The alloy is corrosion resistant and also extremely heat and wear resistant. The fact that it is produced by additive manufacturing / 3D-printing is absolutely ground-breaking. It enables complex shapes for industrial tools and components and reduces environmental impact to an absolute minimum.
Increased productivity and reduced environmental impact
Vibenite® 480 is based on metal powder produced through large scale industrial gas atomisation. This minimises both cost and environmental impact. The new material combines the toughness of powder metallurgy high speed steels (PM-HSS) with the heat resistance of cemented carbides, which is why this new group of materials is named hybrid carbides. Within 3D-printing it has long been a wish to produce alloys with high carbide content. VBN Components now proves, more than ever, that they master this technique. Their Vibenite® 480 has a carbide content of ~65%, making it tougher than regular hard metals and therefore suitable for more complex details.
Drilling, milling and turning are no longer needed. Mixing of powder, drying and pressing becomes redundant. Vibenite® 480 is niched both towards applications where steel is normally used, but where production efficiency could increase when changing to hard metal, and also towards hard metal applications with complex geometry.
Practically this means that metal cutting tools which today are manufactured through machining of steel bars, could be replaced by the hybrid carbide and run with higher speed, thanks to higher heat resistance. As mentioned, complex shapes is one of the benefits when 3D-printing Vibenite® 480, but you can also produce much larger objects in one single piece, than with traditional hard metal technique. This increases the number of possible usage areas and makes it easy to make prototypes; you can print 1, 10 or 1000 items from one or several prints.
VBN Components’ technology enables significantly shorter lead times and increased performance, as well as environmental benefits through large material savings and fewer transports. The material is well adapted for products with extreme demands of wear and heat resistance, such as tools for thermoforming, diecasting, cutting and woodworking. Rock drilling is another evident application where VBN Components has already started a collaboration with Swedish company Epiroc.