Can 3D printing of copper share in gaining a competitive edge by improving the efficiency of an electric motor? The answer comes from EOS, top player in the 3D printing of polymers and of metals with laser sintering technology for the aeronautical, automotive, oil & gas and medical sectors.
In additive manufacturing processes, copper can be used in three different versions: pure copper, the copper-chromium-zirconium alloy and the copper-nickel-silicon-chromium alloy. EOS has used copper in its pure version to produce electric motors by means of additive manufacturing. The result was positive indeed: performances have improved by 45%.
The preliminary condition? Using copper for the additive manufacturing is affected by some criticalities because it is an ambivalent material with features that provide great opportunities but at the same time some hindrances; an example is constituted by the electric and thermal conductivity that make it very interesting but also hardly processed. However, if such obstacles are overcome, copper can be used in manifold applications highly successfully.