TU Graz develops a steel powder for AM

At TU Graz, a steel powder has been developed for additive manufacturing which decisively simplifies the production of complex components. In a spin-off funding programme, work is now being done on market maturity.

Mateusz Skalon, a researcher at TU Graz’s Institute of Materials Science, Joining and Forming, has modified the particles’ surfaces of conventional 316L stainless steel powder so that the metal liquefied by laser beam behaves in the more stable way during the 3D printing process. This allows greater freedom of design since components with low angles of inclination do not collapse during printing. This so-called NewGen SLM powder requires fewer supporting structures, which account for up to 20% of total printing costs. Savings in production are considerably reduced, as Skalon has calculated: “Cost savings of up to 114 euros can be achieved per each kilo of printed metal.â€? In this context, Skalon refers also to the sustainability aspect. Surplus stainless steel powder can be easily recycled at the end of production, which creates additional material savings.

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