed according to customer specifications and hence meet the requirements of high-productivity machining – the tool can operate in high-speed conditions in excess of 20,000 rpm. However, all cutter bodies offer the same design of tip seat, coolant channel, lead angle and rake angle. Inserts are always kept in stock.

If desired, the cutter body tool life can be further extended in engineered solutions with PCD inserts protected by rows of carbide inserts, a configuration that also serves to increase the depth of cut capability. While the basic tool with PCD inserts offers 2-4 mm (0.079-0.157 inch) depth of cut in full engagement, this can be boosted to in excess of 4 mm (0.157 inch) using the engineered solution with protective rows of carbide inserts.

Aluminium cylinder heads and engine blocks will be among the principal components to benefit, typically at automotive foundries or Tier 1/Tier 2 suppliers. By way of example, the cubing operation on a cast cylinder head would involve machining the camshaft face, inlet/outlet face and combustion face. Typical cutting data using M5Q90 might include a speed of 2500 m/min (8202 ft/min) and feed per teeth of 0.20 mm (0.008 inch). Users also benefit from high-precision coolant channels that provide the option for either emulsion or MQL application.

The M5Q90 completes the Sandvik Coromant offer for machining aluminium automotive parts, complementing the M5B90, M5C90, M5F90, CoroMill® Century/590 and M5R90 tooling solutions.

Capable of both face and shoulder milling, the M5Q90 is also suitable for many applications in the general engineering and aerospace sectors.

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Something For Everything: The Right Aluminium Saw For Every Application

Something For Everything: The Right Aluminium Saw For Every Application

Aluminium is used for a wide range of purposes in construction, including façades, blinds and window elements. But it has applications in many other areas of manufacturing as well: ships, aircraft, motor vehicles, machines and household goods. Having the correct machining tools for aluminium is imperative. By Stephanie Riegel-Stolzer, member of the board of management, Kasto Maschinenbau.

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