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GKN develops case hardening steel powder for 3D printing high-strength parts

October 04, 2017
Source: ASM International

GKN plc, Auburn Hills, Mich., has introduced 20MnCr5, a new case hardening steel powder optimized for metal additive manufacturing applications. According to the company, the new  powder offers high strength and ductility as well as excellent wear resistance.

Extensive testing and development has been carried out to optimize AM process parameters for maximum density and productivity with minimum surface roughness. Supported by microstructural analysis and mechanical testing, GKN's researchers state that they have achieved a density of 99.9% in finished parts made from 20MnCr5.

While high residual stress can be a challenge, the company says that this has been successfully reduced through process parameter optimization. The case hardening process for 20MnCr5 was developed with a focus on standard requirements for surface hardness and case-depth profile.

Thanks to its increased core strength and wear resistance, GKN believes that the availability of 20MnCr5 for additive manufacturing will benefit a range of components, including gears, camshafts, universal joints, and link applications. Following completion of the first small batch of one hundred gear wheels for a leading gear box supplier, the company reports that it has received a number of inquiries regarding the material's AM capabilities, and now has several collaborative projects in development.

A primary application for 20MnCr5 will be aftermarket parts for the automotive industry. The material is highly suitable for the manufacture of spare parts on demand, and GKN will also offer hybrid production, combining AM with different manufacturing techniques to achieve optimum results. A key advantage of 20MnCr5 is its ability to be combined with all weldable materials, making it possible to offer spare parts in low volumes at reduced costs.

GKN Sinter Metals will continue working with GKN Driveline on applications for aftermarket sales, while expanding its AM capabilities with this new material.


Subject Classifications

Industries and Applications | Automobiles and Ground Transportation

Materials Processing and Treatment | Additive Manufacturing

Metals and Alloys | Carbon and Alloy Steels

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