- The company is building an industrial-scale atomiser in Spain to produce high-quality steel powders for multiple additive manufacturing technologies
The world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, has announced its entry into the additive manufacturing market as a steel powder supplier. In Aviles, Spain, the company is constructing an industrial-scale inert gas atomiser to produce steel powders for AM technologies such as laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), binder jetting (BJ), and direct energy deposition (DED).
The atomiser, which will go into production in January 2024, will have a large batch size production capability ranging from 200 kg to 3 tonnes, as well as an initial annual capacity of 1000 tonnes. ArcelorMittal will be able to supply significant volumes of steel powders with consistent quality, reliability, and traceability, meeting the AM industry’s high standards and specifications.
ArcelorMittal Powders, a new business unit, has been established to commercialise the atomiser’s output. Steel powders will be available in a variety of sizes to accommodate all existing powder-based metal additive technologies in manufacturing industries such as aerospace, defence, automotive, medical, and energy. They can also be used in the most recent technological developments, such as brake disc coatings being developed to assist automotive OEMs and Tier Ones in complying with the EU7 particle emissions regulation. A layer of powder deposited on the brake disc provides wear and corrosion resistance, reducing braking particulate emissions significantly.
“We are proud to launch ArcelorMittal Powders, a new business unit that reflects our vision to be at the forefront of innovation and sustainability in the steel industry. By producing and supplying steel powders for additive manufacturing, we are expanding our portfolio of advanced materials and solutions for the future of manufacturing. We believe that steel has great potential to become the material of choice for additive manufacturing, thanks to its versatility, performance and sustainability.”– Gregory Ludkovsky, Chief Executive Officer of Global Research and Development, ArcelorMittal
Colin Hautz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders said, “Additive manufacturing is an area we have been investing in and building our capabilities for several years, and we are now ready to scale up our production and offer our customers and partners a reliable and competitive source of high-quality steel powders.”
ArcelorMittal’s Steel Powder portfolio
ArcelorMittal’s product portfolio will include stainless steels (316L, 430L, 17-4PH), tool steels (H11, H13, M300), and low alloy steels (a dual-phase alloy; 4140 equivalent) marketed under the AdamIQ™ brand name. ArcelorMittal’s research and development team dedicated to AM technologies and steel powder production plans to add more steel powder products for customers to test in 2024, drawing on its metallurgical expertise.
ArcelorMittal believes that additive manufacturing (AM) can open up new opportunities for the manufacturing industry by enabling the production of complex, customised parts with improved properties while reducing material waste. The company is now looking to expand its participation in the AM market and, similar to its successful approach in the automotive sector with its S-in motion® programme, plans to scale its steel powders offering in collaboration with customers and industrial partners through co-design and co-engineering projects.
Since 2018, ArcelorMittal has been producing steel powders in a pilot atomiser at its Aviles AM lab. ArcelorMittal has developed a detailed understanding of the interactions between steel alloy design, atomisation parameters, AM process parameters, and the final properties of printed parts using dedicated research and development facilities and over 50 full-time researchers.
ArcelorMittal has already collaborated with customers and partners on a variety of projects through its AM and Digital Research Centre, including the development of a generative design steel motorcycle chassis, the optimisation of AM productivity through software algorithms, and the production of over 10 tonnes of 1,600 different spare parts per year for its own steel plants with a JV partner.
Two factors influenced ArcelorMittal’s decision to enter the steel powders market now.
- To begin, the belief that additive manufacturing, while still in its infancy, has exciting growth potential and that there are significant benefits to being an early participant able to shape the direction of growth.
- Second, industrial customers reported that variations in batch-to-batch quality are a significant issue that affects production reliability and repeatability, impeding the wider adoption of AM in larger production runs. This, combined with the trend towards larger AM machines, prompted the decision to create an atomiser with a large batch size.
ArcelorMittal debuted its steel powders and additive manufacturing capabilities at the Formnext trade show in Frankfurt, Germany (November 7–10, 2023), where visitors were able to learn more about the company’s products and services, as well as see examples of the printed parts that have been developed.
Pre-sales orders for volume in 2024 are being accepted at competitive rates.
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