Materialise and ArcelorMittal Powders to optimize LPBF metal 3D printing in new partnership

Belgian 3D printing software and services provider Materialise has partnered with metal 3D printing powder company ArcelorMittal Powders, a business unit of global steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal

Through the memorandum of understanding (MOU), ArcelorMittal Powders will develop new solutions that combine Materialise’s Build Processor software with its AdamIQ range of steel powders. 

This combination will reportedly increase the speed, quality, and cost-efficiency of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printing and optimize metal 3D printing strategies.      

“Our collaboration with Materialise supports our vision that the key to success in additive manufacturing is about finding the right blend of digital instructions and steel powders to deliver the best balance of quality and productivity in an application,” explained Aubin Defer, Chief Marketing Officer at ArcelorMittal Powders.

“Whether developing new applications with new alloys or proving the feasibility of new designs for existing applications through steel additive manufacturing, Materialise offers us a formidable channel to bring build instructions straight to the heart of a 3D printer.”

With an estimated market capitalization of EUR 20 billion, ArcelorMittal began producing its AdamIQ steel powders for the metal 3D printing market in January 2024.

In an interview with 3D Printing Industry at Formnext 2023, ArcelorMittal Powders’ CEO Colin Hautz outlined the company’s strategy to meet the growing demand for metal 3D printing powder. According to Hautz, this market could see demand increase to between 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes of powder over the next five years.   

ArcelorMittal and Materialise's logos. Image via Materialise.
ArcelorMittal and Materialise’s logos. Image via Materialise.

Materialise and ArcelorMittal Powders combine to optimize LPBF   

ArcelorMittal’s metal powder business unit produces steel feedstock for LPBF, binder jetting (BJ), and direct energy deposition (DED) metal additive manufacturing systems. 

Hautz told 3D Printing Industry that ArcelorMittal Powders’ long-term vision is to leverage “ArcelorMittal’s metallurgical and digital expertise to unleash the potential of steel in combination with Additive Manufacturing.” 

He argued that increasing 3D printer productivity is key for reducing part costs and increasing adoption, with the company “looking at productivity as the main thing to try and unleash.” In particular, Hauze highlighted the importance of improving operational throughput, reliability, and software through new solutions for its customers. 

ArcelorMittal Powders’ recent collaboration with Materialise seeks to address these productivity challenges by optimizing LPBF, the most widely used additive manufacturing technology for the production of metal parts.     

Materialise’s Build Processor platform links data preparation software with 3D printers, allowing users to customize 3D printing process parameters, streamline workflows and achieve faster 3D printing. It can reportedly support larger build volumes and more complex geometries than other offerings on the market. 

The two companies claim that combining this software with AdamIQ steel powders will improve setup and production speed, part quality, cost-efficiency, reproducibility and repeatability of LPBF systems.  

Udo Eberlein, Vice President of Software at Materialise, noted that this new partnership marks a significant milestone in advancing the shared vision of both companies.  

“By enhancing processes and solutions, we aim to expand the applications and industries utilizing additive manufacturing,” stated Eberlein. “This partnership brings us closer to a future where 3D printing achieves its full potential, enabling mass customization and large-scale production.” 

From left to right: Karel Brans, Senior Director Partnerships, Materialise Software; Aubin Defer, CMO, ArcelorMittal Powders; Colin Hautz, CEO, ArcelorMittal Powders; Udo Eberlein, Vice President, Materialise Software; Bart Van der Schueren, CTO, Materialise. Photo via Materialise.
From left to right: Karel Brans, Senior Director Partnerships, Materialise Software; Aubin Defer, CMO, ArcelorMittal Powders; Colin Hautz, CEO, ArcelorMittal Powders; Udo Eberlein, Vice President, Materialise Software; Bart Van der Schueren, CTO, Materialise. Photo via Materialise.

Increasing the efficiency of LPBF 

Materialise and ArcelorMittal Powders’ new solutions will add to several recent releases which seek to increase the efficiency of LPBF 3D printing. 

At the end of 2023, 3D printing software developer Dyndrite launched its Dyndrite LPBF Pro software. This platform is designed to enhance the capabilities of those using LPBF technology by improving part printing capabilities, increasing build rates, and enabling cost savings. The software can be integrated into various metal 3D printers, including Aconity3D, Renishaw, SLM Solutions, and other leading models.    

Elsewhere, Engineered materials company Uniformity Labs’ UniFuse 316L ultra-low porosity stainless steel powder is designed to offer high throughput LPBF 3D printing. The company claims that combining the feedstock with its High-Performance Scanning (HPS) technology enables 3X faster build times. 

Uniformity powders are also said to deliver enhanced mechanical properties and reliability across the build bed, even at increased build rates and thicker layer printing. An austenitic stainless steel, UniFuse 316L is ideal for parts subjected to marine, pharmaceutical, or petrochemical processing, food preparation equipment, medical devices, surgical tooling, and consumer products such as jewelry. 

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Featured image shows ArcelorMittal and Materialise’s logos. Image via Materialise.