Heraeus presented a world record additive manufactured (AM) gear wheel made of amorphous metals at Automate 2019 in Chicago last week. The gear wheel was printed in a standard SLM system with material from Heraeus. With this display, Heraeus broke boundaries in 3D printing, opening new design possibilities for a wide range of industries – from medical technology and robotics to aviation, automation solutions, and the automotive industry.
The gear wheel printed by Heraeus eclipses all previous results. Produced by AM, the machine part weighs 2kg. With required high cooling rates of more than 1,000 Kelvin/second, only small parts could be produced from amorphous metals previously. Because the topology of the gear was also optimized during development, material and process experts were able to reduce the weight by 50% compared to conventional manufactured versions.
Amorphous metals: new design possibilities, applications
In contrast to pure metals and classic alloys, amorphous metals are characterized by an irregular, non-crystalline structure. They combine properties within one material that normally are not feasible: extreme hardness and high yield strength with high elasticity. Amorphous metals are characterized by good corrosion resistance, excellent wear resistance, and the elasticity of polymers. They also have soft magnetic properties and are easy to magnetize and demagnetize. With this combination of properties, amorphous metals are superior to steel, titanium, and many other materials.
Reduced weight, precision manufacturing
High-precision layer-by-layer production with special materials from Heraeus also reduces material usage, saving weight and costs. Using 3D printing also reduces overall production costs. With conventional methods, making complex parts require numerous process and manufacturing steps. Several individual pieces have to be produced and then assembled into a unit. However, 3D printers accomplish this in a single process. Following assembly in the printer, moving parts are immediately ready for use and fully functional.
The project was realized in corporation with Amorphology Inc.