The process of additively manufacturing parts to meet the high standards of the aerospace, energy, defense, and automotive industries is still held under close scrutiny by larger manufacturers, however, who are still learning to trust and understand the process. As quality control procedures are implemented to ensure that 3D printed metal components can make it in the risky world of aerospace, defense, and automotive manufacturing, opportunities open up for new businesses to step in and offer what they claim to be high quality products for high performance industries.
The most recent company to enter the 3D printing market with just such a product is NanoSteel, an engineer of nanostructured steel materials. In metal 3D printing, achieving fully-dense metal parts without cracks can pose a problem, but, with the Rhode Island-based manufacturer’s uniform metal matrix microstuctures, NanoSteel boasts that they are capable of laser-sintering crack-free, fully dense steel parts. The company has worked with a process development partner to create their proprietary NanoSteel alloy, with hardness values over 1000 HV, wear resistance similar to M2 tool steels, and a uniform microstructure. Unlike other industrial metal printer manufacturers, NanoSteel was able to do so without post-processing, such as heat treatment, which could significantly reduce the amount of time and work put into producing 3D printed metal parts.
General Manager of Engineered Powders at NanoSteel, Harald Lemke, says of their contribution to the industry, “Currently, the material options to produce highly wear-resistant parts through additive manufacturing are limited. By extending the reach of steel into markets currently served by WC-Co, ceramics, and other non-ferrous metal matrix metal composites, NanoSteel has the potential to generate cost-efficient wear parts to serve the tooling, mining, energy, and transportation industries in applications such as pumps, bearings, and cutting tools.”
After demonstrating their material in creating fully-dense parts, the company plans to move onto more complex geometries and, possibly, gradient materials. NanoSteel also hopes to apply their technology to new metals. To learn more about NanoSteel’s entrance into the world of 3D printing, watch their video below.