6K (formerly Amastan Technologies), a company which specializes in microwave plasma technology, says that it has developed the world's first AM powders derived from sustainable sources.

According to the company, it uses a process that can convert certified chemistry machined millings, turnings, previously used powders and other recycled feedstock sources into AM-ready metal powder.

‘If the AM industry is to succeed in expanding to a far greater number of parts and market applications, powder production technology has to advance to provide a far stronger business case,’ said Aaron Bent, CEO at 6K. ‘Part of enabling that expansion will come from a lower total cost structure and higher performance powders, both of which are possible with 6K's process. But we need to go beyond that, to powders and business models that consider the full production cycle cost of building AM parts.’

The company is already reclaiming over 500 tons of Ti-64 per year for the aluminum alloying industry for aerospace, medical, and automotive products, 6K says. It can specifically target the powder size distribution to the AM process of need.

6K says that it next plans to recycle feedstock created from AM support structures, non-conforming AM parts post-print, and other inputs. The aim is to use 100% of the materials that enter the supply chain, providing end-users a new way to manage project costs and control supply chain, while also advancing progress toward a circular economy in AM.

‘Our ability to reclaim materials and process almost any type of metal, alloy, or ceramic feedstock into premium powders puts a powerful tool into the hands of the AM designer,’ continued Dr. Bent, ‘This now means that any alloy that is machined has the potential to become powder. Furthermore, we can create new AM powders previously not possible: powders engineered from non-eutectic alloys such as high-entropy alloys, or designer aluminum alloys capable of printing in powder bed fusion systems.’

This story uses material from 6K, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.