Product category: Contract manufacturing for additive manufacturing
Extreme wear resistance with Vibenite® alloys
Do you have an existing application that can improve with higher wear resistance or updated geometry? Or perhaps there is an application that does not even exist yet, but that you want to develop quickly? Benefit from VBN Components' exceptional patented materials and 3D printing technique to implement your improvements.
In 2017 VBN Components launched the hardest commercially available steel in the world: Vibenite® 290. The hardness of the alloy reaches above 72 HRC and the high amount of carbides makes it a substitute to cemented carbides. This 3D-printed/additively manufactured alloy is suitable in a vast number of applications with need of wear and heat resistance. In addition, it opens up for complex smart shapes and reduces the environmental impact with more than 90%.
On a daily basis, VBN Components deals with customers who have very strong requirements regarding materials performance in wear resistance and heat resistance. To provide new solutions, VBN has developed a material with extreme properties that can be easily ordered in near-net-shape. This is an incredibly heat and wear resistant alloy with high carbide content, approximately 25vol% in full hardened condition. Since the material holds such a large amount of carbides it can outperform cemented carbides in a number of applications, typically larger details with complex design. The unique properties of the alloy make it very suitable in all types of abrasive, erosive and other wear applications and is especially suitable for metal cutting tools.
The typical customer encounters numerous limitations when it comes to choosing the best material for an application. Traditionally, there is a need for forging and rolling of bars followed by heavy logistics, and finally drilling, milling and turning of the materials. At the end of the day, the tool or component used is a compromise based on “how it can be produced”, instead of prioritising the material that best suits the end application. VBN twists this around and makes it possible to work with a focus on end performance.
Gear hob with double wear resistance and double cutting feed
Gear hob in wear resistant Vibenite® 280. This hob can cut twice as deep and lasts twice as long before needing re-grinding, compared to a top, traditionally manufactured material. For details please see application note.
In some applications, our customers are looking for different properties in the same component. We have, therefore, developed Vibenite® Combo, that combines the toughness of Vibenite® 150 with the extreme hardness of Vibenite® 290, the worlds hardest steel. This has been accomplished by printing Vibenite® 290 upon an already printed cylinder of Vibenite® 150.
“By using our thorough additive printing knowledge in Electron Beam Melting, we have been able to combine the materials. This makes it possible to have extreme toughness in one part and extreme hardness and wear resistance in another. Of course you still keep all the benefits of additive manufacturing such as the option of integrating channels or other complex structures”, says Ulrik Beste, CTO of VBN Components AB.
Achieving the desired quality of the material combination has been demanding. VBN tested a long range of settings to finally be able to attach the materials to one another. In order to get a fully crack- and pore-free weld, it was necessary to gain control of the thermal expansions of the two materials.
Product category: Design development and models for additive processes
Engine piston in Vibenite® 480, 3D printed cemented carbide
One of the more recent ideas of VBN Components is an engine piston made with the cemented carbide Vibenite® 480. The alloy used is referred to as a hybrid carbide, since it combines the toughness of high-speed steel with the heat resistance of cemented carbide. This makes it suitable for cemented carbide applications with complex shapes, where high material toughness is required. It also offers the possibility to replace steel in applications that would benefit from higher heat resistance.
With product improvement in mind, VBN has printed a large engine piston in the extremely heat-resistant Vibenite® 480. This hybrid carbide material has been tested for long-term heat resistance at 750° C, and could be used to improve combustion with more complex designs. As shown here, the design freedom offered by 3D printing has been used to make the piston hollow and lighter. One of the recent ideas is an engine piston made with the cemented carbide Vibenite® 480. The alloy used is referred to as a hybrid carbide, since it combines the toughness of high-speed steel with the heat resistance of cemented carbide. This makes it suitable for cemented carbide applications with complex shapes, where high material toughness is required. It also offers the possibility to replace steel in applications that would benefit from higher heat resistance.