6K Additive introduces refractory metals for 3D printing

6K Additive has announced the commercial launch of new refractory metal powders for additive manufacturing.

The company, which has developed a technology that can turn virtually any scrap metal into materials for 3D printing, says demand for materials such as tungsten, rhenium, tungsten/rhenium and niobium-based powders is high from industries such as defense, aerospace and medical where high-temperature and high-strength properties are required.

Frank Roberts, 6K Additive President commented: “The leading defense organizations are not only looking for refractory materials like tungsten and rhenium, they are looking for it at production scale. The uniqueness of 6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma process, combined with the expertise of our operations team, has allowed us to manufacture production scale volumes for many of the refractory powders like tungsten and tungsten/rhenium. We have spheroidized the full spectrum of refractory powders including tantalum, niobium and molybdenum and we are ready to help organizations advance their applications with these materials.”

Huntsville, AL based Quadrus Corporation recently worked with 6K Additive to make spherical tungsten-rhenium for the production of a non-eroding throat insert for a solid rocket motor nozzle. Joe Sims, Director of the Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing Division said the material had worked “exceptionally well” in its selective laser melting machines.

6K’s UniMelt technology is the world’s only microwave production-scale plasma system and currently used to produce Ti6Al4V (Grade 5 and Grade 23), SS316L and nickel superalloys Ni718 and Ni625 for additive manufacturing. Last year, the company completed construction of a state-of-the-art, 45,000 sq/ft powder production facility in Burgettstown, PA which currently houses two UniMelt systems, with another two set for installation later this year. 6K has plans to expand the facility throughout next year to make room for an additional six systems.

We have a full conversation with 6K Additive President Frank Roberts coming up inside the next issue of TCT Magazine. Subscribe here.

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