Swedish materials manufacturer Sandvik has been developing cemented carbides for several years now for the manufacturing industry. He recently announced that he’s working on a batch designed for additive manufacturing. Manufacturers can then 3D print highly wear-resistant parts with very high hardness, even under extreme thermal conditions. Thus Sandvik offers one of the toughest 3D printing materials on the market, expanding the possibilities for users.
If Sandvik is not unknown to you, it is because it has already been the subject of several developments of very interesting materials for the additive manufacturing market. In fact, in 2019, it introduced a 3D-printed composite diamond, the first of its kind on the market. This time, she was interested in cemented carbide, a compound made of a hard material and a metallic binder. It has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity as well as high toughness. Since they are especially difficult, their manufacture is quite complicated, especially when it comes to obtaining complex geometric shapes. For this reason, the Swedish company wanted to develop a material compatible with 3D printing which, as we all know, offers more freedom in terms of design.
What are the properties of this cemented carbide?
That’s why Sandvik designed cemented carbide optimized for powder coat printing processes. Anders Ohlsson, Product Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing explains:The most important component of our process is working with powders that have the appropriate properties. Above all, high density has a decisive influence on the quality that can be obtained in terms of material and engineering properties. Sandvik has developed a unique and practical powder. Our powders are optimized to print components that look good, work well – and are suitable for real-world applications, demanding environments and mass production.. ”
The matrix structure of this powder is mainly composed of cobalt carbide and tungsten, which makes the material particularly hard and distinguishes it from other, more brittle metal alloys.
Applications of this new article
Sandvik teams have printed several parts with this cemented carbide, especially for Varel. In particular, they designed nozzles for injecting fluids through rotary drilling tools used in underground environments. Therefore, the holes are highly pressurized and must withstand harsh hydraulic conditions but also with high rock hardness. By 3D printing the nozzles, Varel not only saves time and money, but can also take advantage of complex parts that are stronger, harder, and longer lasting.
The potential applications are wide and Sandvik says its cemented carbide is of particular interest in the metal cutting industry, oil and gas, mining as well as the food industry. It is clear that the list is not exhaustive and it is easy to imagine how such materials can affect sectors of activity with high demands. If you want to learn more about this powder for 3D printing, head over to the Sandvik website.
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