6K Additive, a division of 6K, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, has announced its intention to significantly increase metal powder production capacity for Additive Manufacturing. This expansion includes adding four new UniMelt microwave plasma systems for powder production, as well as the addition of a new material feedstock preparation building.
This capacity increase is in response to the reported growth in demand for the company’s nickel, titanium and refractory powders. The additions are expected to help 6K meet its customers’ needs for the coming twelve to thirty-six months.
“Global unrest has shed a major spotlight on our nation’s supply chain vulnerability for critical materials,” stated Frank Roberts, 6K Additive’s president. “This, in combination with our consistent product quality, sustainability benefits, and the fact that we are a domestic supplier have contributed to increased commercial activity with key strategic customers. This expansion will help us meet customer demands in the coming years and ensure efficiencies in current and future operations.”
The addition of the feedstock preparation facility to 6K Additive’s site in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, is expected to provide the company with vertical integration of feedstock sizing for nickel and titanium in the same location. This will help to streamline operations and provide faster delivery, and ultimate control and quality of the powder produced. The Burgettstown plant currently produces a full range of powders including nickel 718 & 625, titanium-64, stainless steel and copper as well as capabilities to produce aluminium alloys. 6K Additive also runs two dedicated UniMelt production systems co-located in the company’s parent headquarters in North Andover producing tungsten, rhenium and niobium-based alloys for hypersonic, defence, and rocket applications.
Eric Martin, chief operating officer for 6K Additive, commented, “The ability to meet the demands of our customers in both quality and delivery is paramount for our organisation. The addition of a feedstock preparation facility and the added UniMelt production capacity will help to create a consistent operational flow to meet this demand. However, I am equally excited to be able to bring on more talent to the organisation with as many as thirty-five additional employees planned. It’s great for our organisation as well as the tri-state area.”
6K Additive’s mission is to provide a solution for global decarbonisation in producing performance materials that are critical to production in markets such as aerospace, defence, medical and industrial applications. The company recently released results from a life cycle assessment conducted by Foresight Management comparing the environmental impact of 6K’s UniMelt® microwave plasma technology to current atomisation technologies in the production of metal powders. The results showed upwards of a 91% reduction in energy use and a 91.5% reduction in carbon emissions when using the 6K UniMelt process.