Sandvik and Renishaw to qualify new metal powders for laser powder bed fusion 3D printing

During Formnext 2019, Swedish global engineering group Sandvik has announced it is collaborating with UK-based metal 3D printer manufacturer Renishaw to qualify new additive manufacturing materials for production applications. 

Comprising a range of Sandvik metal powders, the two firms are qualifying alloy compositions optimized for the laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing process. “Sandvik now offers the widest range of AM materials to the market under the Osprey brand,” comments Mikael Schuisky, VP R&D and Operations at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing. 

“Renishaw’s open machines have enabled us to rapidly optimize process parameters for our alloys for use in many different applications.”

In a separate collaboration at the Formnext conference, Sandvik has also joined forces with Italian metal 3D printing service provider BEAMIT to showcase a number of new metal powders for additive manufacturing. Exhibiting from a joint stand, the two companies are introducing nickel-based superalloys and titanium powders and displaying a number of case studies with Sandvik’s Osprey range of additive manufacturing materials.

Sandvik metal powder plant in Sandviken. Photo via Sandvik.
Sandvik metal powder plant in Sandviken. Photo via Sandvik.

Qualifying metal additive manufacturing powders

Sandvik’s Additive Manufacturing division has been collaborating with Renishaw since 2018, when it was announced that the company had invested in several RenAM 500Q additive manufacturing systems. Renishaw’s 3D printers were installed at Sandvik’s $25 million specialist additive manufacturing materials production plant, which is situated close to its R&D center.

Sandvik had purchased the machines in order to increase its capacity for metal additive manufacturing, and accelerate the production of fine metal powders made from titanium and nickel, contributing to Sandvik’s existing Osprey brand of powders. Both Renishaw and Sandvik also announced that they were working together to develop additive manufacturing materials and post-processing technologies. 

Sandvik and Renishaw collaborate to qualify new materials for Additive Manufacturing. Photo via Sandvik.
Sandvik and Renishaw collaborate to qualify new materials for Additive Manufacturing. Photo via Sandvik.

Since Formnext 2018, when the partnership between Sandvik Additive and Renishaw was announced, the two companies have developed process parameters for a range of Sandvik metal powders, using Renishaw’s additive manufacturing systems. This includes stainless steel and maraging steels, as well as Osprey nickel-based superalloys. 

“Much of the innovation in AM in the next few years will come from the pairing of enhanced machine performance with improved alloys,” explained Stephen Crownshaw, AM Business Manager at Renishaw. “Better alloys mean better material properties, enabling AM components that are even more efficient and cost-effective. The consistency of Renishaw’s latest AM systems, combined with Sandvik’s material expertise, provides tremendous opportunities to advance AM processes and to make a stronger business case for AM.”

Through the development of the parameters, Sandvik has identified opportunities to make important changes to the composition of its alloys. These changes are said to help improve the mechanical properties of the material once 3D printed through the LPBF process. For example, the company has been able to create a crack-free version of its Osprey nickel superalloy.

Having recently inaugurated its state-of-the-art atomizing plant, Sandvik is now focusing on qualifying these alloys for industrial and medical applications. In October 2019, the company announced it was adding titanium additive manufacturing powder to its trademarked Osprey brand of materials, which would be produced at the atomizer and powder processing facility. 

Sandvik metal powder plant in Sandviken. Photo via Sandvik.
Sandvik metal powder plant in Sandviken. Photo via Sandvik.

BEAMIT and Sandvik join forces

Sandvik has continued to demonstrate a strong presence in metal additive manufacturing through various partnerships this year. One of the most significant developments was Sandvik’s acquisition of a significant stake in BEAMIT, which took place in July 2019. 

Both companies are now exhibiting from a joint booth at this year’s Formnext, showcasing their combined offering in metal powder additive manufacturing. On display is Sandvik’s range of Osprey metal powders, including the new nickel-based superalloys and titanium range. With its new materials, the company claims to offer one of the widest alloy programs on the market for additive manufacturing. 

Using its new Osprey powders, Sandvik states that users can produce light, durable components with complex internal geometries that can be used in industries such as aerospace, automotive and energy. The stand also features several additive customer use-cases in a wide range of materials, produced via different 3D printing processes, to showcase the performance characteristics of Sanvik’s metal powders

“By co-exhibiting at Formnext, our customers will have the opportunity to experience and discuss the complementary and combined power of Sandvik and BEAMIT,” states Kristian Egeberg, President of Sandvik Additive Manufacturing. “The additive manufacturing sector is developing fast, and there is a need for AM-specialist-partners with the advanced skills and resources required to help industrial customers develop and launch their AM programs.”

Visitors can find the The Sandvik – BEAMIT booth at Formnext in Hall 11.0, Stand B19 and B11. 

A closer angle of Sandvik's smash-proof 3D printed guitar. Image via Sandvik.
A closer angle of Sandvik’s smash-proof 3D printed guitar. Image via Sandvik.

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Featured image shows Sandvik metal powder plant in Sandviken. Photo via Sandvik.