Magnesium application: Magnesium alloy wire material using DED laser metal 3D printing technology, lighter and harder

June 25, 2024

Latest company news about Magnesium application: Magnesium alloy wire material using DED laser metal 3D printing technology, lighter and harder

On June 17, 2024, the Antarctic Bear learned that Mitsubishi Electric, Kumamoto University Magnesium Research Center (MRC), Toho Metal Co., Ltd., and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) jointly developed the first laser wire metal 3D printer using directed energy deposition (DED) method for high-precision additive manufacturing using magnesium alloy.
It unleashes the potential to process magnesium alloys with unparalleled precision and complexity, paving the way for manufacturing lighter and more robust rocket, automotive, and aircraft components than those made of iron or aluminum, thereby improving fuel efficiency and reducing production costs. In addition, the production process based on wire laser metal 3D printers will be more energy-efficient than traditional processes, generating less greenhouse gas emissions, and improving sustainable development capabilities.
Since September 2022, this collaboration has been conducting joint research within the framework of the JAXA Innovative Future Space Transport System Research and Development Program (using magnesium alloy wires for laser line DED additive manufacturing technology), aiming to reduce rocket weight and significantly reduce costs. In recent years, due to factors such as the turning of electric vehicles and the increasing demand for commercial aircraft, the demand for weight reduction has also increased. Therefore, magnesium alloys have received attention in these fields. However, magnesium alloys are typically processed through die casting, making it difficult to manufacture structures with hollow interiors. In addition, the mainstream powder bed melting (PBF) method for additive manufacturing, which selectively melts metal powders using heat, may cause degradation due to oxidation or dust explosion, posing safety issues in production.
In this regard, the cooperating parties will combine Mitsubishi Electric's metal 3D printer with the highly non flammable KUMADAI heat-resistant magnesium alloy developed by MRC, and use wire laser DED method to replace metal powder as the material. In the testing, Mitsubishi Electric adopted advanced wire drawing technology and repeated the forming process using KUMADAI heat-resistant magnesium alloy produced by Dongbang Metal. It used magnesium alloy wire as additive manufacturing material and a new technology to prevent combustion through precise temperature control. According to the evaluation of additive manufacturing production samples produced using this new technology by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), it is estimated that some rocket components are about 20% lighter than traditional aluminum alloy structural components.