Market News Paving the way for industrial 3D printing of amorphous metals
The technology companies Heraeus Amloy and Trumpf have started working together on the 3D printing of amorphous metals, also known as metallic glasses.
Their goal is to establish the printing of amorphous parts as a standard production method on the shop floor by improving process and cost efficiencies. Amorphous metals are twice as strong as steel, yet significantly lighter and more elastic. They exhibit isotropic behavior, which means their material properties remain identical, regardless of the direction in which the 3D printer builds up the workpiece. In addition to creating highly robust parts, 3D printing also gives engineers more freedom in the design process. A number of areas could benefit from 3D printing of amorphous metals. Key examples include parts that are subject to significant stresses and lightweight design in sectors such as aerospace and mechanical engineering. These materials are also an excellent choice for medical devices due to their biocompatibility.
“3D printing of amorphous components in industry is still in its infancy. This new collaboration will help us speed up printing processes and improve surface quality, ultimately cutting costs for customers. This will make the technology more suitable for a wider range of applications, some of which will be completely new,” says Jürgen Wachter, head of the Heraeus Amloy business unit.
“Amorphous metals hold potential for numerous industries. For example, they can be used in medical devices — one of the most important industries for additive manufacturing. That’s why we believe this collaboration is such a great opportunity to make even more inroads into this key market with our industrial 3D printing systems,” says Klaus Parey, managing director Trumpf Additive Manufacturing.
Amorphous metals are formed by cooling molten metal extremely quickly. A 3D printer can then build them into larger, more complex parts — something that other methods are unable to do. This opens the door to new industrial applications for amorphous metals. 3D printing also exploits the considerable potential that they hold for lightweight design. A 3D printer only builds structures that actually help a part fulfil its function, so material use and weight are kept to a minimum.