H.C. Starck’s AMPERPRINT: a new tool for metal 3D printing
22 August 2017
Germany’s metal powder specialists, H.C. Starck, recently announced the launch of their new range of gas atomized powders, designed specifically with metal 3D printing in mind. Dubbed AMPERPRINTⓇ, the range of powders includes nickel, cobalt and iron-based mixtures, as well as customised powders for specialist applications, such as medical implants. The powders are also available in a range of different powder characteristics, particularly different particle size distributions, which means they can be utilized effectively with a wide range of metal 3D printing techniques.
This approach is an intriguing one, as it demonstrates a material specialist taking into account the increasingly wide range of 3D printing technologies used by today’s additive manufacturing specialists. Being able to employ the same materials with different powder characteristics will prove incredibly powerful for both prototyping and production, as a part could theoretically be produced using two different technologies, but with a mechanically identical end result. This would allow operations that wish to compare different technologies before deciding which one(s) to implement within their own workflows. Each technology’s respective advantages can be evaluated, while engineers enjoy complete confidence that the materials used will perform consistently across each one.
H.C Starck’s 40 years of experience in ‘traditional’ metallurgy is also important, as it shows another established industry expert committing to exploring additive manufacturing and developing tailored solutions for the sector. If more industry leaders in the field of material science are willing to set their sights on metal 3D printing, more manufacturers will be encouraged to utilise it, thanks to the extra reassurance that the materials used will be of the same quality they have come to expect.
It’s clear that leaders in the world of manufacturing are paying close attention to the development of metal 3D printing and other AM technologies. The next step is for AM specialists to find innovative new ways of applying these tools within their projects to ensure their early promise is fulfilled.