Ultrafuse 316LX: BASF’s MIM technology adapted for Additive Manufacturing

July 31, 2017

Ultrafuse 316LX: BASF’s MIM technology adapted for Additive Manufacturing

BASF’S Ultrafuse 316LX is suited to a broad range of applications for functional prototyping and small series production (Courtesy BASF)


BASF SE, the global leader in feedstock production for Metal Injection Moulding, has taken a step into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) with the launch of Ultrafuse 316LX for use in Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) systems. The material has been designed for the production of complex metal components.

Ultrafuse 316LX is metal-polymer composite filament with a non-slip surface, allowing its application in any bowden or direct drive extruder. Its high flexibility allows it to be funnelled through complex idler pulleys as well as guide roller filament transportation systems.

Once formed, the parts undergo the same debinding and sintering process as used for parts produced using BASF’s Catamold® feedstock for Metal Injection Moulding. The technology has been in commercial use worldwide since the late 1980s.

In this process, catalytic debinding removes polymer binder from the part and sintering in pure hydrogen or a vacuum results in a finished metal component that is close to full density. The whole process is said to be faster and less expensive than offered by existing Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) systems.

Ultrafuse 316LX is available in 1.75 and 2.85 mm diameter filaments. According to BASF, no changes to the FFF hardware are required to process the material. Currently only a 316L stainless steel option exists, but BASF states that other metal options will be developed.

The filament is said to be suited to a broad range of applications for functional prototyping and small series production. BASF lists various applications including watches, decorative parts, medical equipment and parts for the food and chemical industry.


In the latest issue of PIM International…

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Extensive MIM, CIM industry and sinter-based AM industry news, plus the following exclusive deep-dive articles and reports:

  • Global Markets for Metal Injection Moulding: Data and insight from World PM2022 and beyond
  • HP Metal Jet: Growing momentum and new applications as Binder Jetting comes of age
  • Sintex: Exploring the full flexibility of metal powder-based processes for corrosion-resistant applications
  • Tritone’s MoldJet: The definition-defying AM technology advancing steadily toward commercialisation
  • The metal powder-based processing of titanium: MIM and AM-related highlights from the PMTi2022 conference
  • Opening the door to MIM parts: A case study on the conversion of die cast door hinges

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