GKN Additive Develops AM Process for Low-Alloy, Dual-Phase Steels

July 6, 2021

GKN-DP600-FSLAGKN Additive reports the successful adaption of low-alloy dual-phase (DPLA) and free-sintering low-alloy (FSLA) steels for additive manufacturing (AM), thus enabling diverse designs and applications in automotive and in other industrial sectors.

The metal-powder DPLA and FSLA materials reportedly meet similar requirements for mechanical properties as exhibited in DP600 alloy, such as higher ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and a low yield strength-to-UTS ratio. The DPLA powder can be used in the laser powder-bed fusion AM process, with the FSLA material usable in binder jetting. Both materials, as well as parts manufactured with them, are available immediately, according to GKN Additive officials.

The new powder materials are specialized for AM with regard to spreadability, and laser absorption in the case of DPLA and sinterability for FSLA.

“Traditional DP600 offers specific standardized mechanical properties achieved by heat treatment,“ says Christopher Schaak, GKN Additive technology manager for binder jetting. “The dual-phase steel AM materials developed by GKN Additive, on the other hand, are very flexible in their characteristics, as their mechanical properties can be tuned more widely by heat treatment after the laser or binder jetting process.” 

This enables a variety of different use cases in the industrial sector and makes the material an interesting candidate for a wide spectrum of customers, as demonstrated during the IDAM R&D project in which GKN Additive has participated.

“By using a subsequent heat treatment process to achieve the desired properties with the material within a wide range (medium- to high-strength properties), an AM provider can use an established printing process that does not need to be changed,” says Sebastian Bluemer, technology manager of laser AM at GKN Additive. “This allows streamlining of internal processes and enables a faster product delivery.”

For manufacturers in the automotive sector for example, these two materials offer a new level of design freedom and potential for weight reduction, according to Schaak.

“With these AM processes, automotive manufacturers can construct body parts differently than what was possible with traditional sheet metal parts,” he explains. “Looking at a tailored blank, many sheet metal parts and support parts must be formed and joined together to achieve a certain stiffness. AM structural components require less processing steps and less material, leading to cost optimization and a weight reduction.”        

Industry-Related Terms: Binder jetting
View Glossary of 3D Metal Printing Terms


See also: GKN Aerospace

Technologies: Metal Powders


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