3D Printers

Zecotek Launches New Metal 3D Printing Powder Production Method

In July of 2014, Singapore-based Zecotek Photonics partnered with Greek-Armenian company LT-Pyrkal to produce a small, high speed, metal-based laser sintering 3D printer. That project is still ongoing, and a first working prototype is due in Q3 of this year. In the meantime, the company has also announced a new breakthrough method to produce metal powders for laser sintering

The new manufacturing approach was developed by the Zecotek Display Systems division, in partnership with LT-Pyrkal and with the Russian-based Institute of Chemical Physics, to address issues in traditional metal powder manufacturing. These include the complex operations required to prepare hydrides, such as the initial activation of metal and deep cleaning of hydrogen, plus use of expensive fine metal powder under hydrogenation.

According to the company, Zecotek’s new process will use metal hydride synthesis to offer higher productivity, superior quality, synthesized hydride, with lower energy consumption, great ecological purity, and higher safety with respect to more traditional powder production processes of refractory metals used for laser sintering.  Dr. A.F. Zerrouk, Chairman, President, and CEO of Zecotek Photonics Inc, claims that this new and unique manufacturing technology for metal powders is a significant achievement in the advancement of 3D printing. “The quest for cheap and available powders of refractory metals has been long and hard and the 3D industry will value our solution,” Dr. Zerrouk said, explaining that he undoubtedly considers laser sintering based 3D printing to be the technology of the future.

“We expect the advantages of our breakthrough technology to greatly contribute to the rapid development of additive technologies for 3D rapid manufacturing,” Dr Zerrouk continued. “The development of a new generation of hydrogen-containing materials, including those based on refractory metals, nano-modified alloys and certain inter-metallides groups, is key for additive 3D printing technologies.  Zecotek and its strategic partners are leading the way in this very vast and rapidly changing market.”

The metal powder developed by Zecotek and partners will be compatible with Zecotek’s 3D printer and other laser sintering 3D printers. Zekotek’s long running experience in several segments related to 3D displays, lasers, and photonics in general are a good indication that this technology may add yet one more significant layer to the goal of transforming metal additive manufacturing into the ideal manufacturing method for an ever growing range of components.