6K Additive (a division of 6K; North Andover, MA), which produces sustainable advanced materials for additive manufacturing and energy storage, has introduced refractory metal powders for laser 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.
6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma process manufactures production-scale volumes of tungsten, tungsten/rhenium, tantalum, niobium, and molybdenum. For example, Quadrus Corporation (Huntsville, AL) recently used 6K Additive’s expert services for making spherical tungsten-rhenium to produce a non-eroding throat insert for a solid rocket motor nozzle. Tungsten/rhenium powder spheroidized by 6K processed exceptionally well in the company’s selective laser melting machines.
At 6K Additive’s 45,000-sq-ft. powder production facility in Burgettstown, PA, two UniMelt microwave plasma systems are installed, with two more scheduled for installation in Q4 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 2022.
6K Additive currently produces, as commercially available powders, Ti6Al4V (Grade 5 and Grade 23), SS316L, and nickel superalloys Ni718 and Ni62.