Analysing the market and the needs of some relevant customers Autebo detected an interest in CuZ-n42 alloy, with specific applications for marine valves and for pre-series of food equipment. The necessity of increasing the number of materials that can be processed has pushed the company in modifying a Powder Bed Fusion 3D printer, produced by 3D4steel. Copper is difficult to be processed, due to the generation of different states with different volatilities during the fusion step. During the preliminary analysis the team has succeeded in the realization of an industrial component in collaboration with a potential customer.
The experimental phase has highlighted the short service life of a traditional filtering system because of the clogging effect of the Zn-concentrated composite on the filtering surface. This is extremely hazardous since the filter could be disposed in landfills, with the consequent harm for the environment. Tests have underlined the importance of introducing pre-filtering devices in order to be able to reach TRL8 condition (demonstration in operative environment). These must not introduce significant loss of head and they must allow the powder removal without affecting the nitrogen within the protection circuit.