EMO 2019 / VBN Components “Print while the powder is hot”

Editor: Steffen Donath

EMO 2019 will be the platform for the launch of VBN Components' Vibenite 480. VBN 3D prints fully functional components in cemented carbide with EBM technology.

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Large drill with cutting fluid channels, made with Vibenite, Diam=40 mm, Length=220 mm. Please note that this is a demonstration drill, which is not fully ground in the flute.
Large drill with cutting fluid channels, made with Vibenite, Diam=40 mm, Length=220 mm. Please note that this is a demonstration drill, which is not fully ground in the flute.
(Source: VBN)

In December 2018, VBN Components declared that it could 3D print cemented carbide containing 65 % carbides, which is unparalleled in additive manufacturing. The next step is to showcase Vibenite 480 at the EMO fair in Hannover in the Additive Manufacturing Circle, Hall 9. VBN will give two “Expert talks”, on 18 September at 11am and on 20 September at 2pm. VBN Components is also a finalist for the MM EMO Award.

Vibenite 480 is based on metal powder produced through large scale, industrial gas atomisation, minimising both costs and environmental impact. The material combines the toughness of powder metallurgical high-speed steels (PM-HSS) with the heat resistance of cemented carbides and has therefore been named hybrid carbide. The carbides are fine and well-dispersed, giving a structure with higher toughness than traditional cemented carbides. Long-term hot hardness has been measured to 750 °C for this corrosion resistant material with a hardness of ~66 HRC.

“EMO Hannover is the perfect event to showcase our technology. We will meet with experts in the metalworking field from different parts of the world to discuss how our 3D printed cemented carbide can improve performance in components and overall production,” states Ulrik Beste, CTO and one of the founders of VBN.

The innovation enables rapid product development of components like gear hobs and rock drills; in a couple of months you can create a product with higher wear resistance, new geometries or reduced weight. Since the production method is not limited by machining, pressing or sintering, your imagination is the limit. The efficiency of 3D printing also makes it far more environmentally friendly than traditional methods, according to the company.

In the Vibenite-portfolio there are five materials, high-speed steels and cemented carbide, with a hardness between 58–72 HRC. Like the other materials, the cemented carbide is patented, the manufacturing process included. It is niched both towards applications where steel is normally used, but where production efficiency can increase by switching to cemented carbide, as well as towards cemented carbide applications with complex geometry.

Practically this means that metal cutting tools which today are manufactured from steel bars, could be replaced with the hybrid carbide, making it possible to run the tools much faster, thanks to higher heat resistance. In addition to complex shapes, it is also possible to produce much larger components in one piece, with Vibenite 480, than with traditional cemented carbide technique. This increases the number of possible applications and makes it easy to manufacture prototypes; you can print 1, 10 or 1000 components from one or more drawings. The corrosion resistance opens up for components like woodworking tools, paper knives, or usage in the food industry.

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