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Additively Manufactured Parts from ITAMCO Said to Outperform 17-4 PH Stainless Steel
PLYMOUTH, Ind.–ITAMCO recently used EOS 17-4 PH IndustryLine metal powder to create additively printed parts that outperformed 17-4 PH Stainless Steel in tensile strength, the company said when reporting the results of its recent research project.
The goal of the research project was to explore the properties of additive-manufactured parts made with the new EOS Stainless Steel 17-4 PH IndustryLine metal powder for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). ITAMCO (Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies) prepared the build of nine cylinders with SunataTM software by Atlas 3D. Sunata automatically chose the best orientation for the parts and generated the necessary support structures for the build on ITAMCO's EOS M 290 3D printer.
Three cylinders were built horizontally, three were built at a 45-degree angle to the horizontal, and three were built vertically. After the build, the cylinders were cut from the build plate and sent for heat treatment. The heat treatment followed the recommended steps by EOS.
First, the cylinders were heated to 1040° Celsius and kept at that temperature for a half hour. The cylinders were then quenched by argon. After that, the cylinders were reheated to 480° Celsius and kept at the temperature for one hour. The cylinders were quenched again by argon. The hardness was between 40 and 47 HRC and the estimated tensile strength was 190 KSI after heat treatment, ITAMCO reported.
The cylinders were then shipped to SGS MSi, a metallurgical testing laboratory. The key results for ITAMCO were the tensile strength (PSI) numbers: The tensile strength of the nine cylinders outperformed the tensile strength of raw material 17-4 PH that had been heat treated. The average tensile strength (PSI) of the nine cylinders was 192,000. The average tensile strength (PSI) of six heat-treated stainless steels (H900, H1025, H1075, H1150, H1150-M, H1150-D) is 144,000 (source: www.beststainless.com/17-4-ph-stainless-steel.html).
Founded in 1989, EOS (www.eos.info/en) is a pioneer in the field of Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and a provider of a leading polymer technology.
Since 1955, ITAMCO (http://itamco.com/innovation.html) has provided open gearing and precision machining services to many heavy-duty industries, including mining, off-highway vehicles, marine, and aviation. In addition to the company's offerings in traditional manufacturing, the technology team at ITAMCO has released more than 65 apps for mobile devices; developed an award-winning Google Glass application; and launched its "Strategic Technology Initiative for Additive Manufacturing" in 2015. It also designed and markets iBlue, the first industrial Bluetooth transmitter.
"We conducted the research so we could compare the wrought properties of metal to parts made through additive manufacturing with the new EOS 17-4 PH Stainless Steel metal powder," said Joel Neidig, business development and technology manager with ITAMCO, in a press release. "It is quite amazing to us that we achieved the wrought properties of metal."
Another interesting finding from the research was that although the nine cylinder samples were built with three orientations, the tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, and reduction of area were fairly consistent for all the samples. In other words, the material properties are near isotropic for those samples built additively with different build orientations in the EOS M 290 3D printer.
Because ITAMCO is building additively manufactured parts for the medical device market, the EOS metal powder is of particular interest to the company. EOS Stainless Steel 17-4 PH IndustryLine is a high-strength, easily curable, highly corrosion-resistant and acid-resistant material, which suits it for the manufacturing of surgical and orthopedic instruments. However, the product will also be used to build gears and related components for ITAMCO's customers in mining, oil, gas, aerospace, automotive, and energy.
Dr. Tobias Abeln, chief technical officer at EOS, said this about the metal powder: "Planning security and reliability are top priorities for customers who are engaged in serial manufacturing. For its Stainless Steel 17-4PH IndustryLine, EOS provides reliable and statistically proven data for the most important material properties of finished parts." He added, "This significantly raises quality standards in additive manufacturing. The customer can use the data 1:1 to qualify the technology for large-scale production and, therefore, minimize the time required, as well as cut the cost of in-house material and process qualification."
Laura Gilmour, the global medical business development manager with EOS North America, recently told Mr. Neidig that ITAMCO was a referred contract manufacturer because ITAMCO was running "the complete EOS solution," or the "magic triangle."
"ITAMCO is running the balanced triangle–the combination, fully tested by EOS material scientists in Finland, of 17-4 PH IndustryLine metal powder, the grid nozzle for optimized argon gas flow, and the scanning parameters provided by EOS," Gilmour said. EOS is sharing ITAMCO's tests results with its potential customers. "The referrals and support by EOS validate our move into additive manufacturing," said Mr. Neidig. "We are more than capable of using additive manufacturing to expand our market position and deliver real benefits to our customers."
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