Powder Metallurgy is the basis for a STRATASYS technology
Since a few years STRATASYS is developing a technology named “Layered Powder Metallurgy”. Unlike other AM processes, the technology is working in several sequences. In a first sequence, non-uniform powder is spread out in a layer followed by applying mechanical force to is press and compact the powder layer. This “sheet” of metal powder is moved and stacked in a printing chamber. On each layer, a wax-based material (parting agent) is applied onto the metal powder at the outer contours of the part. Additionally, the parting agent is used to divide larger areas where no part is present (“supports”).
After adding the last layer, the complete build job stack then undergoes a cold isostatic pressing process, which densifies the powder up to 96%. After this densification, the parting agent wax and the support material surrounding the part are removed. The final part properties are achieved in a sintering process that increases the density further. The high compaction
during the cold isostatic pressing allows for a sintering process of aluminum alloys, which consequently is the focus material at the moment.
First STRATASYS machines are currently installed at alpha customers for testing and evaluation. Public presentation of the process and the machines are expected at the end of 2020 with commercial release of the technology early 2021.