success story

Advanced manufacturing

High mechanical strength aluminum for additive manufacturing

About the company and the project impact

AM 4 AM is a Luxembourgish start-up dedicated to the development of new materials for additive manufacturing. The company has the ambition to enlarge the range of materials processable by additive manufacturing, provide new solutions and enhance the expansion of additive manufacturing technologies.

In aeronautic, automotive, or space sectors, the race to reduce the weight without affecting the robustness and stiffness of the parts leads to the emergence of additive manufacturing. In that manner, those industries are looking for light materials with good mechanical properties. High mechanical strength aluminium alloys compatible with additive manufacturing processes have the potential to become one of the most sought-after materials in AM for those markets. Within the project, the company demonstrated that their patented technology, which grafts small particles on the surface of aluminium powder using atmospheric plasma phase, overcame current technological challenges. Also, the whole production process is environment-friendly (consumption of gas and electricity), chemical/solvent-free, and could be performed continuously to reach industrial production rates. The materials generated through the process have good mechanical properties that will lead to their utilisation for the production of lighter aircraft, car or space shuttle parts that will enhance the performance of the engines while decreasing their greenhouse gases emissions.

KET Technology Advanced Materials
KET Technology Advanced Manufacturing

The company’s patented process performs properly on an industrial plasma reactor. Technology passed from TRL 2-3 to a TRL5-6, where the company validated and demonstrated its correct execution in the relevant environment. The key scientific learning of this project was the ability to perform the process of powder modification on an industrial plasma reactor. That allows the technology to come closer to the market.

The mechanical properties are promising compared to competitors. The production rate had already been evaluated at around 20 kilos per day in full-time production. Moreover, the company will be able to put the materials in a competitive market in the near future. Within the project, it was proved that the stability of powder had been enhanced compared to a simple mixture of aluminium powder and ceramic particles. That provides an enormous advantage over the company’s competitors in terms of stability. The project demonstrated that the company’s powder could be processed at low laser power, reducing the amount of electricity consumed during the production of the parts.

This KET4CP project has been an awesome opportunity for our company to accelerate its development. Bringing innovative SMEs with highly skilled technological centres is a real plus for the entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe! Thanks to this project we are now closer than ever to invest the additive manufacturing market

Maxime Delmée, CEO AM 4 AM

Key success factors

The high level of expertise of the two TCs in their respective field was the major success factor for this project. The company has found trustable partners and is already in discussion for further collaboration.

Moreover, thanks to the KET4CP project, the company is now discussing with the partners to invest in space resource exploitation activities. The developed technology could be extremely well-adapted for the space environment as it only consumes gas and electricity. Also, due to this project, the company is engaged in discussions to make parts for lunar rovers to produce a robotic arm for Moon exploitation, and with ESA for a collaborative project in order to make the first satellite parts.