6K Additive’s Innovative Approach: Converting Metal Scrap into Valuable Resources Through AM Strategies

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6K Additive is primed for growth.

I had a conversation recently with representatives from 6K Additive who shared exciting updates about their work, and I discovered some intriguing facts.

6K Additive has developed a distinctive microwave-based process that generates top-tier metal powder suitable for metal 3D printing. A standout feature of their process is the use of metal scraps as raw material, which is not commonly seen. The traditional methods of creating powder often require more pure raw materials, resulting in a significant amount of waste.

Recent months have seen several significant developments within the company:

  • They have acquired Global Metal Powders, a provider of powders that will allow them to greatly expand their operations.
  • They now collaborate with Metal Powder Works to create new copper alloys, pure copper, and bronze metals for use in additive manufacturing.
  • Their powder production process has received a recycling certification from SCS Global.
  • The US Department of Defense conferred upon them a grant of US$23M to aid in the development of up-cycling metals.

The final point is of particular interest. Allow me to elaborate.

It’s common knowledge that several military conflicts are ongoing across various regions of the globe. These events typically result in the consumption of military equipment and also prompt those not directly involved to manufacture additional military gear.

The manufacture of certain equipment necessitates metal, of which some types are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. A case in point is titanium, a material highly valued for its strength and lightness, which makes it an ideal choice for military hardware.

Here’s the crux of the matter: Russia, it appears, was responsible for the production of 13% of the global supply of titanium sponge, a raw material for making titanium. Owing to sanctions imposed on Russia for its attack on Ukraine, the procurement of titanium has become challenging.

Consequently, there has been a surge in the price of titanium, a situation that adversely affects military organizations requiring large quantities of titanium-based equipment.

Enter 6K Additive. Their innovative process enables the conversion of titanium waste into high-grade titanium powder, ideal for use in additive manufacturing. Essentially, outdated military equipment can be repurposed into new, more effective gear, or at least for its titanium components.

It’s no wonder the US Department of Defense (DoD) is massively engrossed in the process offered by 6K Additive, to the point they’ve poured resources into the evolution of sustainable metal recycling. This renders them less dependent on Russia for their titanium supply.

Aside from bolstering their defense operations, it is a move that nurtures global welfare: the cost of titanium, alongside other metals tapped into for additive manufacturing, is expected to attain steadiness, if not depreciate, as the rate of recycling is amplified.

Source: 6K Additive

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