The difficulties of sintering copper alloys make 3D printing a beneficial solution, especially when there is a need to obtain a functional element that is highly conductive; this solution is even more beneficial when, as it often happens, the properties of the finished product can be improved by using a shape designed for additive manufacturing.
Metal 3d printing is one of the major innovations to take place in the additive manufacturing industry. Sintering with additive technologies involves using a laser to fuse metal powders to obtain finished functional components. The powder particles are welded by a powerful high-precision laser that selectively builds thin horizontal metal layers, one on top of the other.
ZARE is the technological partner that designers can choose to make components using copper 3D printing technology. Based on its strong experience built up over five years of working daily on projects for customers with critical needs, the Additive Team has perfected a production process that significantly reduces the risks of refraction typical of additive copper processes.
This results in an ability to use additive manufacturing for a wide range of industrial applications such as heatsinks, waveguides, electrodes or heat exchangers, while offering designers the benefit of design freedom, which can have a positive impact on all aspects of the outcome: cost effectiveness, manufacturing times and performance of the finished functional element.
In ZARE, we provide a copper alloy, CuNi2SiCr, which offers an excellent combination of electrical and thermal conductivity together with high stiffness, even at high temperatures. This copper alloy is highly corrosion resistant and is especially suited to applications on sliding parts.
The CuNi2SiCr alloy is a valid alternative to the copper-beryllium alloys traditionally processed using subtractive techniques. In fact, copper-beryllium alloys are a serious human health risk as they are extremely carcinogenic, and powder contamination is a serious risk to the environment.Copper 3D printing is certainly one of the most important and challenging building blocks that additive manufacturing has made available in the recent past of its technological evolution. The initial benefits are already apparent: speed in moving from design to the physical functional object.
The real enabling factor will be the ingenuity of designers. By studying the geometries, they will be able to squeeze the most out of the material properties and make metal 3D printing one of the essential technologies for future technological progress.