3D Systems ProX 300 Direct Metal Sintering 3D printer
After partnering with 3D Systems earlier this year, Metal Technology Albany (MTI) has successfully produced a key alloy required in propulsion industries and space travel.
C-103, a niobium based alloy containing about 10% Hafnium and 1% Titanium, had previously not been sintered from powder form and now makes MTI the first to use a powder-bed laser, additive manufacturing system to produce solids from the material.
With a strong history in space application and propulsion, MTI is leading the way in producing heat resistant materials for use in thermal stress and high temperature industries such as space travel. MTI has spent over 40 years working with innovative technologies to make difficult and exotic alloys more accessible, versatile and reliable for various applications in reactive and refractive metal technology.
The powder sintering process of C-103 will allow more reliable production of the alloy, known for its excellent formability, cost and weight characteristics in space development.
The process is carried out on a 3D Systems ProX 300 which utilises a 500 watt powder-bed laser to develop components for various big names across the space and propulsion industry including NASA, ATK, Boeing, European Space Agency and JAXA.
MTI’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Steve Smith, said: “This project began in January 2014 when we decided to pursue additive manufacturing as an additional capability to our operations. It’s a natural evolution of our work with C-103, to provide customers quicker delivery and more complex geometries.”
This leap into additive manufacturing came when MTI installed their first ProX 300 Direct Metal Sintering 3D printer and set out to design solutions for motor sports. MTI got to work on creating and installing a part for a Mitsubishi Evo that had taken English Racing two years of unsuccessful attempts to create. This part eventually aided the vehicle to set new speed records in its class.