'America Makes' approves Elementum 3D's new aluminium feedstock for commercial use

AL Circle

America Makes: Elementum 3D's new aluminium feedstock receives approval for commercial 3D printing of the broader initiative named "Proliferation of AM Materials Datasets," funded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense and the Air Force Research Laboratory, with Elementum 3D receiving up to $2,875,000 in reimbursements.

'America Makes' approves Elementum 3D's new aluminium feedstock for commercial use

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The 'Proliferation of AM Materials Datasets' initiative, announced in August 2023, aims to revolutionise the world of additive manufacturing by enhancing material datasets, particularly for aluminium and nickel alloys. Elementum 3D, at the forefront of this endeavour, will collaborate with industry leaders such as Battelle, Dyndrite Corporation, EOS North America, and more, committing over 50% of the $4.2 million project cost as a significant cost share.

America Makes initiative: Importance of aluminium powder in additive manufacturing

Aluminum's crucial role in the AM landscape cannot be overstated. Manufacturers increasingly demand lightweight, high-strength aluminium materials with superior fatigue and stress corrosion cracking resistance. Elementum 3D's A7050-RAM2 aluminium feedstock, previously recognized at the 2020 US Air Force Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, stands out for its noteworthy attributes, addressing the industry's material hurdles.

The collaborative approach: A consort of industry leaders

Elementum 3D's collaboration includes key partners such as Dyndrite, contributing its LPBF Pro software for rapid build preparation, materials, and process development. This software streamlines the traditionally manual process of generating additive material datasets, ensuring efficiency and repeatability. Other consortium members, including PES and Eaton Corporation, bring their expertise to generate design-allowable databases and guide aerospace product qualification expectations.

NASA's endorsement: A testament to A7050-RAM2's versatility

In a remarkable feat, Elementum 3D, in partnership with NASA, successfully completed the 3D printing and testing of a novel rocket engine nozzle using the weldable aluminium A6061-RAM2. This achievement showcases the material's heat-resistant properties, making it ideal for rocket engines. The lightweight design, with internal channels, reduces manufacturing steps and facilitates large-scale engine component production in a matter of days.

Strategic partnerships and technological advancements

Elementum 3D's commitment to advancing AM extends beyond project collaborations. Acquiring Nikon SLM Solutions' NXG XII 600 and entering into a material development agreement reflects the company's dedication to expanding additive manufacturing possibilities. This strategic partnership aims to address challenges in the aerospace industry, enhancing the material portfolio for Nikon SLM Solutions' machines.

The President and Founder of Elementum 3D, Dr Jacob Nuechterlein, implied: "America Makes' push to advance AM material datasets is monumental for the manufacturing industry. It stimulates greater confidence in high-strength aluminium print quality and broadens the AM supply chain. We are excited to join forces with the other awardees. Together, our expansive knowledge and expertise in materials development establishes the future of AM materials."

Conclusion: Shaping the future of additive manufacturing

In conclusion, Elementum 3D's success in securing approval for its A7050-RAM2 aluminium feedstock marks a significant stride in advancing additive manufacturing. This collaborative effort, supported by America Makes and esteemed partners, signifies a pivotal moment in the quest for diversified and comprehensive AM material datasets. If you wish to know more about the intricacies of the global aluminium industry, please have a look at AL Circle's special report, Global Aluminium Industry Outlook 2024. 

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