3D Systems Offers Copper-Nickel Alloy for Laser Powder Bed Fusion

Material to be commercially available to address existing need for copper-nickel casting alternatives in marine, offshore oil & gas, and chemical & nuclear industries, according to 3D Systems.

Material to be commercially available to address existing need for copper-nickel casting alternatives in marine, offshore oil & gas, and chemical & nuclear industries, according to 3D Systems.

3D Systems debuts CuNi30, a corrosion-resistant, copper-nickel alloy for use with its DMP Flex 350 metal 3D printer. This material resulted from the company’s collaboration with HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division to develop materials and process parameters for laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing.

The companies’ domain expertise facilitated the development of CuNi30 and is allowing Newport News Shipbuilding to use additive manufacturing in place of its traditional casting technologies. Direct metal printing parts using CuNi30 to meet Newport News Shipbuilding’s low-volume, high-mix hardware needs can improve supply chain efficiency, according to the companies.

Various pipe fittings printed by Newport News Shipbuilding using Certified CuNi30 material on 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing hardware. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

Copper-nickel alloys are used in saltwater, petroleum, and acidic environments due to the material’s corrosion resistance, and its anti-microbial and anti-algae properties that enable resistance to algae growth during extended exposure to water, according to 3D Systems. CuNi30 is often used to manufacture pipe fittings and valves for the marine (e.g., shipbuilding and repair), offshore oil and gas, and chemical and nuclear industries. These alloys also possess stable mechanical, physical, and thermal properties (from 400°C down to -270°C).

CuNi alloys are historically difficult to cast, which often adds cycles of rework and reinspection to meet quality standards, 3D Systems adds. This leads to a limited number of capable and willing suppliers who can support production of quality hardware. HII recognized the potential to realize benefits if the DMP hardware, material and process could be qualified for their production components, and partnered with 3D Systems.

Various pipe fittings printed by Newport News Shipbuilding using Certified CuNi30 material on 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing hardware. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

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