A major difference to conventional technologies is the far off-equilibrium state after powder production as well as after the manufacturing process, e.g., SLM. This allows for processing elements, which usually agglomerate in secondary (recycling) alloys and are tolerable up to a certain limit only. Direct sustainability of alloys is improved by exploring an emission-free metal extraction process. Together with tailor-made alloys for lightweight construction, these aspects allow us to emphasize the sustainability of materials for AM.
Our strategy in alloy development considers not only technological, but also economic and ecologic criteria. We avoid the use of elements, which are critical in extraction and/or supply, e.g., rare earth metals. Advanced manufacturing processes can increase raw materials and energy efficiency.
Recycling, repair, re-use
Recycled (secondary) alloys are not used in AM yet. However, the main ecological argument for the application of light alloys is their excellent energy efficiency for recycling. In the future, many conventional applications of secondary alloys will no longer exist, e.g., engine blocks made with high-pressure die casting. We research on the development of recycling-friendly alloys, as well as on use of secondary alloys in advanced manufacturing. With new materials in advanced manufacturing, the lifetime of highly loaded components can be increased. These technologies furthermore enable their repair, e.g., via remanufacturing a worn abrasion resistant layer by laser cladding. Cut-offs from sheet constructions usually go back to the smelting and sheet manufacturing process. We develop methods to use these cut-offs for additive manufacturing (e.g., WAAM) to address sustainability and ecological aspects.