Fraunhofer ILT and 6K Additive Announce Partnership

Goal is to create a comprehensive lifecycle assessment for additive manufacturing.

Goal is to create a comprehensive lifecycle assessment for additive manufacturing.

6K’s UniMelt platform offers multifaceted sustainability benefits like no other material production platform in the world. Image courtesy of 6K Additive.

6K Additive, a division of 6K, which produces engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries, and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, a center for contract research in laser development and application, announces a collaboration to create a complete life cycle assessment (LCA) for additive manufacturing.

The study will use sustainably manufactured Ni718 powder produced by 6K Additive, for an industrial component manufactured on a laser powder bed fusion machine to better understand the carbon footprint from material through additive manufacturing process and post-processing. Early results from the study will be on display at the Fraunhofer ILT stand #51 Hall 11.

“There are conflicting views on additive manufacturing regarding its environmental impact compared to traditional manufacturing. The goal for this study is to analyze factual data to help us understand the real environmental impact for printing a metal AM part using LPBF,” says Dr. Jasmin Saewe, head of Department Laser Powder Bed Fusion at Fraunhofer ILT. 

6K’s UniMelt platform offers multifaceted sustainability benefits. 6K Additive previously released two life cycle assessment projects for titanium and nickel powders. This study was conducted by Foresight Management, an independent company who quantified the environmental impacts associated with the production of printable metal powders and specifically compared atomization technology methods to 6K Additive’s. It was found that for Ni718 powder, 6K’s UniMelt process at minimum delivered a 91% energy reduction and 92% carbon emission reduction from traditional processes. The independent study can be download here.

“Our previous study clearly highlighted the environmental advantages our UniMelt technology has over atomization, but this collaboration takes it to the next step shedding light on the entire AM process,” says Frank Roberts, president of 6K Additive. “The market has embraced sustainability and the results of this study will provide the tools to allow customers to identify real solutions and help organizations drive toward carbon neutrality.”

6K Additive is a producer of AM powder made from sustainable sources and offers a full suite of premium powder including nickel, titanium, copper and refractory metals such as tungsten and rhenium. The UniMelt system is a microwave production-scale plasma system, with a uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination and high throughput production capabilities. Companies interested in working with 6K Additive regarding their specific powder requirements are urged to visit 6K Additive’s website. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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