VBN Components Analysing wear-resistant materials to increase industrial adoption of AM

Editor: Briggette Jaya

New metals expert VBN Components says it develops the most wear-resistant metals on the market.

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A hollow and light piston that was 3D printed with cemented carbide Vibenite 480.
A hollow and light piston that was 3D printed with cemented carbide Vibenite 480.
(Source: VBN Components)

The market for additively manufactured (AM) components with new metals increase each year. According to Sweden-based VBN Components, it develops the most wear-resistant metals on the market. These metal will now be machined and analysed in a project known as Machining of AM components or, in short, Project MacAM.

Just about to take off, Project MacAM will optimise the post processing of the AM materials of VBN Components. Project MacAM will be financed by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova and the project will be executed with partners Swerim (Swedish metals research institute), Sandvik Coromant and 3M. VBN says its metal materials increase lifespan and performance of components and can even reduce production costs significantly. Now machining techniques are expected to improve by 40%, as claimed by VBN, which will encourage more companies to take the leap towards AM.

New, extremely hard and wear-resistant materials can be produced with AM technology to enable more efficient solutions. However, it has been difficult for industrial players to adopt the new technology because of the lack of experience and understanding of the machining process of the new, super-hard materials, says David Franklin, researcher at Swerim.

The AM process minimises material use and allows new, advanced structures, for example, for cooling channels with reduced component weight. However, the surface of a 3D-printed component has to be machined first for it to achieve the required tolerances and smoothness. Samples of VBN’s carbide-rich materials with raw surfaces will be analysed and machined in a well-controlled environment. From these results, a guideline with recommendations will be created, which has long been requested by the metal industry.

Today, there is a knowledge gap regarding grinding and post processing of AM components. This project, as such, will throw light and provide new recommendations for tools and knowledge about post processing, which is of utmost importance for the industrial adoption of AM, says VBN's CTO Ulrik Beste.

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