ECKART: why the proprietary A205 alloy stands out from the crowd; showcasing its capabilities at Formnext

In 2020, ALTANA AG, a speciality chemicals group headquartered in Germany, acquired TLS Technik GmbH & Co. Spezialpulver KG, a market-leading niche supplier in the field of atomization and customization of special alloys, in particular Titanium, Aluminum, and Copper, with flexible production concepts and the ability to atomize in temperature ranges up to 2500 °C. Almost in parallel, the UK-based Aluminium Materials Technologies Ltd. (AMT), the developer of the patented special alloy A205 and the corresponding A20X powder, was acquired by ALTANA to expand its ECKART division and to enable the market entry into the AM segment as a specialist for atomization, classification, and customization of metal alloy powders. With ECKART’s decades of experience in the manufacturing of pure, spherical and nodular aluminum powders, as well as zinc and copper-based metal powders, the know-how and capabilities of AMT and TLS significantly strengthen ECKART’s footprint in the AM market. ECKART officially made its entrance into the market last year at Formnext 2021, just after the full integration of AMT into its activities.

A closer look at the main alloy ECKART provides the AM market with

Image via ECKART AM

Additive manufacturing of high-strength aluminium alloys has been challenging from the beginning, with most alloys being susceptible to the formation of metallurgical defects during processing. To overcome this challenge, AMT has driven the development of high-performance aluminum alloys specifically designed for additive manufacturing and casting applications. The unique A205 alloy overcomes the intrinsic weaknesses of conventional aluminium alloys, combining outstanding mechanical performance with excellent processability.

Notably, aluminium-based powders that are widely used today generally consist of extremely small powder particles that are spherical in shape. The particles’ sizes range from 10 to 75 micrometers (one-thousandth of a millimeter) and tighter. Indeed, to ensure good processability by AM techniques, the particles usually need to be as close to spherical as possible in order to maintain proper flow during the process and ensure adequate mechanical properties in the finished parts.

A20XTM is a lightweight aluminum powder derived from the aerospace-approved (MMPDS) A205 alloy. Due to the high cooling rates achieved during the AM process, the material can deliver a high relative density, as well as a crack-free and fully equiaxed microstructure. Supplied with a particle size distribution of 20-63 µm, its exceptional high-temperature and fatigue properties in the final part make it an ideal material candidate for Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) 3D printers or other techniques such as Directed Energy Deposition.

A20XTM can meet the requirements of demanding industries adopting AM technologies and is in full LPBF serial production for aerospace components today. The A205 aluminum alloy is also ideal for casting and is recognized as such in the aerospace industry.

ECKART’s 2022 AM roadmap and presence at Formnext 2022

Ever since it positioned itself in the Additive Manufacturing market, the commercial development of the established A20X™ powder is an important pillar of ECKART’s approach.

In these difficult times, we are fully focused on our goal of being the partner of choice for our customers in the field of metal powders. ECKART is one of the leading global players with decades of experience in the field of atomization. Our focus remains on highest quality and reliability – we continuously improve our product and service offerings. The year 2022 is exceptional, dominated by harsh price fluctuations, supply chain and raw material shortages globally. ECKART and ECKART TLS GmbH set the focus on remaining a reliable partner for our customers despite the macroeconomic challenges we are facing”, Dr. Ulrich Schmidt, Global Head of Functional Applications at ECKART GmbH states.

The company will showcase the capabilities, unique properties, and application areas of the proprietary A205 alloy at Formnext 2022, in Hall 12.0, A101.

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