NanoSteel is the world leader in nano structured steel material design. Using a range of materials from iron based alloys, to powder metals and sheet steel, the company is currently developing its presence in additive manufacturing territory.
This week, the company announced the expansion of its engineered powders business into additive manufacturing. Utilising its trademark metal matrix microstructures in the laser-sintering process, the company managed to produce a fully dense bulk sample without the need for post-processing massively reducing lead and cost times.
NanoSteel’s breakthrough means that additive manufacturing can now be used to produce strong metallic parts which often have a tendency to develop cracks during part build. Working with a global process development, NanoSteel was able to optimise its alloy material with a high volume fraction of borocarbide phases. This successfully produced and fully dense crack-free part features hardness values over 1000 HV, wear resistance comparable to conventionally manufactured M2 tool steels, and a uniform microstructure.
“Currently, the material options to produce highly wear-resistant parts through additive manufacturing are limited” said Harald Lemke, NanoSteel’s General Manager of Engineered Powders. “By extending the reach of steel into markets currently served by WC-Co, ceramics, and other non-ferrous metal matrix metal composites, NanoSteel has the potential to generate cost-efficient wear parts to serve the tooling, mining, energy, and transportation industries in applications such as pumps, bearings, and cutting tools.”
NanoSteel’s initial focus in additive manufacturing supports the growing demand in various industries for on-demand parts a takes a close look at the challenges in producing high-hardness parts through 3D printing.
The company is currently extending this breakthrough into more complex geometries and broadening its property sets to fully validate the market potential for 3D-printed steel components.