Manufacturing the steel of the future

Nov-27-2017 Post / manufacturing-the-steel-of-the-future

3D printing is one technology that has been receiving a lot of attention recently and that is due to the vast developments made in this field over the past year. This particular technology is of interest to a lot of different industries as its eventual perfection could change the conventional method of manufacturing forever. However, it is only a small selection of materials that can be put through fabrication in the 3D printing process, which limits its application in all industries.

However, there have been some very interesting breakthroughs in 3D printing with metal this year, and the possibilities this new technology proposes could be revolutionary. There have been attempts to print with metal that can be traced back all the way to the 1880s when welders would use carbon electrode arcs to fuse two pieces of metal together. In more recent times, NASA has used a 3D printing inspired process called Selective Metal Melting to build rocket motor components which were previously thought to be far too complex to feasibly manufacture. This process created parts with dimensional accuracy that was previously unseen from any other fabrication method.

Today, steel can be put through a special 3-D printer, that deposits tiny amounts of glue between layers of steel powder, repeating the process until the model is complete. While still extremely fragile in this state, the models are put through a further process where the glue is replaced with bronze, which completes the model’s transition into full-metal. This process is time-consuming and not entirely feasible to manufacture on a large scale. However, emerging laser technologies like femtosecond lasers and two-photon lasers are able to muster the required energy to fuse metal together without a bonding agent. Despite their prohibitive cost, further R&D is sure to bring forth brand new possibilities in the field of metal manufacturing.

Agni Steels is a supporter and avid observer of the constant development of technologies in the steel sector.