6K Additive The company has announced a new partnership with a France-based Z3DLab The production of advanced ZTi alloys. The companies claim that the partnership will lead to new 3D printed materials for medical implants and aerospace applications.
6K Additive will process Z3DLab’s proprietary ZTi alloys through its UniMelt technology to produce spherical, dense 3D printing powders. 6K claims that its process can yield up to 100 percent, making the development of new material more commercially viable.
Z3DLab’s ZTi powders include materials for powder bed fusion (PBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) systems with formulations that improve on ductility, wear resistance, and heat oxidation relative to Ti64 according to the company.
The ZTi-Med alloys range includes ZTM14N, a biocompatible titanium ternary alloy designed to maintain a good strength-ductility ratio with ‘exceptional’ elasticity. The elastic modulus (38 GPa) is in line with the elastic modulus range for human bones (5-30 GPa), making it an ideal material for medical implants.
Z3DLabs claims that medical implants made with ZTM14N are 10 times more resistant to inflammatory species than other titanium alloys, with a BIC (Bone Interface Contact) value of 95%.
Read More: 6K Additive & Surgical Metal Recycling to explore end of life treatment of materials used in surgical implants
Dr. Madjid Djemai, President of Z3DLab said: “Our ZTM14N material is unique for the medical implant industry and has tremendous growth opportunity in the space. We cannot, however, afford the yield losses that are typical of the atomisation during production. This will burden our customers with unnecessary costs. 6K Additive’s UniMelt delivers the required high yields of highly spheroidised powder that enables us to cost-effectively deliver our material to the market. This partnership is not only beneficial for 6K Additive but also our customers. I am looking forward to our next project in the aerospace sector.”
François Bonjour, European Sales Director for 6K Additive added: “As a company dedicated to sustainability, we believe that the future of AM lies in high-performance alloys that can make lighter, stronger components with longer lifespans. Thanks to its microwave energy source and unprecedented controllability our UniMelt platform for powder manufacturing can process an infinite number of alloys. It only makes sense for Z3DLab and 6K Additive to partner to bring such an innovative material to the market with the quality and cost model to make it successful commercially.”
According to 6K’s UniMelt, one of the benefits of the process is that it can use revert, crap or used powders as feedstock. This eliminates the need to extract virgin materials and improves the quality of the powder produced compared to the traditional atomisation method. The company says that Z3DLab’s high-performance alloys can be reprocessed in the same way, creating a circular economy for high-value, high-performance alloys.
6K achieved the TCT Materials Award at the 2023 TCT Awards for a project including its UniMelt plasma production process and Ni718 high-quality metal AM powder produced from scrap, which was shown to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.