What is the ColdMetalFusion Alliance?

By on October 24th, 2022 in Corporate, news

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ColdMetalFusion [Source: ColdMetalFusion Alliance]

A new industry group seems to have been formed earlier this year, the ColdMetalFusion Alliance.

The group, based in Germany, appears to have been founded in January. The group is focused on metal manufacturing using additive techniques. They say:

“ColdMetalFusion combines the advantages of 3D printing with the advantages of Powder Metallurgy to create a 3D printing solution that will enable the transition into industrial 3D printing with a robust process.”

The group was created by AM startup Headmade Materials, based in Germany. As I wrote last February, Headmade Materials is developing a process they call “Cold Metal Fusion”, which uses SLS 3D printers to produce metal parts.

Hold, on, SLS is used to make thermoplastic parts only, isn’t it?

That’s the trick here. Headmade Materials has developed a unique powder that is a mix of metal particles and thermoplastic binder that is compatible with many popular SLS 3D printers. Parts produced with the material can then be debound and sintered to form complete metal parts.

There are a number of advantages to this approach, not the least being a vast simplification of metal powder handling procedures: the binder seems to deflect the normal risks of toxicity and reactivity that are faced by plain metal powders.

It’s a very interesting approach, but Headmade Materials only makes the materials; they depend on others to produce suitable equipment and processes for completing the metal parts.

That’s where the ColdMetalFusion Alliance comes in. It’s a group that works with Headmade Materials to further develop the concept and ensure it works for their equipment or business.

So far their accessible resources include a white paper and a design guide, but over time I expect more resources to be generated.

ColdMetalFusion Alliance members [Source: ColdMetalFusion Alliance]

Currently the membership of the ColdMetalFusion Alliance is still small, as it is a relatively new organization. As of this writing, the participants include:

  • Farsoon (producer of metal 3D printers)
  • PRES-X (post processing solutions)
  • Miba Group (industrial manufacturing)
  • Bernstein Mechanische Fertigung (blast finishing)
  • Headmade Materials (binder system technology)
  • Element22 (titanium part manufacturing)
  • MIMplus (industrial manufacturing)
  • LÖMI (injection molding)

As you can see, there is plenty of room for more participants. Interested companies could contact the ColdMetalFusion Alliance for details. I would suspect the major makers of SLS equipment could eventually become participants, including 3D Systems, Sinterit, EOS, Formlabs and Sintratec.

If successful, the Cold Metal Fusion process could open up more possibilities for the production of metal parts for industry. The process could potentially be far less expensive than the typical LPBF metal 3D printing process currently used by most industry adopters.

That in turn would open up more applications for metal parts that up to now have been shut out of the AM space due to financial feasibility.

Via ColdMetalFusion Alliance

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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