Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs Partner to Develop Binder Jetting Powders

The two companies will be producing high-performance powders for binder jetting additive manufacturing.

Spline taper lock printed using binder jetting technology with Uniformity Lab’s metal powder processing capabilities via Desktop Metal’s Shop System. (Image courtesy of Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs.)

Spline taper lock printed using binder jetting technology with Uniformity Lab’s metal powder processing capabilities via Desktop Metal’s Shop System. (Image courtesy of Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs.)

3D printing systems and turnkey additive manufacturing solutions developer Desktop Metal has revealed that it is partnering with industrial 3D printing solutions developer Uniformity Labs to produce new ultralow porosity powders for binder jetting printing technology. The new powders will be specially designed to work with Desktop Metal’s AM 2.0 binder jetting solutions. According to the two companies, they will be leveraging Desktop Metal’s binder jetting systems paired with Uniformity Lab’s expertise in metal powder processing. They also collaborated early this year to develop an aluminum 6061 powder for binder jetting additive manufacturing, enabling aluminum sintering for binder jetting applications.

Uniformity Labs will be responsible for qualifying optimized binder jetting powders exclusively for Desktop Metal’s Production and Shop Systems. This includes the company’s 3D printing platforms that were added from its acquisition of ExOne in November. The two will then work on assessing powder and binder interactions and release print profiles with the complete mechanical properties for different materials, including stainless steels, nickel-based superalloys, and reactive metals such as aluminum. Uniformity Labs reported that it has already installed numerous Desktop Metal systems such as a Shop System and a Production System P-1 at its facility in Fremont, Calif. to work on materials qualification.

Uniformity Labs’ patented materials technology has a track record of producing powders with tap densities up to 85 percent that sinter to full density. According to the company, these are “significantly more flowable than powders of comparable size.” This means that these materials will be able to consistently spread uniformly across the print bed at the highest relative density, resulting in low part shrinkage in binder jetting. This will allow systems to produce parts with optimized material properties and surface finishes.

“Binder jetting powders processed with Uniformity Labs technology enable unmatched mechanical properties and can further improve the economics of printing,” shared Desktop Metal Founder and CEO Ric Fulop. “We look forward to collaborating with the Uniformity Labs team to optimize binder jetting powders exclusively for Desktop Metal’s AM 2.0 solutions and provide our customers with integrated offerings including hardware, software, and materials that enable robust adoption of AM for mass production.”

Desktop Metal and Uniformity Labs have been in a dedicated multiyear collaboration with the objective of developing low-cost raw materials with improved sintered part density, yield strength and tensile strength for binder jetting. The two have already qualified various high-performance powders for Desktop Metal’s Shop System. These are currently available to customers through Desktop Metal as part of its turnkey Shop System solution. Engineered powders developed by Uniformity Labs for Desktop Metal’s Production System and ExOne platforms are available directly from Uniformity Labs.

The companies are currently working to qualify the aluminum 6061 powder on Desktop Metal’s Production System platform and scaling production for commercial release.

“This partnership strengthens our ongoing collaboration with Desktop Metal to provide incredible value for its customers looking to adopt next-generation AM solutions,” said Uniformity Labs Founder and CEO Adam Hopkins. “We are thrilled to continue our work with Desktop Metal to qualify our high-performance, engineered powders that deliver superior mechanical properties, surface finish, and part reliability.”

For more information on Desktop Metal’s binder jetting technology, visit its website. To view Uniformity Labs’ additive manufacturing solutions, visit its website.