Home 3D Printing [INTERVIEW] Colin Hautz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders: the chance for metal powder in steel 3D printing

[INTERVIEW] Colin Hautz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders: the chance for metal powder in steel 3D printing

[INTERVIEW] Colin Hautz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders: the chance for metal powder in steel 3D printing


3D printing information was in no quick provide at Formnext 2023; to date, we’ve revealed over forty articles, with extra to return. 

Nonetheless, one of the crucial attention-grabbing business developments was not discovered at a big central sales space however somewhat one of many smaller areas on the perimeter of Corridor 12.0.

With a market capitalization of EUR 20 billion, by some estimates, metal maker ArcelorMittal is bigger than the complete 3D printing business. In January 2024, the corporate intends to activate its industrial-scale inert gasoline atomizer in Aviles, Spain. The output of the 1000 tonnes capability system will likely be offered beneath the AdamIQ model by ArcelorMittal Powders to customers of laser powder mattress fusion (LPBF), binder jetting (BJ), and direct vitality deposition (DED) steel additive manufacturing programs. 

The imaginative and prescient is to leverage “ArcelorMittal’s metallurgical and digital experience to unleash the potential of metal together with Additive Manufacturing.”

I spoke to Colin Hautz, CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders, to know the corporate’s market entry technique into additive manufacturing and the motivation behind the timing. 

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Why has ArcelorMittal entered the steel powders for additive enterprise?

Hautz highlighted a number of key drivers for this strategic transfer, together with supporting prospects within the automotive sector, R&D initiatives, and market potential.

ArcelorMittal’s long-standing collaboration with the automotive business, a vital marketplace for the corporate, has historically centered on enhancing metal power and light-weighting automobiles. Nonetheless, because the automotive sector explores additive manufacturing, ArcelorMittal confronted a niche since they didn’t produce powder. Coming into the additive manufacturing area as a fabric provider permits them to proceed supporting these key purchasers.

But this isn’t ArcelorMittal’s first foray into AM; the R&D division has investigated additive manufacturing for about eight or 9 years. Hautz talked about that they’ve developed distinctive approaches that they’re wanting to convey to market. He emphasised that additive manufacturing achieves efficiency ranges inconceivable with conventional manufacturing strategies. Hautz absolutely credit Spain’s Meltio for creating their steel AM programs however notes, “Our R&D was a kernel of inspiration.”

Hautz referred to the “banana curve,” an idea originating from Nippon Metal, to clarify the trade-off between the power and elongation of metal. With conventional strategies, larger power often comes at the price of lowered ductility. Nonetheless, additive manufacturing presents a option to break away from these constraints, enabling metal creation with each excessive power and elongation.

DM spline shaft for automotive 3D printed in steel by Meltio. Photo by Michael Petch.
DM spline shaft for automotive 3D printed in metal by Meltio. Picture by Michael Petch.

Development Potential and Market Evaluation: Sharing a 50 million tonne alternative

Recognizing additive manufacturing as a comparatively small, in comparison with different enterprise strains, however rising business, ArcelorMittal selected to enter the market at what they nonetheless see as an early stage. Evaluation of the additive manufacturing market suggests vital potential for development, particularly in enhancing productiveness and decreasing prices with present applied sciences. Hautz believes ArcelorMittal’s technical expertise can contribute to this development, significantly in bettering the productiveness of the present put in base and new AM programs with higher construct volumes than predecessors.

Hautz supplied a conservative estimate of the business’s development, anticipating 15-25%, doubtlessly as much as 30%. This development may result in a market dimension of 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of powder demand over the subsequent 5 years. He contextualized this by evaluating it to the worldwide metal market, noting that of the 1.8 billion tonnes of metal produced yearly, about 100 million tonnes may doubtlessly get replaced by additive manufacturing, accounting for scrap generated he believes roughly 50 million tonnes of steel AM components are viable. Viable is essential right here; whereas the functions could also be technically viable, as in addressable by Additive Manufacturing, the query of whether or not they’re economically viable should even be thought-about. Nonetheless, Hautz causes that even when 1% of the 50 million tonnes meets manufacturing standards, 500 thousand tonnes of metal powder could be thought-about a win.

A key problem Hautz recognized is the excessive market entry price for customers. He emphasised that the first price driver in additive manufacturing just isn’t the fabric however the gear and know-how productiveness. He famous, “70% [of cost] at the very least is your machine and upkeep.” Hautz argued that rising machine productiveness is essential for decreasing half prices. He even talked about that when he requested automotive firms how rather more additive manufacturing they’d do if supplies have been free, the reply was none as a result of “it isn’t concerning the materials.”

The dialog addressed these machines’ capital expenditures and depreciation, impacting firms’ revenue and loss. Hautz famous the significance of operational throughput, reliability, software program enhancements, and new applied sciences like beam shaping in enhancing productiveness.

ArcelorMittal Powders is actively contributing to this discipline with its analysis and growth. Hautz talked about a white paper the corporate has ready, highlighting its distinctive printing technique that will increase machine productiveness with out requiring {hardware} modifications. This method is a part of their technique so as to add worth to the business, specializing in making present machines extra productive.

Hautz emphasised the significance of productiveness in ArcelorMittal’s technique, stating, “We’re productiveness as the principle factor to try to unleash.” This method extends past being only a supplies provider, as in addition they concentrate on bringing options to their prospects. 

Moreover, Hautz highlighted ArcelorMittal’s numerous collaborations and joint ventures within the additive manufacturing area. One such enterprise is with TheSteelPrinters in Spain, a collaboration between ArcelorMittal and an Austrian agency, specializing in producing chrome steel components and shifting into nickel-based alloys for ArclerMittal manufacturing amenities. This enterprise originated from the R&D staff’s demonstration that they might effectively make spare components.

One other enterprise Hautz talked about is GUARANTEED, a wire arc additive manufacturing firm in Ghent, which is ArcelorMittal majority-funded. This firm focuses on repairing massive components and serves ArcelorMittal’s vegetation and the oil and gasoline business.

Any materials you need – as long as it’s metal

ArcelorMittal Powders has opted for a singular positioning within the steel powders marketplace for additive manufacturing. We solely make metal as a result of we’re a metal firm,” highlighting their experience with over 500 metal metallurgists. This specialization in metal is a core facet of their market differentiation. This units them aside in a market the place rivals typically supply a spread of steel powders. 

A key component of their technique is addressing the industrialization and scalability of additive manufacturing. Hautz famous the pattern in the direction of large-volume collection manufacturing and the necessities for bigger machines. He talked about machines just like the Nikon SLM Options NXG XII 600, which require vital quantities of powder. To satisfy these wants, ArcelorMittal emphasizes producing massive batch sizes, as much as three tonnes, making certain homogeneity and traceability of the powder, essential for large-scale manufacturing.

ArcelorMittal Powders additionally brings their intensive expertise serving massive business prospects to the additive manufacturing sector. Hautz stated, “We perceive business. We perceive large-scale reproducibility, the traceability questions which might be there.” This expertise informs their method to adapting manufacturing for additive manufacturing.

Relating to partnerships and collaborations, Hautz talked about a major however undisclosed cope with Sicnova associated to navy functions involving tonnage somewhat than kilos of metal powder. He additionally highlighted ongoing discussions in different industries, equivalent to tooling, a major marketplace for the automotive sector. ArcelorMittal is advancing analysis in tooling and exploring alternatives in tire molds and brake discs for automotive functions. 

Companies such as Nikon SLM Solutions are building AM systems capable of substantially larger components. Photo by Michael Petch.
Corporations equivalent to Nikon SLM Options are constructing AM programs able to considerably bigger parts. Picture by Michael Petch.

A possibility larger than the business?

I’ve attended two editions of Formnext in comparatively shut succession, Formnext Frankfurt final week and Formnext Shenzen a number of months in the past. The distinction is stark. In China, the sensible, production-focused use of additive manufacturing in China for high-volume gadgets like tire molds and shoe midsoles or vape pens contrasts this with the extra aspirational, high-end, high-value, however low-volume functions offered in Frankfurt. Hautz observes, “The truth that we’re nonetheless speaking so many high-end area of interest functions exhibits that price per half remains to be too costly.” Hautz emphasised that productiveness in steel additive manufacturing is essential to increasing the know-how’s addressable market.

Hautz famous the large AM alternative for the brake disc market in additive manufacturing, suggesting it may even surpass the present dimension of the additive market.

Brake disc coatings utilizing DED have emerged as an AM software in response to EU rules concentrating on superb particle emissions from automobiles beneath EU7. The difficulty at hand, as Hautz defined, is the emission of superb particles from the rusting of forged iron brake discs. The answer recognized by the automotive business is to use corrosion-resistant coatings to those discs. A proposed technique entails making use of a stainless-steel layer and a second layer embedded with laborious supplies like tungsten or titanium carbide for abrasion resistance.

Highlighting ArcelorMittal Powders’ position on this growth, Hautz talked about their preparedness to produce the mandatory supplies for this software. “We now have 430L in our lineup particularly for this software.”

The present state and future prospects of additive manufacturing

Discussing monetary projections for ArcelorMittal’s enterprise into additive manufacturing, Hautz described it as a comparatively small however strategic funding. He stated, “That is about entering into the market and making certain we wash our face.” He acknowledged the uncertainty in market development however emphasised the significance of being concerned within the early levels of the business’s growth.

Relating to potential growth, Hautz talked about that the subsequent manufacturing location would rely on market development and scale. He highlighted ArcelorMittal’s benefit in having its atomizer design, which permits for sooner replication if wanted. This method supplies them with flexibility and independence from provider waitlists.

Hautz highlighted the atomizer’s functionality to deal with massive batch sizes, with the flexibleness to go as much as three tonnes, including as much as an annual quantity of 1,000 tonnes. He harassed that this scale brings distinctive security challenges, particularly in an emergency the place dealing with turns into vital. Hautz emphasised, “When you’ve obtained three tonnes, if that’s escaping, you’re in large hassle.”

The CEO additionally touched on the distinctive facets of their atomizer, equivalent to particular strategies for extracting powder and different developments that allow large-scale batch processing. Nonetheless, he was cautious about revealing an excessive amount of element, noting the aggressive nature of the business.

Relating to high quality management, Hautz talked about that the machine was nearly to begin manufacturing and couldn’t present detailed insights into its high quality management processes. Nonetheless, he indicated that their method to high quality management is knowledgeable by their expertise within the automotive sector, specializing in traceability from uncooked supplies to the ultimate product. He stated, “We all know from the auto sector what we should do to hint supplies.”

ArcelorMittal Powders AdamIQ steel powder

Hautz defined the naming of AdamIQ, stating it stands for ‘AD’ from additive, ‘AM’ from ArcelorMittal, and ‘IQ’ for smarter use, aligning with the corporate’s ethos of “smarter steels for individuals and planet.” He emphasised the aim of proving good manufacturing will also be productive. The vary will embrace stainless steels (316L, 430L, 17-4PH), instrument steels (H11, H13, M300) and low alloy steels (a dual-phase alloy; 4140 equal).

Relating to challenges confronted throughout growth, Hautz highlighted a major challenge available in the market’s expectations, significantly round particle dimension. He questioned the usual 15 to 45-micron dimension vary, noting from their analysis that this vary may very well be counterproductive for reaching larger printing charges. Hautz expressed, “In our expertise of printing if you wish to go to larger productiveness charges, it’s really a adverse to stick with the 15 to 45 dimension vary.”

One other problem Hautz talked about is the issue in introducing new metal supplies developed particularly for additive manufacturing as a result of business’s reliance on established supplies like 316L or MS1. He famous, “If anyone may take no matter powder they needed and never lose manufacturing by testing supplies, we’d include a distinct product vary.”

Hautz additionally mentioned upcoming supplies from ArcelorMittal, together with a excessive elongation, high-strength materials with unattainable properties via conventional strategies and a cobalt-free maraging metal. He emphasised the necessity for extra growth initiatives with business companions to discover new supplies, lamenting the business’s concentrate on design and printing parameters over materials choice.

Aluminum vs Metal

The CEO of ArcelorMittal Powders mentioned the corporate’s progressive method within the additive manufacturing market, significantly highlighting a undertaking that demonstrates their experience in metal – and why aluminum may not be the primary selection for light-weight functions.

Hautz described a joint undertaking with the College of Nebrija involving a bike chassis, showcasing ArcelorMittal’s functionality in light-weight design utilizing metal. The unique chassis, product of metal tubes, weighed about eight kilos and was later changed with an aluminum chassis weighing 5.6 kilos. ArcelorMittal, nevertheless, lowered the burden additional to three.9 kilos utilizing metal. Hautz identified the constraints of ordinary topology software program available in the market, initially suggesting heavier options of 9 to 10 kilos. ArcelorMittal overcame this by creating its topology optimization and design.

A key facet of their design method was hollowing out the construction, which Hautz famous strengthens the construction in comparison with a strong one. In addition they optimized printing parameters however selected to stay with the well-understood materials 316L chrome steel. Hautz emphasised, “We now have an answer which is 26% beneath the place the aluminum was,” demonstrating that metal can nonetheless be aggressive in light-weight functions.

This undertaking exemplifies ArcelorMittal’s recent perspective and deep experience in metal, difficult preconceived notions concerning the materials’s limitations in additive manufacturing. Hautz’s account underscores the corporate’s dedication to innovation and its skill to leverage its metal experience to attain superior weight discount and structural effectivity outcomes.

Sustainability requirements for the metal business

Our dialogue turned to the corporate’s dedication to sustainability, significantly in producing metal powders for additive manufacturing. Given the quantity of CO2 emissions from conventional metal manufacturing, ArcelorMittal is positioned to make a major influence.

Hautz highlighted ArcelorMittal’s efforts in setting sustainability requirements for the metal business, mentioning their XCarb model, which represents low carbon emission metal, and an XCarb fund aimed toward driving ahead the know-how for decarbonizing the metal business. He famous the numerous contribution of the metal business to international CO2 emissions, saying, “The metal business is liable for seven to eight% of worldwide CO2 emissions.”

The dialog then shifted to the specifics of manufacturing sustainable metal powders. Hautz identified the problem in sourcing clear scrap metal, because it typically will get blended with different metals or contaminated with slicing fluids. He underscored the significance of acquiring clear scrap, which ArcelorMittal can handle successfully as a metal producer.

Hautz additionally talked about their dedication to utilizing renewable vitality sources. “We’ve contracted for inexperienced electrical energy. It’s 100% from renewable sources,” he stated, including that their industrial gases, one other vital vitality shopper, are additionally sourced from renewable energies. 

Relating to closed-loop programs, Hautz expressed openness to discussing programs the place scrap metal from industrial manufacturing might be returned to them for recycling. This method aligns with the rising curiosity in life cycle assessments (LCAs) in additive manufacturing, which more and more issue into the selections of bigger customers.

Lastly, Hautz talked about decreasing the carbon footprint within the printing course of itself. He identified that decreasing assist buildings in printing improves effectivity and lessens the environmental influence since helps are primarily waste. “While you see the support-free printing, that’s an LCA enchancment,” he said.

The way forward for steel additive manufacturing at ArcelorMittal

Hautz emphasised the preliminary step of proving their functionality to supply present alloys, adopted by introducing new alloys to the market. These embrace a cobalt-free maraging metal and a low-nitrogen 17-4 PH. He highlighted a singular, high-elongation, high-strength metal that has but to be out there within the business and a low-carbon metal referred to as DP 800, which is a general-purpose metal however not corrosion-resistant.

In addition to materials growth, Hautz said that their focus can be considerably bettering productiveness. He defined their aim of enhancing productiveness with present {hardware} and serving to prospects obtain extra environment friendly throughput. Hautz said, “We try to supply extra productively with the identical {hardware}, the best way to get that into the market, the best way to assist our prospects to be extra environment friendly.”

On the long-term imaginative and prescient for the additive manufacturing business, Hautz emphasizes its position as a complementary instrument inside the broader manufacturing panorama.

Hautz said, “[AM] will change into a extra broadly used know-how, however will it substitute all different manufacturing? No, it is going to change into one other instrument.” He elaborated on this angle by evaluating additive manufacturing to different manufacturing applied sciences, equivalent to CNC machining, the place totally different ranges of tooling and approaches are employed primarily based on the precise necessities of a job. Hautz highlighted the significance of recognizing the distinctive capabilities and limitations of additive manufacturing, suggesting that whereas it received’t substitute conventional manufacturing strategies solely, it is going to change into an more and more vital a part of the manufacturing toolbox.

Relating to the business’s future development, Hautz believes that additive manufacturing will proceed to increase. “Sure issues won’t ever make sense to do in additive. You may’t do sure issues in any manner apart from that,” he stated, acknowledging the precise niches the place additive manufacturing is irreplaceable. He’s optimistic concerning the market’s potential, predicting it may attain a million-ton market, although the timeline for such development stays unsure.

In abstract, Colin Hautz sees additive manufacturing as an integral, but not all-encompassing, part of the longer term manufacturing business. He envisions a panorama the place additive manufacturing is utilized alongside different methods, every chosen for his or her explicit strengths and suitability to the duty at hand. His imaginative and prescient displays a practical and balanced view of the position of additive manufacturing within the broader context of commercial manufacturing.

Learn all of the 3D Printing Business protection from Formnext 2023.

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Featured picture through ArcelorMittal.



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