Powders play an integral part in the production of many products and it is widely acknowledged that they are challenging to handle. It is therefore vital for engineers and processors to have a good understanding of powder behaviour to optimise productivity and improve quality. This is particularly applicable in powder metallurgy, where the flowability of metal powders is crucial to efficiency, including enhancing performance of additive manufacturing (AM) processes.
Many AM processes require layers of powder to be built up which are then selectively fused together. The way in which a powder behaves in the process is critical for achieving high levels of efficiency and productivity as well as maintaining quality attributes of the final product. However, variability in feedstocks can lead to inconsistent bulk density, non-uniform layering, low tensile strength and poor surface finish.
Freeman Technology has worked with a wide range of industrial partners over the past 15 years and in 2017, became a contributor to ASM International. ASM recently adopted the FT4 Powder Rheometer for metal powder testing. The organisation connects a global network of members, facilitating the transfer of content, data, and research. Additionally, ASM offers a variety of educational training courses including topics such as AM. ASM also incorporate dynamic powder testing within its courses to further educate industrial users. Both organisations are confident that this collaboration will support greater use of the FT4 to improve the manufacture and use of metal powders across a range of industries.