Aluminum Association Introduces First-Ever Material Designation System for 3D Printing | The Aluminum Association

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Aluminum Association Introduces First-Ever Material Designation System for 3D Printing

April 15, 2019

“Purple Sheets” Will Define Chemical Designation for Aluminum Powder Used in Fast-Growing Additive Manufacturing Segment

ARLINGTON, VA  — Today, the Aluminum Association released its first new material registration record in nearly 20 years. The “purple sheets” will provide clear chemical designations for aluminum powder used in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The purple sheets are the newest addition to the Aluminum Association’s long-running “rainbow sheet” series, which provides alloy designations and chemical composition limits for various types of aluminum. Aluminum is the first materials industry to develop such a system specific to the 3D printing market. 
 
The first registration granted is for a high-strength aluminum alloy produced by HRL Laboratories, LLC. The association will grant HRL registration number 7A77.50 for the aluminum powder used to additively manufacture the alloy, and number 7A77.60L for the printed alloy.
 
“The purple sheets are a true game-changer for the aluminum industry,” said Jerome Fourmann, global technical director at Rio Tinto Aluminum and chairman of the association’s Technical Committee on Product Standards. “For the first time ever, a materials industry has developed a designation system specific to additive manufacturing, opening tremendous growth potential through standardization.”
 
A recent report by market research firm SmarTech projected that additive manufacturing using aluminum powder could grow to be a $300 million industry over the next decade. Key markets for aluminum powder in 3D printing include aerospace, automotive, energy transmission and consumer products.
 
“For decades, the Aluminum Association’s alloy and temper designation system has helped companies to gain wider acceptance in commercial applications – promoting the material’s use in the marketplace,” said Heidi Brock, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “The purple sheets are the next chapter in that story as we look toward a future of aluminum in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.”
 
Since 1954, the Aluminum Association has served as the standard-setting body for the U.S. aluminum industry through its Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS). The association’s designation system was officially recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1970. Today, the association has registered well more than 500 aluminum alloys, up from 75 when the program began more than 60 years ago, underscoring continued innovation in the industry.
 
The association will publish the purple sheets later this year. Individuals or organizations interested in having their product considered for inclusion in the inaugural publication can register here. The latest aluminum rainbow sheets are available for purchase in the Aluminum Association’s online bookstore at www.aluminum.org/bookstore.  
 
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About The Aluminum Association
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry. The Association is the industry’s leading voice, providing global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise to member companies, policymakers and the general public. The aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics.  In the U.S., the aluminum industry supports $174 billion in economic activity and nearly 700,000 jobs. For more information visit https://www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.
 
About HRL Laboratories
HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California (www.hrl.com) is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and electronics, information and systems sciences, materials and microsystems, and microfabrication technology. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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