BEAMIT Group Qualifies Aluminium Alloy Al2024 RAM2C for Additive Manufacturing applications in the Motorsport Sector

The ultralight Aluminium alloy 3D printed by BEAMIT also performs well at high temperatures: perfect for applications in the Motorsport, Automotive and Aeronautical sectors.

The demand for 3D printed parts in the Motorsport sector requires parts that could achieve high-performance levels no matter what the temperature is, while remaining extremely light. Such requirements can only be met with advanced materials that BEAMIT Group decided to develop.

In this vein, BEAMIT has developed the 2024 RAM2C Aluminium alloy with a process parameterised in-house. According to the company, the material performs better at both room temperature and high temperatures than other alloys currently in use, plus it is exceedingly tough as well as extremely lightweight. These characteristics make it perfect for applications in the Motorsport and Automotive sectors for components like the suspension, parts of the chassis and structural parts of the powertrain – so basically any part near the engine.
The alloy processed with conventional technologies is commonly used for the structural parts of aircraft, but Additive Manufacturing opens up new horizons for the future of Aerospace design, enabling the production of much lighter and higher performing structural parts which would bring down energy consumption and costs.

Until now, 2000 series Aluminium alloys, including 2024, were known in the AM world for their inability to be processed via Additive Manufacturing due to their composition. The elements in alloys (such as Copper, Zinc and Magnesium) solidify at completely different temperatures and it becomes very difficult to melt them with a laser to create solid elements. The first step of the project was in collaboration with Elementum 3D: choosing to print with Elementum 3D’s Al2024-RAM2C material, a 2000 series Aluminium alloy composition modified with their patented RAM additions. The toughest challenge was discovering the ideal process window for the alloy. BEAMIT Group’s R&D team benefits immensely from the integrated processes offered by a fully integrated value chain and took a multidisciplinary approach that resolved the problem.

“The 2024 alloy perfectly embodies what we mean when we talk about the integrated development of the additive process. It has been made possible by a multidisciplinary research group and access to unique machinery to study and apply top-level precision processes to achieve a result like we did in this case, which we can safely say is decidedly extraordinary,” said BEAMIT Group General Manager Andrea Scanavini.

Aluminium alloys necessarily need to be subjected to heat treatments to achieve maximum levels of mechanical performance, so a specific cycle was custom built for the 2024 RAM2C alloy. Varying the heat treatment can actually vary how the material performs. In addition to finding the ideal solution for the alloy’s heat cycle, BEAMIT Group’s R&D team developed different post-printing processes enabling customers to have modular solutions with customised properties.

BEAMIT Group Material and Special Processes Manager Alessandro Rizzi explains, “It is very difficult to process 2000 series Aluminium alloys via L-PBF so developing this material really motivated us. Furthermore, the role of heat treatments became fundamentally important for Al2024 RAM2C and enabled us to experiment different ones to find repeatable stable processes and guarantee maximum performance, including in-air and HIP-Q treatments.” In fact BEAMIT Group is currently working on parameterising the high-pressure heat treatment process in collaboration with the subsidiary PRES-X, the innovative start-up that uses cutting- edge technologies for special post-production processes within BEAMIT Group.

Our priority is to offer customers advanced materials and processes so they can transfer these innovations directly and effortlessly to their products. This continually evolving advancement is an integral part of our Group’s long-term strategies and supported by a strong, well-organised team focused on achieving even more competitive results”, BEAMIT Group President Mauro Antolotti states.

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