In the middle of the financial crisis in 2008, the foundation was laid for what would become VBN Components AB. Uncertainty was high at a time when some companies had more cancellations than actual orders. However, VBN saw the opportunity to turn the business for industrial metal components upside down by using additive manufacturing of high strength, carbide rich materials. Materials that have taken shape through extensive analyzing, as well as testing of different free forming techniques.

“Our strength was a broad experience of industrial methods at the time, implying complicated processes and extended lead times. There was a significant limitation to what materials a mechanical engineer could choose, which we wanted to change”, says Ulrik Beste, CTO and one of the founders.

The Vibenite® materials

Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to produce industrial steel with purity as a key factor. VBN Components nurtures the Swedish heritage within the metal industry by continuously developing new and improved materials branded Vibenite.The materials are unique in their composition and offer exceptional wear resistance. Their properties are achieved by a patented additive manufacturing process through which metal materials with 100% density can be produced. Small sized evenly distributed carbides in a specific matrix are the reason for the materials’ performance. They are all produced from a base of gas atomized metal powder and are therefore classified as PM (powder metallurgy) materials.
“After the first patent of our company, describing the process of making extremely clean and low-oxygen-rate materials, we felt that we were on to something big”, says Martin Nilsson, CEO and one of the founders.

One key point with Vibenite is that the technology allows the user to switch to a more wear resistant material than what is possible with traditional manufacturing. When 3D printing, the need for forging and rolling of a bar and the following heavy machining is no longer necessary. By eliminating most production and transportation steps as well as optimizing material usage, reduction of environmental impact is enormous. Both component performance and lifetime of components increase with Vibenite materials. These properties are easily tested by simply printing a full-quality prototype and running it! Better material properties are normally not heard of in the 3D printing business today, where typically only difficult geometries are promoted.

The article appeared in the March–April 2021 issue of Metal Powder Report. Log in to your free materialstoday.com profile to access the article.

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