Everybody's talking about additive manufacturing. Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) is now making a push: as an established powder manufacturer for 3D printing, the Schmolz + Bickenbach Group company is speeding up the next stage of development with its Printdur metal powder portfolio. DEW is already including interested customers in the prototyping process and is developing complete manufacturing processes with them – from the initial idea and alloy design through to the finished product.
Unlike mechanical manufacturing processes such as milling or turning, additive manufacturing builds up the components layer by layer. This method provides considerable flexibility in component design. A high-grade starting powder is essential. Deutsche Edelstahlwerke supplies a wide range of iron-, nickel- or cobalt-based atomised metal powders in its Printdur portfolio. The raw materials are liquefied in an induction oven and then added to a gas atomisation system. This is where the particles are shaped into spheres, guaranteeing excellent flow behaviour and effective dosage control for the powder. This means DEW's own powders are eminently suitable for additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing with metal materials is primarily used in the aerospace industry, medical technology, toolmaking and lightweight automotive construction. DEW aims to work as closely as possible with the customer on the manufacturing process. Dr Horst Hill, Head of Special Materials at Deutsche Edelstahlwerke, explains: "We help our customers with implementation – from their own alloy idea to the printed end product. We take a step-by-step approach: we define the requirements, develop the material, carry out powder atomisation, try out and optimise the material and, ultimately, also even help to recycle the powder. We are extremely flexible with regard to the order amount: we supply both tiny amounts and large volumes on an industrial scale."
Deutsche Edelstahlwerke manufactures all products on additive manufacturing systems (AM systems) – from the initial powder and semi-finished part through to the additive-manufactured component. DEW customers benefit from an extensive product variety in additive manufacturing. The steel experts already offer more than 200 materials in metal powders.