Iron is widely used in the manufacturing of machine tools, automotive parts and general support structures. Part of the reason for iron's popularity as an industrial product is its cost effectiveness. Manufacturing iron-based products using ExOne's 3D printing technology allows for the direct creation of more intricate products than traditional manufacturing processes, and creates a more cost effective alternative to current 3D printing materials such as stainless steel, the company says. ExOne believes that adding of iron to its metal portfolio will be well received by customers in the traditional markets for iron. ExOne prioritized its development of iron infiltrated with bronze as a result of general customer interest and the breadth of the manufacturing market.

ExOne has also added phenolic and sodium silicate to its range of binders for use in its 3D printing process. Phenolic binder, used with ceramic sand in the 3D printing of moulds and cores, offers customers three benefits:

  • Casting higher heat alloys
  • Creating a higher strength mould or core
  • Improving the quality of the casting due to reduced expansion of the mould or core.

These capabilities address challenges faced by the automotive, aviation, hydraulic/heavy equipment and pump industries.

ExOne believes that sodium silicate binder will appeal to casting houses that are in search of cleaner environmental processes. Using sodium silicate could reduce or eliminate the release of fumes and gas in the casting process, helping to reduce costs associated with air ventilation, and electrical and maintenance equipment.

"We are excited to add iron infiltrated with bronze to our product offerings,” said Rick Lucas, ExOne's CTO. “We continue to focus on the development of our other metals and materials. We remain committed to releasing at least one new material every six months."

ExOne's material applications laboratory currently has eleven other materials under various stages of development.