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Material-in-tube Wires for Additive Manufacturing (AM)

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20191104002
Publication Date: 4 November 2019

Summary

A new technology developed by a UK company has been validated to produce a composite wire where inside a metal tube there is a precisely controlled mix of metals or other materials. This allows for new alloys being used in additive manufacturing, and faster turnaround due to faster melting. Sellers and users of electron beam and laser beam AM equipment are sought for technical or possibly research co-operation.

Description

Engineering components produced via wire-based additive manufacturing can access markets easier due to faster processes, less material waste and improved properties of printed parts. 

Within this industry, electron beam and laser beam additive manufacturing technologies are gaining popularity due to their versatility to produce large-scale, high value parts with high deposition rates for various industries including automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, jet engines and power generation.

In applications where the use of conventionally available solid wires is not possible, there is a need to design composite wires containing a carefully designed powder mix in the core, which is encapsulated with metallic sheath materials. This may be useful in cases where a mix of materials is needed, or where melting a solid metal wire is too time-consuming.

An East of England company has developed a unique continuous wire manufacturing technology capable of producing powder-cored wires encapsulated with laser welded tubes suitable for additive manufacturing. A wide range of metallic and mineral powders are homogeneously mixed in intelligent nano powder mixers and delivered to the core of wires. Nano and micron-sized powders can be added to the composite alloy, in turn creating unique alloy compositions. A wide range of tube materials can be utilised such as steel, stainless steel, nickel, cobalt and titanium.

This technology also allows for the deposition of metal-ceramic mixes and cemented-carbide compounds for 3D printing. Wires produced with this technique are available in small diameters <1.0mm and can be added to the heat source either as a single wire or multiple wires.

The company is actively looking for partnerships with engineering companies specialised in additive manufacturing with laser or electron-beam additive manufacturing processes to design, make and commercialise its powder-in-tube products. The type of co-operation may include technical co-operation and further down the line, commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company has the capability to manufacture the wire for shipping.
The company will consider relevant cross-border funding calls for projects with low readiness level.

Advantages and Innovations

The material-in-tube method allows for very precise mixes and alloys to be made. This in turn allows for designs with unprecedented alloys, but also faster-melting wire for a more rapid printing.

Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Requested partner

Type of partner sought: industry
Specific area of partner sought: sellers and users of laser beam and electron beam additive manufacturing equipment.
Role of partner sought: non-confidential enquiries are welcome that pose current and future issues with planned developments. The UK company can then explain what can and cannot be achieved with the new method.

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