Gränges Powder Metallurgy, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, has launched its first aluminium alloy for Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing, the S220 AM from its DISPAL® family of high-performance aluminium. The alloy’s properties are said to be comparable to steel, but at a third of its weight, making it well suited to industries such as aerospace and automotive.
The S220 AM alloy has a high silicon content, characterised by low density and low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). Due to the fine silicon particles being evenly distributed in the matrix structure, the material is said to possess good wear and friction properties.
“I am not aware of any other alloy on the AM market that has such a low CTE,” stated Greta D’Angelo, Business Development Manager at Gränges Powder Metallurgy. “In the past, we had many success stories of customers replacing steel and carbon fibre applications with the conventional DISPAL S220. Now, we are excited to offer the same material for Additive Manufacturing, giving our customers the opportunity to take advantage of even more geometrical freedom in the design of their next-generation products.”
A low CTE is said to be crucial in applications that require extreme precision under high loads and high temperatures, such as linear technology and robotics. It is also a critical attribute in optical applications in the space industry, where a low CTE helps enable high precision communication at large distances.
Gränges Powder Metallurgy has experience in manufacturing aluminium powders that goes back over thirty years. The DISPAL S220 material was invented and commercialised in the 1980s as part of a larger family of alloys, so while the material itself is not new, its use in Additive Manufacturing marks the company’s entrance into the technology.
DISPAL S220 AM powder is currently not commercially available, however Gränges offers an Additive Manufacturing service via a global network of trusted partners. The service is not limited to the manufacturing of the components, but also offers support with part selection, development, engineering and quality assurance.
“We want to support our customers through the whole process, and deliver finished components of high quality, being that prototypes or serial production,” D’Angelo continued. “We are aware that onboarding a new material can be a daunting process, especially for a new technology like AM, therefore we take care of that part for our customers so that they don’t have to worry about it.”
Gränges Powder Metallurgy is working to develop a wide portfolio of both Additive Manufacturing aluminium powders and specialised additively manufactured aluminium alloys. More alloys are already reported to be in the pipeline, and are expected to be released before the end of the year.