3D Systems is the first company to market a new copper-nickel alloy for PBF laser 3D printing – 3DPrint.com


3D Systems, the South Carolina-based additive manufacturing (AM) pioneer, has announced that the company is the first to bring to the AM industry a powder-based version of CuNi30, a copper-nickel alloy. 3D Systems has co-developed the new CuNi30 powder with Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States, for use with 3D Systems’ DMP Flex 350 metal printer, a fusion platform powder bed laser (LBPF).

HII was created in 2011, as a spin-off from defense giant Northrop Grumman, which recently joined the Biden administration’s AM Forward initiative. Specifically, 3D Systems developed the new material in conjunction with HII’s Newport News shipbuilding division, headquartered in Newport News, Virginia. HII also has a shipbuilding division in Mississippi (Ingalls Shipbuilding), as well as a division for more general defense and industrial technologies, including nuclear power and oil and gas.

In a press release, Dr. Michael Shepard, Vice President of Defense and Aerospace at 3D Systems, said, “We have a decades-long relationship with the United States Navy, which has helped drive the innovation for a variety of applications including aircraft parts and submersibles. Components. …[This latest project] resulted in a copper-nickel alloy…which results in better part density and better mechanical properties compared to traditional casting. Newport News Shipbuilding Vice President of Engineering and Design, David Bolcar, added, “We look forward to continuing to expand our parameter development efforts with 3D Systems to other alloys of interest.”

Among other advantages over conventional casting techniques, including savings on inventory costs, printing with CuNi30 can lead to a reduction in lead times of up to 75%. 3D Systems expects to launch the new copper-nickel powder to the general market in the fourth quarter of this year.

Due to its high reflectivity, pure copper is extremely difficult to use on laser-based AM rigs. CuNi30 is 30% nickel, in the lower copper content range for commonly available copper-nickel alloys. It’s possible that this gives it an edge among all the copper-nickel powders used for laser platforms, which, in turn, means it’s particularly advantageous for 3D Systems to be first to market in this case in particular.

In addition to shipbuilding, copper-nickel alloys are useful in virtually any other industry where corrosion resistance is a concern, such as nuclear power and oil and gas. Apart from being the other industries that HII is involved in, these are also industries that are starting to dramatically increase their adoption of AM in recent times. Seemingly joining the rest of the entire range of base materials you can think of, copper and nickel supplies are increasingly volatile and look likely to remain so. In this context, the increasing availability of printing options with copper-nickel alloys is one more signal suggesting that additive manufacturing is about to have an increasingly significant impact on all sectors related to the printing industry. ‘energy.


Comments are closed.