Russian Federation aluminium giant UC Rusal said this week that it has finished a closed additive manufacturing cycle at its Institute of Light Materials and Technologies (ILM&T). The project at the Additive Technology Centre represents an investment of €3.5 million in resources and facility development at the Centre to date.
The firm constructed an additive powder manufacturing site at the plant as well as adding an atomizer and a powder sizing and packaging line. Now able to conduct the complete production cycle, Rusal plans to develop powders of new aluminium alloys with improved strength and heat resistance.
Rusal’s Chief Technical Officer Victor Mann said in a press release that the milestone was a significant one.
“In just three years at the ILM&T, we have managed to not only form a team of highly-skilled industry-leading professionals, but also to provide all the necessary resources and facilities to enable the rendering of a full range of services from research to engineering. The Institute’s specialists have successfully developed and enhanced the production of innovative solutions in the field of high strength aluminium powders for additive technologies, intended for shipbuilding and the space industry, as well as aluminium alloys with increased corrosion resistance for railway, transport and construction. Now one of the ILM&T’s biggest tasks moving forward is to achieve a significant reduction in production costs by recycling and optimising the printing process parameters. This work will make it possible to accelerate the implementation of new developments and to expand their application to more industries in the future.”
Rusal says the Centre is studying aluminium alloy powders that resist heat up to 400°С (752°F). In 2019, two years after the founding of the ILM&T, the plant debuted a new aluminium alloy powder that surpassed the then-current selection of aluminium alloy powders.