6K Additive, a division of 6K, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen, Germany, have announced a collaboration to create a complete lifecycle assessment (LCA) for Additive Manufacturing. The study will use sustainably manufactured Ni718 powder produced by 6K Additive for an industrial component manufactured on a Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) machine to better understand the carbon footprint from materials, the AM process, and post-processing.
“There are conflicting views on Additive Manufacturing regarding its environmental impact compared to traditional manufacturing. The goal for this study is to analyse factual data to help us understand the real environmental impact for printing a metal AM part using [PBF-LB],” stated Dr Jasmin Saewe, Head of Department Laser Powder Bed Fusion at Fraunhofer ILT. “We also thought it was extremely important to evaluate the entire process, including powder manufacturing, which is why we partnered with 6K Additive, who has a proven method of sustainable powder manufacturing.”
Frank Roberts, president of 6K Additive added, “We are excited to partner with Jasmin and her team at Fraunhofer ILT for this research. Our previous study clearly highlighted the environmental advantages our UniMelt® technology has over atomisation, but this collaboration takes it to the next step shedding light on the entire AM process. The market has embraced sustainability and the results of this study will provide the tools to allow customers to identify real solutions and help organisations drive toward carbon neutrality.”
Earlier this year, 6K Additive released two LCA projects for both titanium and nickel powders. It was found that for Ni718 powder, 6K’s UniMelt process – at minimum – delivered a 91% energy reduction and 92% carbon emission reduction from traditional processes.
Early results from this study will be on display at Fraunhofer’s Formnext stand in Hall 11.0, D51.