QuesTek Innovations LLC, Evanston, Illinois, USA, and Norsk Titanium AS, headquartered in Hønefoss, Norway, are collaborating in hopes to advance the breakthrough use of nickel alloy wire in Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Additive Manufacturing. Together, the two companies look to provide manufacturers with an alternative to castings for large aerospace and industrial components, bypassing significant supply chain delays and shortening long lead times.
Using its ICMD® materials engineering software platform, QuesTek will model the full range of potential heat treatment temperatures and times that will yield the necessary properties including strength and corrosion resistance. Norsk Titanium will apply the QuesTek modelling to their proprietary Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) technology and provide real world test results to their end customer, rapidly advancing the technology readiness level of the alloy. It is hoped that applying Norsk’s process to a nickel-based wire will open new applications and components that can be manufactured quickly, without the need for lengthy and expensive casting development.
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“Our customer contacted us to ask if we would be willing to tackle this problem in support of a US government need. With our partner QuesTek, we are ready to rise to the occasion,” stated Norsk vice president of product development Nicholas Mayer. “We reached out to QuesTek to support the tight timelines. Their modelling capability allows us to dramatically reduce the amount of traditional testing that would be required to develop the additive parameters and subsequent heat treatment.”
The optimal heat treatment could reportedly be anywhere within a several-hundred-degree range, with a potential duration between less than an hour and more than a day; traditional trial-and-error may require dozens of test cases, which can be costly, time-consuming, and not be feasible on components this large. Drawing on data from decades of experience in modelling materials including nickel alloys, QuesTek will use ICMD to reduce the number of test cases needed to just a few.
“This is a very fitting challenge for QuesTek’s team of materials engineering experts and our ICMD software platform,” added QuesTek business development director, Jeff Grabowski. “We look forward to working with Norsk’s team to advance the boundaries of Additive Manufacturing as quickly as possible to remove delays in the industrial supply chain and provide an urgent solution to the government.”
Norsk and Questek have previously collaborated in 2018 and 2019 on titanium alloys for Norsk’s RPD process that targeted increased light weighting and component life.