Kennametal Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, has formed a new Additive Manufacturing materials and production business unit, Kennametal Additive Manufacturing, as part of its Infrastructure segment. The new business unit, which has reportedly begun shipping production parts to customers, combines the company’s experience in materials science and wear-resistant solutions with its AM capabilities to supply high-performance metal powders and finished AM parts for wear, erosion, corrosion, and high temperature applications.
“Kennametal Additive Manufacturing combines our recognised expertise in wear materials, such as tungsten carbide and Kennametal Stellite™, with the advantages of 3D printing – design flexibility, shorter development cycles and reduced lead times,” stated Ron Port, Vice President, Kennametal Inc., and President, Infrastructure Business Segment. “We are focused on high-growth potential additive solutions, and this new business unit is advancing both what we make and how we make it, so we can produce better parts, faster and more efficiently, for our customers.”
Kennametal has been leveraging AM materials and processes within its existing businesses for some time to manufacture prototype components and cutting tools. Most recently, it was reported by Cutting Tool Engineering (CTE) to have developed a metal additively manufactured stator bore tool to meet growing customer demand for lighter weight tooling solutions to machine components for hybrid and electric vehicles.
E-mobility components are typically machined on small, low-power CNC machining centres that require lightweight tooling. By using AM, Kennametal was able to produce a stator bore tool which weighs half as much as its conventionally manufactured equivalent, while meeting the same accuracy, roundness and surface finish requirements for boring of aluminium motor bodies.
The stator bore also incorporated cooling channels, made possible by AM, to maximise the tool’s productivity and lifespan. Werner Penkert, Manager Future Solutions at Kennametal, told CTE, “By using metal powder bed 3D printing together with finite element analysis software, we were able to design and build a tool that brought the moment of inertia very close to the spindle face, increasing its rigidity while meeting the customer’s weight restrictions. It is an excellent example of how Kennametal is using advanced manufacturing technology to help meet our customer’s unique challenges.”
The new Kennametal Additive Manufacturing business is expected to build on these capabilities to offer comprehensive AM solutions, from raw material to finished part. The company’s gas atomisation powder production capabilities reportedly enable it to supply cobalt, nickel, and iron powders optimised for specific AM processes, while at its R&D pilot production and prototyping centre in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the business uses both Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) and Binder Jetting and has post-processing capabilities including sintering, Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) and machining.
Sherri McCleary, Director of Kennametal’s Additive Manufacturing Business, leads the new business segment, reportedly bringing thirty years of materials science and business development expertise to the role. The unit has already shipped its first production parts to customers in the oil and gas and power industries, including parts manufactured using powders specifically designed and optimised for AM, including Kennametal KAC89 tungsten carbide and Stellite™ 6 AM, a wear resistant cobalt-chrome alloy.