Sandvik, developer of the widest range of metal powders on the market, has expanded its material offering with the addition of 3D printed cemented carbide material. This is made possible by a one-of-a-kind powder crafted through a patented process developed by the company’s leading additive value chain experts.
Cemented carbide is difficult to machine, but now manufacturers get the opportunity to use the newly developed powder through 3D printing technologies.
3D Printed Cemented Carbide
Cemented carbides have a distinct character due to their composite structure – a wear-resistant phase bonded together by a ductile binder metal – and are widely used in a variety of industries including metal cutting, agriculture, food, and oil and gas. Cemented carbides can be difficult to machine due to their inherent hardness, especially in complex geometries. Sandvik can now offer 3D printed cemented carbide on a commercial scale, based on a tailor-made powder obtained through a proprietary process, with the design freedom, decreased material waste, and fewer replacements that additive manufacturing technology provides.
A key distinction between cemented carbide and other hard materials is that these alloys are frequently brittle to some extent – whereas cemented carbide, with its matrix structure primarily composed of cobalt and tungsten carbide, is uniquely tough. Because of the material’s extreme durability, the printed components are well suited for most industries looking to optimise production efficiency – including those operating in harsh environments.
“The main enabler behind us continuously building on our additive offering is the fact that at Sandvik, innovation never stops. Thanks to our longstanding experience in materials technology paired with our expertise along the additive value chain, made even stronger by our partnership with the BEAMIT Group, we can innovate at a speed few others can. This makes us uniquely positioned to drive the shift toward the industrialization of 3D printing, and prove sustainable manufacturing isn’t just possible – it’s already happening. 3D printing in cemented carbide is a natural next step for us having perfected these materials for decades, and we are very pleased to offer additively manufactured components that can revolutionize the performance throughout our customers’ businesses.”
– Mikael Schuisky, VP and Head of Business Unit Additive Manufacturing at Sandvik
Plan it, Print it, Perfect it
Sandvik states in their “Plan it, Print it, Perfect it” approach to additive manufacturing that printing is only one of seven steps you must master in order to succeed with the industrialization of AM – and that obtaining the most optimal material, tailored to your AM process and end component, is the first and perhaps most important step.
The most important aspect of our process, according to Anders Ohlsson, Lead Product Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, is working with powders that have the right properties. Above all, high density has a significant impact on the quality that can be achieved in terms of material properties and geometry. Sandvik has created a one-of-a-kind powder as well as a process. After decades of perfecting these materials, 3D printed cemented carbide is a natural next step for us.
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