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New stainless steel powder for laser sintering

A new powder for producing 17-4 stainless steel components directly from CAD models using a layer-by-layer additive process has been launched by German direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) machine manufacturer, EOS, whose UK subsidiary is in Warwick.  The material is ideal for parts that need high corrosion resistance as well as good mechanical properties, such as medical devices.

This grade of stainless steel is a proven metal throughout industry.  The composition of the EOS powder, StainlessSteel 17-4, corresponds to the European material 1.4542 as well as to the US steel classification, 17-4 PH.

Dr Michael Shellabear, product manager at EOS, stresses that in the development of new powders, accepted industrial materials are essential to ensure the successful uptake of DMLS as an alternative to metalcutting. 

He said, "StainlessSteel 17-4 opens the way for our e-Manufacturing technology to be used for producing small batches of functional parts, or even one-offs and spares.

"The material offers our customers solutions at every phase of a product's life cycle with which they can increase efficiency and quality.  The DMLS process completely melts the metal powder and so produces parts that are fully dense."

Prior to launch, EOS tested the new material with a group of more than a dozen pilot users, all of which confirmed that laser-sintering is becoming an accepted, flexible production method.  One of the group is The Boeing Company, which used StainlessSteel 17-4 for producing redesigned frames for floor-level lighting fixtures in 19 carrier aircraft for an Asian customer.

The new powder is immediately available to users of EOSINT M 270 laser-sintering machines.  It adds to the material range that EOS recently enlarged with the addition of CobaltChrome MP1.  The next material, a titanium alloy, is planned for commercial launch in early 2007.


Press release issued by EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems on October 18, 2006


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EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems Laser Tooling, Additive Manufacturing


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