On September 8, 2021, 6K Additive, a division of 6K, a producer of materials for additive manufacturing and energy storage,announced the commercial availability of refractory metal powders for additive manufacturing. Materials such as tungsten, rhenium, tungsten/rhenium and niobium-based powders used for defense, aerospace and medical industries are sought after materials for high-temperature, high-strength applications, according to the company.
Frank Roberts, 6K Additive President said in a statement, “The leading defense organizations are not only looking for refractory materials like tungsten and rhenium, they are looking for it at production scale. The uniqueness of 6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma process, combined with the expertise of our operations team, has allowed us to manufacture production scale volumes for many of the refractory powders like tungsten and tungsten/rhenium. We have spheroidized the full spectrum of refractory powders including tantalum, niobium and molybdenum and we are ready to help organizations advance their applications with these materials.”
Huntsville, AL based Quadrus Corporation recently used 6K Additive’s expert services for making spherical tungsten-rhenium they subsequently used to produce a non-eroding throat insert for a solid rocket motor nozzle. “We have a focus on propulsion applications that require high-temperature, high-strength materials used in modern rocket nozzle applications. Our tungsten/rhenium powder spheroidized by 6K processed exceptionally well in our selective laser melting machines,” explained Joe Sims, Director of the Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing Division.
In 2020 6K Additive completed the construction of a state-of-the-art, 45,000 sq/ft powder production facility in Burgettstown, PA. The facility currently has two UniMelt microwave plasma systems commissioned with two additional systems scheduled for installation in Q4 of 2021. The company will also begin construction to expand the powder manufacturing building in Q4, 2021 to add space for six additional systems. Installation of the additional systems will begin in Q1 of 2022.
The UniMelt system is a microwave production-scale plasma system, with a uniform plasma zone with zero contamination and high throughput production capabilities, according to the company. 6K Additive currently produces, as commercially available powders, Ti6Al4V (Grade 5 and Grade 23), SS316L and nickel superalloys Ni718 and Ni625, along with the announced refractory materials. Companies interested in working with 6K Additive regarding their specific powder requirements are urged to visit 6K Additive’s website www.6KAdditive.com.