6K Additive partners with Z3DLab to produce titanium zirconium alloy powders for medical and aerospace

MaterialsNews
June 19, 2023

June 19, 2023

6K Additive will process Z3DLab’s proprietary ZTi alloys through its UniMelt technology to produce spherical, dense powders to be used for Additive Manufacturing (Courtesy 6K Additive)
6K Additive will process Z3DLab’s proprietary ZTi alloys through its UniMelt technology to produce spherical, dense powders to be used for Additive Manufacturing (Courtesy 6K Additive)

6K Additive, a division of 6K Inc., headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, has announced a partnership with Z3DLab, located in Montmagny, Îl-de-France, France, for the production of its ZTi alloys range. The partnership aims to develop new advanced Additive Manufacturing materials for medical implant applications, with additional material developments for the aerospace industry planned for the future.

6K Additive will process Z3DLab’s proprietary ZTi alloys using its UniMelt® technology to produce spherical, dense powders specifically for Additive Manufacturing. The process reportedly delivers up to 100% yield, making the development of new materials more commercially viable.

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Z3DLab’s ZTi Powders offer materials for Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) and Directed Energy Deposition (DED) machines, with formulations said to improve on the ductility, wear resistance, and heat oxidation relative to Ti64. The ZTi-Med alloys range includes ZTM14N, a biocompatible titanium ternary alloy designed to maintain a good strength-ductility ratio alongside the elasticity. The elastic modulus of ZTM14N is very low at 38 GPa, reportedly matching the elastic modulus range of human bone (~5-30 GPa), making the powder well suited for medical implants.

The medical implants manufactured with ZTM14N have an improved resistance to inflammatory species by almost 10 times vs other titanium alloys with a Bone Interface Contact BIC value of 95% (Courtesy 6K Additive)
The medical implants manufactured with ZTM14N have an improved resistance to inflammatory species by almost 10 times vs other titanium alloys with a Bone Interface Contact BIC value of 95% (Courtesy 6K Additive)

Medical implants manufactured with ZTM14N also reportedly exhibit improved resistance to inflammatory species by almost 10 X compared to other titanium alloys, with a Bone Interface Contact (BIC) value of 95%.

“Our ZTM14N material is unique for the medical implant industry and has tremendous growth opportunity in the space. However, we cannot afford to suffer the yield loss that is typical in the atomisation process during production. We will be burdening the cost unnecessarily for our customers. 6K Additive’s UniMelt delivers the required high yields of highly spheroidised powder that enables us to cost-effectively deliver our material to the market. This partnership benefits not only 6K Additive and Z3DLab but also the customers we serve. I am looking forward to our next project in the aerospace sector,” explained Dr Madjid Djemai, President of Z3DLab.

A key benefit of 6K’s UniMelt process is the ability to use scrap, revert or used powder as feedstock, eliminating the need for virgin material extraction while simultaneously improving the quality of the final powder compared to traditional atomisation methods. Z3DLab’s high-performance alloys can be reprocessed in the same way, creating a circular economy for high-value, high-performance alloys.

Francois Bonjour, European Sales Director for 6K Additive added, “As a company dedicated to sustainability, we believe that the future of AM lies in high-performance alloys that can make lighter, stronger components with longer lifespans. Our UniMelt production scale powder manufacturing platform can process a near-infinite range of alloys thanks to its microwave plasma energy source and unparalleled controllability. It only makes sense for Z3DLab and 6K Additive to partner to bring such an innovative material to the market with the quality and cost model to make it successful commercially.”

www.6kinc.com/6k-additive

www.z3dlab.com

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MaterialsNews
June 19, 2023

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