Equispheres has announced the development of an aluminium alloy feedstock that is said to reduce the hazards associated with the handling of materials.
The ‘dust free’ NExP-1 material is designed for the production of ‘high-quality’ aluminium parts and is characterised as non-explosible per the ASTM E1226 Standard Test Method for Explosibility of Dust Clouds. Equispheres says the material is also non-combustible per the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part 3, Subsection 33.2.2 for flammable solids. It was launched at last week's Formnext.
Due to the non-explosible credentials of the Equispheres aluminium alloy, the company believes it could reduce the barriers to industrialisation, while also making it easier for manufacturers to integrate 3D printing into their facilities. Currently available in AlSi10Mg, the technology behind this development is set to be applied to other materials with recommended parameters being worked on.
“We have achieved these key safety properties without altering the quality of our material nor the chemical composition,” commented Evan Butler-Jones, Vice President of Product & Strategy for Equispheres. “In printing, this material performs just as well as our other aluminium powders, but it has the added benefit of being non-explosible and non-combustible. It would almost be inaccurate to even call this a powder. It is almost totally free of dust; it flows like water, and it is easy to clean off of equipment surfaces. It is a completely unique printing media for production additive manufacturing.”
“We are applying our technology to empower innovation in additive manufacturing,” added Kevin Nichols, CEO of Equispheres. “This new breakthrough is a result of our ongoing efforts to make 3D printing more accessible and competitive with other manufacturing methods.”
At Formnext, Equispheres also announced a collaborations with Morf3D to qualify its aluminium powders and to develop new applications which will result in 'further performance improvements based on current expectations.'
“Morf3D is a leading innovation partner in additive manufacturing and has extensive experience with serial production. At Equispheres, we have an emphasis on applications engineering and process optimisation, so we speak the same language,” said Butler-Jones. “With Morf3D applying our materials technology, we expect to find even more opportunities for AM in space and aviation.”
“We constantly seek innovations in additive manufacturing that will accelerate customer adoption, solve challenging problems and drive to reach traditional cost models. This collaboration with Equispheres gives us access to materials optimised for production with proven performance benefits. We're excited to explore and share the possibilities of this technology,” added Dr. Behrang Poorganji, Vice-President, Materials Technology at Morf3D.