The localization of metal 3D printing materials only has solid technological breakthroughs and innovations

3D Printing World” News / Looking at the entire 3D Printing industry, materials have become one of the main factors affecting its rapid development. According to relevant data analysis reports, the scale of composite printing materials in the future 3D market will continue to increase, and the application of metal materials will also increase year by year. It is estimated that composite materials are expected to reach US$111 million in 2022, and the market size of 3D printing metal materials will reach US$800 million. , R&D and production of metal materials will have a broader market space. However, the development of raw materials and equipment will also restrict the development of the industry. How to break the constraints of raw materials and equipment and promote the rapid development of the industry has become a problem for all 3D printing practitioners. In this issue, Mr. Gao Zhengjiang, general manager of AVIC Maite Powder Metallurgy Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “AVIC Maite”) will share how they have made technological breakthroughs and innovations to promote the localization of metal 3D printing materials.

Focus on the development of metal 3D printing powder to create a powder material brandMost of the founding teams of AVIC Matt come from scientific research institutes and have aerospace materials R&D and manufacturing background. Mr. Gao Zhengjiang, general manager of AVIC Matt, said: “When the team was formed at the end of 2015, the goal was set to focus on the research and development of metal 3D printing materials.” He pointed out that one is because the team members come from aerospace institutes and have alloy materials and powders. Preparation technology basis; second, the team recognized that metal 3D printing technology is a useful supplement to traditional iso-material and subtractive manufacturing processes. The global development is very hot and fast, and powder materials are the “cartridges” in metal 3D printers, and they are key consumables. , There is a long-term market demand. Mr. Gao Zhengjiang emphasized: “Our goal is to develop high-quality 3D printing powder materials through technological breakthroughs and innovations, and build an internationally competitive powder material brand.” The AVIC MAIT research team has successively designed and developed vacuum induction aerosols. Advanced pulverization equipment (VIGA), electrode induction gas atomization (EIGA), plasma rotating electrode (PREP), breakthroughs in a number of key pulverization processes and complete equipment technologies, and successfully developed a Standard powder products such as AMS have fine particle size, high sphericity, good fluidity, low oxygen content, and material properties comparable to imported ones. At present, AVIC Matt mainly promotes five core series of powder materials, namely titanium alloy powder, nickel-based alloy powder, cobalt-chromium alloy powder, aluminum alloy powder and iron-based alloy powder. At present, most of these 3D printing powder materials in my country rely on imports, and AVIC Matt’s high-quality powder products have partially replaced imports. Entering the powder material and equipment pilot test base of AVIC Maite in Langfang, Hebei Province, many powder-making equipment are running at full capacity, powder processing is strictly regulated, and the finished powder is waiting for inspection and delivery. The pilot base has successively established a national-level additive manufacturing joint research and inspection laboratory, a provincial-level additive manufacturing industry technology research institute, and a provincial and municipal-level additive manufacturing and new material technology innovation center, and has undertaken many national and provincial-level scientific research projects. item. Walking into the honor room, we saw the development in just over two years. AVIC Matt has won many awards, successively won the China 3D Printing Good Material Innovation Award, the Beijing New Technology and New Product Award, and the general manager Mr. Gao Zhengjiang won the Beijing Baiqian Wan leader, the title of leader in Zhongguancun, Beijing, etc.

The localization of 3D printing materials only has solid technological breakthroughs and innovationsThere are two main differences in metal powder preparation technology between my country and Europe and the United States: First, my country’s pulverizing equipment is insufficient, such as vacuum induction gas atomized pulverizing equipment. Europe and the United States use equipment with a capacity of one to two tons or even five tons. It has already been in the stage of industrial production and application, and my country’s small and medium-capacity equipment is in the stage of imitation, and there is no original technology; ultra-high speed plasma rotating electrode powder making equipment still depends on imports from Russia and Ukraine. Second, the core technology of pulverization is weak and the whole process technology is lacking, the basic theoretical research of core technology (such as gas atomization gas-liquid two-phase flow simulation) and engineering test development are insufficient, core atomization nozzle, plasma gun, variable speed transmission and other devices Insufficient design and processing capabilities, and lack of equipment and technology for precise powder screening and classification. For example, the precise control of the particle size of 15-45μm powder used in the 3D printing SLM process also lacks professional equipment. Inaccurate particle size control causes insufficient printing density or rough surface of parts. Phenomenon such as large degrees. Mr. Gao Zhengjiang, General Manager of AVIC Matt, introduced: “The preparation technology of high-quality spherical metal powder has a high threshold. Induction smelting and gas atomized pulverizing equipment technology still faces many technical barriers and challenges. China does not have the ability to develop ton-level large-capacity vacuum induction gas atomized pulverizing equipment, basic process research, equipment design and manufacturing, and pulverizing engineering. There is still a big gap in chemical application and other aspects with Europe and the United States. At present, most of the high-priced complete sets of equipment are imported from the German ALD company.”

AVIC Maite is committed to the research and development of the powdering process foundation and complete equipment technology. In March 2016, AVIC independently developed a new type of VIGA vacuum induction gas atomization powder making equipment, carried out research on the preparation technology of 3D printing special high-temperature alloy powder, and prepared high-purity, high-sphericity nickel-based alloy powder products. GH3536 (Hastelloy X) nickel-based alloy powder products have been successfully applied to the printing of fuel nozzle parts for aviation engines in my country. In June 2016, the self-designed and built EIGA50 electrode induction titanium alloy powder making equipment was put into production, and the fine spherical titanium alloy powder products used in the 3D printing SLM process were prepared. This type of equipment technology is the first in China to realize localization and establish a complete set of independent With intellectual property rights, the prepared TC4 (Ti6Al4V) titanium alloy powder products are used in the printing of lightweight parts in my country’s aerospace. In March 2017, AVIC Matt cooperated with Chinese and foreign experts to develop a set of high-speed plasma rotating electrode powder making equipment. This type of equipment has a high speed of alloy bars and uses high-power plasma to heat and melt the alloy bars to prepare powders. With high sphericity and low oxygen content, it is suitable for the printing and manufacturing of laser three-dimensional forming structural parts. AVIC Matt’s scientific research team continues to explore new processes and technologies. In November 2017, it jointly developed a new plasma atomization powder making equipment with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The equipment has reached the design requirements and has entered the hot test stage.

AVIC Maite has been “tiringly” in the autonomy of milling equipment technology, and Mr. Gao Zhengjiang has played a “leading” role. He is a professor-level senior engineer and material expert who came out of the military industry academy. He has been engaged in related technical work for more than 10 years. He has long-term research on powder alloys and their preparation technology. He pays close attention to the development of global powder milling technology. The “pain points” of powder technology, led the team to overcome difficulties, constantly challenged new processes, and constantly tried and made mistakes, and successively overcome the “no crucible pure smelting”, “fine powder yield”, “ceramic inclusion control”, “powder Technical difficulties such as “liquidity”. He said that the teachers of the institute and the veteran experts in the department not only taught him the skill of technology, but more importantly, he inherited the pragmatic work spirit of “climbing the stove” and taking root in the front line of production technology. In the pilot test base of AVIC Maite, it can be seen that in addition to several testing equipment imported from Europe and the United States, their milling and complete production line equipment are all based on autonomy and localization, and they are basically independent design, manufacturing, assembly and debugging. . As the only domestic company that not only produces powder materials but also designs turnkey powder milling equipment production lines, AVIC MAIT absolutely masters the “core weapon” in the field of 3D printing metal powder preparation technology. Compared with its counterparts with imported equipment, AVIC MAIT What we have is our own technology, intellectual property rights and equipment capabilities, with independent support capabilities for core equipment and advantages in large-scale production. Mr. Gao Zhengjiang jokingly introduced: “AVIC MAIT focuses on milling equipment technology and powder business for another reason. As a start-up company, it does not have much capital and can only use its expertise to continue tackling the breakthrough of milling. ”

Material technology” is the basis for the explosion of metal 3D printing applicationsmy country’s metal 3D printing technology research has paid more attention to the printing equipment and process in the early stage, and lacks the optimization design and post-processing technology research of alloy materials. From material composition design, trace element control, powder preparation, physical property control, powder modification, powder recycling, printing, heat treatment, and test evaluation, the entire process should be systematically researched around “material technology”. At present, 3D printing users purchase powder materials for printing, and do not know how to optimize and control the composition of the powder used according to the performance requirements of the parts. Because metal 3D printing provides a high temperature gradient powder forming condition, the final manufactured parts have high stress and anisotropy, requiring post-processing, which requires users to have a certain degree of chemical and physical properties of the material Recognize that by optimizing and controlling materials, we can produce parts with stable quality more efficiently. “Material technology” is the basis of metal 3D printing. After solving the “problems” of the core equipment for powder milling, AVIC Matt started to develop powder materials suitable for the three major German brands of metal printers and their parameter packs. However, it was not easy at the initial stage. He”, groping bit by bit, in the research and development process, they invested dozens of tons of materials for trial production, and worked continuously for months to improve and test. In the powder 3D printing application development stage, AVIC Matt has cooperated with major domestic 3D printing enterprises and institutions such as Huashu Hi-Tech, Yijia 3D, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an University of Technology, Beihang University, Shenhang University, etc., to realize the design of alloy composition, powder preparation, powder The rapid connection of processing, inspection and evaluation to material printing test, parts design, development and application, newly developed a batch of new alloys, new materials and parts, established multiple joint research and development platforms and laboratories, and developed dozens of powder printing products. Process parameters and heat treatment technology. Based on the joint research and development of material technology research and application technology, AVIC Matt has developed nearly 100 grades of powder materials, serving more than 400 users worldwide, including European and American companies such as GE, SAFRAN, GKN, DM, EXONE, etc., and can provide global users with satisfaction Metal 3D printing needs “material supermarket” and “material prescription”. There is reason to believe that “material technology” will help the explosion of metal 3D printing applications.

Highlight the need for new thinking for the development of the metal 3D printing industryThe development of my country’s metal 3D printing technology industry relies on Europe and the United States, and most of its materials, equipment, core components and software rely on imports. Imported equipment is expensive, the types of powder consumables are few, and the process software parameters are solidified, which severely restricts the independent development and industrial application of my country’s metal 3D printing technology. To break through this pain point, we need to jump out of the “stuck neck” development model of traditional high-tech industries. The government, enterprises, institutions and universities should form a consensus to create an independent innovation atmosphere for domestic 3D printing companies and establish a market that supports independent innovation products. Mechanism to support the localization of materials, equipment, core devices and software. If it is still the old routine of “market for technology”, the development of my country’s metal 3D printing technology industry will continue to be limited to Europe and the United States. Private enterprises have become the development of my country’s metal 3D printing industry “Pioneers” have rapid growth in scale and high vitality, but most of them are still in the critical period of start-up growth and are in urgent need of a good market environment and room for growth. At the same time, independent innovation and the development of high-tech products should be encouraged to reduce repeated investment. With the rapid progress of metal 3D printing technology, Mr. Gao Zhengjiang believes that for metal 3D printing to be widely used, breakthroughs must be made from the following points.

The first is to insist on technological innovation. Whether it is metal 3D printing materials, equipment, processes, software, testing, and applications, solid technological innovation is indispensable, encourage 3D printing original technology, and cultivate a group of leading 3D printing companies that master core product technologies. , Especially private enterprises; the second is to encourage applications, create demand, encourage various industries to choose 3D printing superior technology and material solutions, control the overall cost, gradually replace or make up for the shortcomings of traditional processes, and open up the gap in the application of 3D printing; Learning from Fortune 500 companies such as GE in the United States and SIEMENS in Germany, large state-owned enterprises, state-owned enterprises, and military industry groups are actively using 3D printing technology to provide assistance to the development of major national projects and key equipment, and to promote the demonstration and leadership of new 3D printing technology applications; the fourth is to increase 3D printing talents Cultivating, formulating special policies for talent training, government guidance, university hosting, and enterprises setting up a platform to cultivate a large number of 3D printing talents to meet the urgent need for professional talents in the development of 3D printing industry; fifth is to actively integrate into the global 3D printing development technology industry chain, Encourage participation in global competition and cooperation, and make overall plans for technology, standards, and patent layout. As a high-tech enterprise emerging from the military industry institute, AVIC Matt has always adhered to the unswerving development of core equipment and technology. Their development goal is to become an internationally competitive military-civilian integrated materials and equipment industry group to help my country’s aviation The development of aerospace, new materials and intelligent manufacturing industries. 

 

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