6K Additive, a division of 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries produced from its UniMelt plasma technology, announces a strategic AM powder supply agreement and recycling partnership with Freeville, NY-based Incodema3D.
Following increased demand and larger volume orders, predominantly from aerospace and defense customers, Incodema3D sought to secure a domestic AM metals powder supply that met strict quality standards and a solution for recycling their used powder and parts. 6K Additive, through its UniMelt plasma microwave powder production system, is able to provide high volumes of domestically manufactured powder and a route to sustainably recycle Incodema3D’s used metals through its Powder Buy Back program.
Incodema3D director of additive manufacturing and metrology operations, Kevin Engel explains: “We are talking to clients now about projects for 2023 that will require ten tons of metal powder per month. When you’re going through that volume of powder, recycling becomes imperative, and sustainability is key to our business. By recycling our used powder with 6K Additive we have been able to drive down our contribution costs for material by 15% already. Add to it the quality standards both Incodema3D and our customers demand sets a high bar for any one supplier. 6K Additive overachieved on this front.”
6K Additive’s mission is to provide a solution for global decarbonization in producing performance additive manufacturing materials that are critical to production in markets such as aerospace, medical and industrial applications. The company recently released results from an LCA study conducted by Foresight Management comparing the environmental impact of 6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma technology to current atomization technologies to produce metal powders. The results showed a 91% reduction in energy use and a 91.5% reduction in carbon emissions when using the 6K UniMelt process. The independent studies can be download here.
Incodema3D undertook its own pre-qualification of 6K Additive’s nickel alloy 625 (Ni625), a high-strength and corrosion-resistant alloy, popular with many of their customer’s applications. Internal qualification samples measured tensile strength, microstructure, density, and chemical composition and benchmarked the results against existing suppliers and their strategic customer’s requirements.
6K Additive’s Ni625 surpassed every measure used in the assessment, including tensile strength (greater than 125 ksi), yield strength (greater than 85 ksi), and elongation at break (greater than 30%).
“We tested five samples and each one returned density results of 99.9%, which far exceeds the minimum requirement. Anything over 99.5% density in additive manufacturing is a good part,” continued Engel.
Securing a scalable domestic materials supplier was also important to Incodema3D. As 6K Additive upcycles used and waste material from domestic sources, they are not at risk of supply chain disruptions. For defense customers a shorter domestic supply chain is also preferable from a security and traceability standpoint.
In addition to Ni625, 6K Additive produces a full suite of AM powders including Ni718, low oxygen (500-700ppm) Ti64, stainless steel 316/17-4, copper 18150 and GRCOP, refractory powders including tungsten, tantalum, and rhenium.