ExOne Adds New Metal Materials for Industrial 3D Printing
Andrew Wheeler posted on March 09, 2020 |
New materials include silicon carbide for aerospace applications.
The ExOne Innovent+ metal 3D printer. (Image courtesy of ExOne.)
The ExOne Innovent+ metal 3D printer. (Image courtesy of ExOne.)

ExOne is known for their proprietary binder jetting metal additive manufacturing systems. These systems turn powder materials into functional parts and components of complex assemblies. ExOne’s proprietary technology works via an industrial printhead that deposits liquid binders onto thin layers of different metal material powders over and over until a 3D object is formed. After the object is formed, it is removed from the powder bed and readied for a variety of post-processing techniques that turn the 3D printed object into a finished part.

Industrial additive manufacturing systems have developed relatively quickly over the last decade, and ExOne’s proprietary binder jetting system is the core technology at the heart of their metal 3D printers. And the build size of ExOne 3D printers continues to grow. In fact, their largest metal 3D printer, X1 160PRO, will hit the market later this year. The X1 160PRO evolved from ExOne’s other metal 3D printers, the Innovent+ and the X1 25Pro.

R&D and Manufacturing

The X1 160PRO will be ExOne’s largest 3D printer to date. The Innovent+ is described by the company as an entry-level printer used by partners such as NASA and Oakridge National Laboratory (among others) for research and development.

The X1 25Pro has the same core technology but the build platform is scaled up so that most parts used in manufacturing can be printed.

The X1 25Pro would be one of two options when manufacturers are considering adopting industrial additive-manufacturing systems. The choices are either outsourcing work to a 3D-printing service or investing in an in-house system. The reasons for choosing one over the other differ, and manufacturers need to consider existing production costs and processes, materials, volume, and skills of their engineers and designers.

But when manufacturers are considering an in-house system, the versatility of the metal 3D printer is based on a few core attributes, and one of the most important ones is the variety of printable materials.

Bottom Line

ExOne can now print in M2 Tool Steel, 316L, 304L, 17-74PH, copper, and Inconel 625, bringing the total number of qualified materials to twenty-one. Of the twenty-one, manufacturers and researchers can choose from five composite materials, six ceramics and ten single-alloy metals. For researchers, there are twenty-four additional qualified powders to choose from, such as Inconel 718 and aluminum.

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