Novelis, an Alcan spinoff that is now part of the Aditya Birla Group, has developed a new aluminum alloy that is making impressive gains in automotive and elsewhere. Novelis Fusion is based on a conventional direct chill (DC) mold that is modified in order to allow multiple metal streams to be cast into one single aluminum sheet ingot. The result is an alloy, not unlike multilayer polymer sheet, that is joined together by a metallurgical bond. One of the heavyweight users is the BMW 7 Series, which uses lightweight door components made from Novelis Fusion. A new grade (PA221) designed for appliances is also now available.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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