Kennametal launches its new KAR85-AM-K powder for binder jet 3D printing

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Kennametal, a Pennsylvania-based provider of industrial tooling and materials, has announced the launch of its new KAR85-AM-K additive manufacturing powder.

The tungsten carbide powder is characterized by its excellent corrosion and wear resistance, and is designed specifically for 3D printing high-performance end-use parts for the oil & gas and energy sectors. KAR85-AM-K is exclusively available through Kennametal’s own binder jet 3D printing services and parts made with the new grade are already being field-tested by a select group of customers.

“Kennametal is leading the way in tungsten carbide AM by combining the superior wear and corrosion resistance of our new KAR85-AM-K grade with deep expertise in binder jet 3D printing,” said Jay Verellen, General Manager of Kennametal Additive Manufacturing. “With this new grade, we’re delivering the best of both worlds for our customers: the highly desirable material properties of conventional tungsten carbide with the design flexibility of additive.”

Parts 3D printed using KAR85-AM-K. Photo via Kennametal.
Parts 3D printed using KAR85-AM-K. Photo via Kennametal.

Additive manufacturing with Kennametal

Founded in 1938. Kennametal has been a supplier of industrial tooling components and materials for several decades. The company offers blades, disks, skins, fuel control systems, and landing gear products for the aerospace sector as well as lathes and fixtures for the machine tool industry.

Kennametal Additive Manufacturing, the firm’s 3D printing business unit, provides raw materials and part production services. Customers of the firm’s research and development, prototyping, and production center located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania can make use of powder bed fusion and binder jetting technologies for both complex prototypes and series end-use parts. The company’s powder portfolio includes carbide, cobalt, nickel, and iron powders, including Stellite™ alloys.

The new KAR85-AM-K grade

Containing equal parts tungsten and carbon atoms, tungsten carbide is usually a fine grey powder in its most basic form. It’s about twice as dense and twice as stiff as steel with a Young’s Modulus of between 530 – 700 GPa and an ultimate tensile strength of 344 MPa. Tungsten carbide also has an extremely high melting point of 2,870°C and has a hardness comparable to that of corundum.

When conventionally manufactured, the high-performance compound is often used in industrial cutting tools, ammunition, mining drill bits, surgical equipment, and even jewelry.

Unlike standard tungsten carbide, Kennametal’s KAR85-AM-K powder features a proprietary formulation of cobalt, nickel, and chromium, providing the material with improved corrosion resistance when compared to other cobalt-based tungsten grades. In fact, the company leveraged its materials science expertise to model KAR85-AM-K’s corrosion and wear resistance properties after its conventional counterpart, grade CN13S.

Available to order via Kennametal’s binder jet service, 3D printed KAR85-AM-K parts will reportedly be fully dense and match the performance of conventionally manufactured carbide components. The powder is the firm’s second commercial carbide grade developed specifically for use with the binder jetting process.

3D printed stator bore with carbon fiber tubing. Image via Kennametal.
The company has previously 3D printed stator bores with carbon fiber tubing. Photo via Kennametal.

As metal 3D printing technology evolves, as does the ever-growing choice of compatible materials. Earlier this month, 6K Additive, a producer of industrial materials for the 3D printing sector, announced the commercial launch of a new set of refractory metal powders for powder bed fusion. The new offering, produced using the company’s proprietary UniMelt plasma system, includes high-value metals such as tungsten, rhenium, and niobium-based alloys.

Elsewhere, 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems recently added two new alloys to its Direct Metal Printing materials portfolio: Certified Scalmalloy and Certified M789. Specifically designed to yield high-strength corrosion-resistant parts, the former is a durable but lightweight aluminum while the latter is a cobalt-free alloy with high hardness.

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Featured image shows parts 3D printed using KAR85-AM-K. Photo via Kennametal.