EOS has launched the StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine 3D printing material, comprising an iron-based metal alloy powder and a specially developed process parameter set for manufacturing on the EOS M 290 direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) system.
It is claimed that the material meets the ‘essential requirements’ of additive manufacturing (AM) for serial production; this is because it ensures reproducible part quality through reliable and statistically proven data for the material properties of finished parts.
Industrial 3D printing material properties—such as elongation at break, tensile strength and hardness of a finished part—are traditionally determined based on a small statistical population. This means that it is often necessary to carry out elaborate tests and qualification processes.
StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine is said to significantly raise quality standards in AM, since the data is such that it can be used 1:1 to qualify the technology for large-scale production, thus reducing the time required for, as well as cost of, in-house material and process qualification.
The material affords excellent strength, curability and acid- and corrosion-resistance. Furthermore, parts produced using StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine can be subjected to various finishing techniques—for example, micro-blasted and polished—as soon as they have been built as well as following heat treatment.
EOS recommends the material for surgical and orthopedic instruments. The company’s customer Exactech—a USA-based developer of bone and joint restoration products that help surgeons make patients more mobile—has manufactured various medical instruments based on StainlessSteel 17-4PH IndustryLine and attained the desired material properties.
Zachary Bryan, PhD, test developer and metallurgist at Exactech, commented: ‘We were impressed by both the quantity and quality of the data that EOS provided for its IndustryLine process and material. Exactech is planning to use this material for the small-scale manufacturing of medical instruments and intends to do so in collaboration with EOS.’
The quality of each batch of powder is guaranteed by QA processes that are an integral part of EOS’s quality management system (QMS). The powder data sheets and batch-specific test certificates detail the tests carried out and standards applied.