6K Additive, a division of 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries made from its UniMelt® plasma technology, has announced a strategic partnership with Incodema3D for AM powder supply agreement and recycling.
Incodema3D sought a domestic AM metals powder supply that met strict quality standards, as well as a solution for recycling their used powder and parts, in response to increased demand and larger volume orders, primarily from aerospace and defence customers. Through its Powder Buy Back programme, 6K Additive is able to provide high volumes of domestically manufactured powder as well as a route to sustainably recycle Incodema3D’s used metals via its UniMelt plasma microwave powder production system.
“We are talking to clients now about projects for 2023 that will require ten tons of metal powder per month. When you’re going through that volume of powder, recycling becomes imperative, and sustainability is key to our business. By recycling our used powder with 6K Additive we have been able to drive down our contribution costs for material by 15% already. Add to it the quality standards both Incodema3D and our customers demand sets a high bar for any one supplier. 6K Additive overachieved on this front.”– Kevin Engel, Director of Additive Manufacturing and Metrology Operations, Incodema3D
Incodema3D for AM Powder Supply and Recycling
The mission of 6K Additive is to provide a solution for global decarbonization by producing high-performance additive manufacturing materials used in markets such as aerospace, medical, and industrial applications. The company recently released the findings of an LCA study conducted by Foresight Management comparing the environmental impact of 6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma technology to current metal powder atomization technologies. When using the 6K UniMelt process, the results showed a 91% reduction in energy use and a 91.5% reduction in carbon emissions. The independent studies are available for download here.
Incodema3D performed its own pre-qualification of 6K Additive’s nickel alloy 625 (Ni625), a high-strength, corrosion-resistant alloy that is popular in many of their customers’ applications. Internal qualification samples were measured for tensile strength, microstructure, density, and chemical composition and the results were compared to the requirements of existing suppliers and strategic customers.
The Ni625 from 6K Additive outperformed all of the tests, including tensile strength (greater than 125 ksi), yield strength (greater than 85 ksi), and elongation at break (greater than 30%).
Engel added, “We tested five samples and each one returned density results of 99.9%, which far exceeds the minimum requirement. Anything over 99.5% density in additive manufacturing is a good part.”
Incodema3D also prioritised finding a scalable domestic materials supplier. Because 6K Additive uses and waste material from domestic sources, they are not vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. A shorter domestic supply chain is also preferable for defence customers in terms of security and traceability.
In addition to Ni625, 6K Additive manufactures a full range of AM powders such as Ni718, Ti64, stainless steel 316/17-4, copper 18150 and GRCOP, and refractory powders such as tungsten, tantalum, and rhenium.
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