The process works by applying a thin layer of powder on a base plate, which is laser fused. Non- melted powder can be used for the manufacturing of a new part. For the production of customer-specific components, neither special tools nor moulds are needed. The challenging part is the great difference in the melting point and the machinability of refractory metals compared to other materials such as plastic or steel.

“Nearly all geometries are imaginable. The only input we need is a 3D drawing from our customer,” said Bernhard Tabernig, responsible for the development of new materials and technologies at Plansee.

 The new process can be used, for example, in medical technology. “We have already constructed components for X-ray diagnostics. They have a particularly complex grid structure for absorbing the scattering radiation as good as possible,” said Peter Singer, project engineer. “Without the new manufacturing process we could not hold these products in our hands.”