6K launches ‘world first’ sustainable Additive Manufacturing powders

November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

6K, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, a developer of microwave plasma technology for the production of advanced materials used in Additive Manufacturing, lithium ion batteries and other industrial markets, has launched what it claims are the world’s first Additive Manufacturing powders derived from sustainable sources. 

6K’s process is said to have the ability to convert certified chemistry machined millings, turnings and other recycled feedstock sources into premium AM-ready metal powder. The company will showcase a selection of its metal and ceramic powders at Formnext 2019, Frankfurt, Germany, November 19–22.

“If the AM industry is to succeed in expanding to a far greater number of parts and market applications, powder production technology has to advance to provide a far stronger business case,” commented Dr Aaron Bent, 6K CEO. “Part of enabling that expansion will come from a lower total cost structure and higher performance powders, both of which are possible with 6K’s process. But we need to go beyond that, to powders and business models that consider the full production cycle cost of building AM parts.”

In addition to its current material sources, in future 6K plans to extend its capability to include feedstock created from AM support structures, non-conforming AM parts and more. The goal is to use 100% of the materials that enter the supply chain, providing AM end-users with a new way to manage project costs and control the supply chain, while also advancing progress toward a circular economy in AM.

6K’s powder products are said to be the combination of two core technologies:

  1. 6K Alloy Reclaimation technology: technology for reclaiming metals and alloys from subtractive manufacturing and other operations. The 6K Additive team is already reclaiming and selling over 500 tons of Ti-64 per year into the aluminium alloying industry for aerospace, medical, and automotive products. This provides an engineered feedstock for Amastan’s UniMelt plasma for a wide continuum of alloys.
  2. 6K UniMelt plasma system: microwave production scale plasma, with a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination, capable of high-throughput production of advanced AM materials, battery powders, phosphors and more.

“Our ability to reclaim materials and process almost any type of metal, alloy, or ceramic feedstock into premium powders puts a powerful tool into the hands of the AM designer,” continued Bent, “This now means that any alloy that is machined has the potential to become powder. Furthermore, we can create new AM powders previously not possible: powders engineered from non-eutectic alloys such as high-entropy alloys, or designer aluminium alloys capable of printing in Powder Bed Fusion systems.”

Due to the high uniformity of the microwave plasma, 6K reports that it has the ability to produce powders that exceed competitive technologies, providing high sphericity, zero porosity, elimination of satellites and high flowability and tap density. Through its metals reclamation strategy, 6K can specifically target the powder size distribution to the AM process required, thus enabling almost 100% UniMelt process yield, said to be as much as 3-4 times higher than gas atomisation.

As part of 6K’s launch, it also announced the rebranding of the company from Amastan Technologies to 6K. This is the latest in a series of strategic initiatives that reflect the company’s growth over the last year, including series B-2 funding of $11 million and the acquisition of AI Solutions (now 6K Additive). 6K Additive is a ISO9001 facility which processes over 500 tons of Ti-64 per year, and is in the process of building a state-of-the-art production facility for AM powders, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020.


November 4, 2019

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