Rusal, Moscow, Russia, has established a complete, closed Additive Manufacturing cycle at the Institute of Light Materials and Technologies (ILM&T). Rusal, a global aluminium producer, founded ILM&T in 2017 with the primary objective being the development, innovation and launch of new varieties of aluminium-based products and materials into the market. Thus far, €3.5 million has been invested by the company into resources and facility development at the Additive Technology Centre.
The opening of an Additive Manufacturing site and the installation of new equipment, including an atomiser and a powder sizing and packaging line, has made it possible for Rusal to launch the complete production cycle, from powder production to part finishing, at its own R&D centre.
With this new site, ILM&T will be primed to develop unique, high-strength and heat-resistant aluminium-based materials specifically designed for AM, providing a range of turnkey services for Rusal customers. These services range from material creation and Additive Manufacturing technology to engineering and optimising parts for AM technologies. The new equipment also allows for the production of a significant variety of materials, due to its quick changeover capacity.
At present, a promising focus area of work at the ILM&T is the creation of a heat-resistant aluminium alloy, adapted for AM, that will be able to perform at temperatures of up to 400°C. In 2019, the ILM&T launched a new range of unique aluminium alloys for AM, which have since been adopted in the fields of medicine, mechanical engineering and the space industry.
“In just three years at the ILM&T, we have managed to not only form a team of highly-skilled industry-leading professionals but also to provide all the necessary resources and facilities to enable the rendering of a full range of services from research to engineering,” stated Victor Mann, Chief Technical Officer at Rusal.
“The Institute’s specialists have successfully developed and enhanced the production of innovative solutions in the field of high-strength aluminium powders for additive technologies, intended for shipbuilding and the space industry, as well as aluminium alloys with increased corrosion resistance for railway, transport and construction,” he continued.
“Now, one of the ILM&T’s biggest tasks moving forward is to achieve a significant reduction in production costs by recycling and optimising the printing process parameters. This work will make it possible to accelerate the implementation of new developments and to expand their application to more industries in the future,” Mann concluded.