6K, a leading developer of microwave plasma technology for the production of advanced materials, announced its division 6K Additive has commissioned the first two commercial UniMelt systems in its new 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing plant located in Bugettstown, PA. The news not only represents a landmark milestone for 6K, but also for global sustainable manufacturing as premium metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) powders from sustainable sources become a reality.
6K is proceeding through internal product qualification and 3rd party printing, and will begin customer sampling in the August timeframe for its Onyx In718 material followed shortly by Onyx Ti64 that were both announced and demonstrated at Formnext 2019. 6K’s first-of-its-kind process has the ability to convert certified chemistry machined millings, turnings and other recycled feedstock sources into premium AM-ready metal powders. 6K recently became a member of MESA’s association for sustainable manufacturing and is going through the process of certification as a sustainable manufacturing factory for the new plant.
“The commissioning of the first commercial UniMelt systems is the culmination of terrific work by experts in manufacturing, process and materials at both 6K Additive and our parent company 6K,” said Frank Roberts, President of 6K Additive. “Customers and strategic partners have been eager to sample and use our Onyx powders and we’re ready to deliver. Accompanying the new UniMelt systems, the new facility encompasses automated manufacturing equipment and industry leading safety and health systems that confirm our organization is hitting our production goals while ensuring the utmost in safety for our employees.”
The UniMelt system is the world’s only microwave production-scale plasma, with a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination, and capable of high throughput production of advanced materials including Onyx In718 and Onyx Ti64 AM powders. 6K’s UniMelt technology can also spheroidize ferrous alloys like SS17-4PH, SS316, other nickel superalloys including Inconel 625, HX, cobalt-base alloys like CoCr, refractory metals like Mo, W, Re, reactive alloys such as Ti-6-4, TiAl, Al alloys as well as high-temperature ceramics such as MY and YSZ.
Pete Basiliere, Managing Director of Monadnock Insights, a research and consulting firm focused on additive manufacturing commented, “Developments like sustainable feedstock combined with quality requirements are being embraced by organizations as they not only move toward green manufacturing but also create more efficient supply chains that use domestically sourced feedstock for powder production. I congratulate 6K Additive on the commissioning of its first commercial facility and look forward to the impact the company will have on furthering sustainability in the AM space.”
The new facility is near 100% completion and has significant expansion capabilities on the company’s 45 acre site. The facility has additional manufacturing bays and the company plans to commission additional UniMelt systems throughout 2021 to meet the demand for its premium AM powders.