6K Additive and Fraunhofer ILT strike lifecycle assessment partnership

Fraunhofer ILT  and 6K Additive – a division of 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries -have announced they are working to create a complete lifecycle assessment (LCA) for additive manufacturing.

The study will use sustainably manufacturers Ni78 powder produced by 6K Additive for an industrial component additively manufactured on a laser powder bed fusion machine. They will then seek to understand the carbon footprint of the part from raw material through additive manufacturing process and post-processing. Fraunhofer ILT will display the early results from the study at the upcoming Formnext event in Hall 11.0, Stand D51.

For 6K Additive, it is the latest LCA effort, after previously releasing the results of two lifecycle assessment projects relating to titanium and nickel powders. Conducted by Foresight Management, these LCAs found that 6K’s UniMelt process delivered a 91% energy reduction and 92% carbon emission reduction for Ni718 powder compared to traditional processes, while for 6K’s titanium material UniMelt delivered energy reductions of 74% and carbon emission reductions of 78%.

“There are conflicting views on additive manufacturing regarding its environmental impact compared to traditional manufacturing. The goal for this study is to analyse factual data to help us understand the real environmental impact for printing a metal AM part using LPBF,” said Dr Jasmin Saewe, Head of Department Laser Powder Bed Fusion at Fraunhofer ILT. “We also thought it was extremely important to evaluate the entire process, including powder manufacturing, which is why we partnered with 6K Additive, who has a proven method of sustainable powder manufacturing.”

We are excited to partner with Jasmin and her team at Fraunhofer ILT for this research,” added 6K Additive President Frank Roberts. “Our previous study clearly highlighted the environmental advantages our UniMelt technology has over atomisation, but this collaboration takes it to the next step shedding light on the entire AM process. The market has embraced sustainability and the results of this study will provide the tools to allow customers to identify real solutions and help organisations drive toward carbon neutrality.”

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