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The industrial applications for additive manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly demanding. A few weeks ago, technicians at the TU Chemnitz printed the world’s first electric motor made of iron, copper, and ceramics. The Institute for Materials Research (IMFAA) at the Aalen University of Applied Sciences and the Center for Virtual Product Development ( ZVP ) in cooperation with Mapal Dr. Kress AG developed a new 3D printing process for the production of carbide workpieces , which Prof. Markus Merkel presented on May 15 at the Pro-AM 2018 (Progress in Additive Manufacturing) conference in Singapore and was awarded in the “Best Paper” category. Using the example of drilling shanks and other carbide-based tools, the teaching and research facility presented a new additive manufacturing process that allows significantly more efficient production than the established process.

So far, this has included the steps of metal powder mixing, pressing, conventional sintering, and complex post-processing. Production becomes easier, more efficient, and cheaper by means of 3D printing. In addition, the new process, described in a paper entitled “Laser Sintering of Tungsten Carbide Cutter Shafts with Integrated Cooling Channels,” facilitates the integration of additional cooling and lubrication channels. The innovation is a result of the BMBF-funded joint project AddHard , which has been running since August 2016. The tungsten specialists from HC Starck Tungsten , Trumpf Laser and System Technology, and Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology GmbH area also on board.