Protolabs launches cobalt chrome superalloy for its steel laser sintering service
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Protolabs launches cobalt chrome superalloy for its steel laser sintering service

Protolabs launches cobalt chrome superalloy for its steel laser sintering service

Digital prototyping specialist Protolabs has launched a brand new 3D printing materials for its steel laser sintering course of – cobalt chrome superalloy. The UK-based firm believes the warmth, put on, and corrosion resistant materials will disrupt plenty of industries together with oil and fuel the place custom-made cobalt chrome components weren’t beforehand doable.

Andrea Landoni, 3D printing product supervisor for Protolabs, acknowledged: “Cobalt chrome is likely one of the hardest supplies identified and will be polished to a particularly easy floor. The benefit of 3D printing it’s that we are able to produce any form that you really want, whether or not it’s for an uncommon geometry or to avoid wasting weight.”

Cobalt chrome parts 3D printed by Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs.Cobalt chrome components 3D printed by Protolabs. Picture through Protolabs.

Laser sintering cobalt chrome

Cobalt chrome is thought for its excessive corrosion resistance, with a low nickel content material offering wonderful biocompatibility for medical and dental functions. It may function in temperatures as much as 600oC due its resistance to creep. The excessive power to weight ratio additionally makes it a super candidate for aerospace functions.

The brand new materials shall be used with Protolabs’ direct steel laser sintering service, which heats up steel alloy powder with a excessive energy laser to fuse it into strong layers. The layers are recoated with powder and the method is repeated till a 3D form is shaped. The decision of the components produced is extraordinarily tremendous, with characteristic sizes and wall thicknesses all the way down to a millimeter. Protolabs claims to have the ability to produce advanced components in as little as a day with the method, giving them the self-proclaimed title of “quickest digital manufacturing firm on this planet”.

In accordance with Landoni, CNC machining cobalt chrome is definitely very tough on account of its excessive put on resistance. On high of this, the geometry and construction of the components produced are usually restricted when utilizing subtractive manufacturing. For firms trying to quickly prototype and check a brand new half for each kind and performance, 3D printing with the brand new cobalt chrome powder stands out as the option to go.

Landoni concludes: “The manufacturing course of is speedy, from importing the design into our Protoquotes software program you’ll sometimes get a quote again inside a couple of hours. As soon as accredited, the half can then be produced for delivery in as little as a day.  While you distinction this to the a number of days and even weeks quoted by different suppliers, then you possibly can dramatically shorten your growth and product lead occasions.”

3D printed CoCr parts can be polished. Photo via Protolabs.3D printed CoCr components will be polished. Picture through Protolabs.

Within the final couple of months alone, Protolabs has made plenty of main strikes to broaden its 3D printing capabilities. The corporate lately introduced that it could be including a set of GE Additive’s X-Line 2000R giant format 3D printers to its already in depth portfolio of machines by late summer season of 2020. Protolabs additionally invested £10.5m within the building of a brand new 3D printing facility in Putzbrunn, Germany. The 5000 sq. meter manufacturing facility is anticipated to extend the corporate’s manufacturing capability by a formidable 50%.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Business Awards are actually open. Who do you assume ought to make the shortlists for this 12 months’s present? Have your say now. 

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Featured picture exhibits DMLS components by Protolabs. Picture through Protolabs.


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