The growth of aluminium alloys in Additive Manufacturing

Davide Sher, one of the most influential journalists in the field of industrial Additive Manufacturing, has recently published an in-depth article detailing interesting ideas about the future of aluminum alloys in Additive Manufacturing on 3D Printing Media Network. In particular, the article presents the thoughts of the main market operators as they discuss how the use of aluminum alloys will grow in the near future.

AM-specific aluminum alloys: Scalmalloy

Aluminum is an interestig material for Additive Manufacturing as it can be used for both the production of prototypes and of batches of products; thus, in the future, aluminum will probably become one of the most sought-after materials in AM. As Davide Sher writes in the article:

“Manufacturers are looking for materials that are both light and more cost-effective than titanium and nickel superalloys like Inconel. While Aluminum AlSi10Mg is the most commonly used material today, manufacturers are looking into new, AM-specific aluminum alloys ”.
One of the most interesting high-performance AM-specific aluminum alloys is Scalmalloy. Zare is an official partner of APWorks on Scalmalloy development and Davide Sher asked Andrea Pasquali, Zare’s General Manager, to share his thoughts on the matter:

“[Scalmalloy] is ideal for space and aviation applications, I don’t see it as having more “day-to-day” applications at this time – he explained. “It is mainly an issue of costs, both in terms of raw materials and production processes. It is quite a slow production process compared to traditional aluminum. At the same time, it registers mechanical performances that are double compared to standard aluminum alloys such as AlSi7 and AlSi10. It suffers a little at high temperature but it’s great challenger to titanium.”

-Photo courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network-

In the future we'll see new alloys, but also new technologies

For the medium to long-term future Davide Sher suggests that metal binder jetting processes could be an interesting opportunity for higher batch and even mass production, indeed companies such as HP, Desktop Metal and Stratasys are moving in this direction. The article presents Andrea Pasquali’s view on the subject:

“Today at Zare we use powder bed fusion systems, however we are convinced that in the long terms future the majority of AM production will be carried out with binder jetting technologies. We have already asked to work with both Desktop Metal and HP on the upcoming systems and to help them with material and process development. It is going to take a couple of years and I don’t think these systems will ever replace powder bed fusion as much as expanding AM capabilities beyond the current limits in terms of productivity."
We would like to thank Davide Sher for the in-depth analysis of the topic and for including our company in the article. We suggest reading the whole article on 3D Printing Media Network.