On April 15th, 2019, the Aluminum Association introduced its first new material registration report in around two decades. The “purple sheets” have the potential to provide well-defined chemical designations for aluminum powder used in 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing.
These purple sheets have been added newly to the Aluminum Association’s traditional “rainbow sheet” series, which offers alloy designations and chemical composition limits for different types of aluminum. The Aluminum Association is the first materials industry to produce such a system, particularly for the 3D printing market.
The first registration for a high-strength aluminum alloy developed by HRL Laboratories, LLC has been granted. The association will provide HRL registration number 7A77.50 for the aluminum powder, used for chemically producing the alloy, and number 7A77.60L for the printed alloy.
The purple sheets are a true game-changer for the aluminum industry. For the first time ever, a materials industry has developed a designation system specific to additive manufacturing, opening tremendous growth potential through standardization.
Jerome Fourmann, Global Technical Director, Rio Tinto Aluminum
Jerome Fourmann is also the chairman of the association’s Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS).
Recently, it was reported by SmarTech, a market research company, that additive manufacturing with aluminum powder may possibly increase to be a $300 million industry over the next 10 years. The primary demands for aluminum powder in 3D printing are for automotive, aerospace, consumer products, and energy transmission.
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. The purple sheets are the next chapter in that story as we look toward a future of aluminum in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The Aluminum Association
From 1954, the Aluminum Association has been the standard-setting organization for the U.S. aluminum industry via its TCPS. In 1970, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) officially accepted the association’s designation system. The association has registered >500 aluminum alloys, up from 75 when the program commenced more than six decades ago, emphasizing continued development in the industry.
The association will make known the purple sheets later this year. Those individuals or organizations who are interested in including their product in the inaugural publication can register. The latest aluminum rainbow sheets can be obtained from the Aluminum Association’s online bookstore at www.aluminum.org/bookstore.