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  • Swedish Steel Company Launches World's First Carbon-Free Steel Powder

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    Swedish Steel Company Launches World's First Carbon-Free Steel Powder

    2024-05-13

    Recently, SSAB (Swedish Steel Company) introduced the world's first commercially deliverable carbon-free steel powder, which is made from recycled SSAB Zero® steel. This powdered product combines the characteristics of SSAB's high-strength steel and the possibilities of 3D printing lightweight structures. In the future, it will create more opportunities for customers without emitting carbon dioxide.


    Johnny Sjostrom, Executive Vice President and Head of SSAB Special Steels, stated that this will change the market rules in the field of 3D printing steel. SSAB has proven that producing carbon-free steel is entirely possible. Now the company is combining carbon-free steel with powder technology to ultimately achieve sustainable 3D printing designs with limitless imagination.


    When producing steel products through 3D printing, steel production is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. SSAB's carbon-free steel uses only non-fossil energy sources, thus, reducing carbon dioxide emissions during the steelmaking process to almost zero.


    In 2023,SSABintroduced its first conventional steel powder, SSAB AM Engineering, to the market, and now they have launched SSAB AM Tough Zero®, further expanding their product portfolio. Additionally, SSAB will also supply its unique fossil-free steel in powder form based on the HYBRIT process.


    In 2020, SSAB invested in building a steel powder production plant in Lulea, Sweden, producing high-quality advanced high-strength steel powders for additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) as a complement to conventional steel products. Steel powder is highly suitable for customized parts or components requiring high structural integrity and optimal functionality, used in various industries such as consumer goods, heavy machinery, automotive, and more.


    Jesper Vang, Head of SSAB Powder Technology, stated that 3D printing high-strength steel components will help reduce the use of raw materials, lighten the weight of the final product, and increase functionality. As industries like automotive or heavy machinery strive to reduce weight, improve performance, and decrease carbon dioxide emissions, products like these are of significant importance.


    Currently,SSABhas provided prototype products of fossil-free steel powder to selected customers. In 2023, HT Laser 3D printed the first fossil-free steel component for forestry machinery, mining company Epiroc showcased a prototype hydraulic block for rock drills made from traditional steel powder, and is exploring the possibilities of using fossil-free powder. In 2022, Triwa introduced the first watch made from fossil-free steel powder.


    To manufacture steel powder, steel melt tailored for 3D printing is atomized by high-pressure gas, producing tiny spherical droplets that solidify into powder. This steel powder is also produced using only non-fossil energy.


    SSAB Zero® steel is made from recycled scrap steel using non-fossil energy sources, with its steelmaking process achieving almost zero emissions. SSAB Zero® entered commercial production in 2023. SSAB Fossil-freeTM steel is produced using the HYBRIT process developed jointly by SSAB, mining company LKAB, and energy company Vattenfall. The HYBRIT process does not use coal for the reduction of iron ore but instead uses hydrogen produced from non-fossil energy sources to produce sponge iron, avoiding carbon dioxide emissions, with water as the only by-product. Currently, SSAB Fossil-freeTM steel is still in the trial production phase.