Manufacturing Technology

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation Selects Desktop Metal's X-Series Binder Jet 3D Printers for Advanced Nuclear Energy Solutions

Desktop Metal, Inc., a global leader in additive manufacturing technologies for mass production, announced that Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a leading developer of Micro Modular Reactor (MMR®) systems for the production of safe, commercially competitive, clean, and reliable nuclear energy, has purchased two 3D printers from Desktop Metal's recently updated X-Series line of binder jetting systems, with two additional machines planned for this year.

The InnoventXTM, X25ProTM, and X160ProTM binder jet 3D printing systems for metal and ceramic powders from Desktop Metal can 3D print advanced materials such as silicon carbide (SiC), a technical ceramic with exceptional environmental stability that is frequently used in aerospace, armor, plasma shield, and high-temperature applications.

USNC converts very pure, crystalline, nuclear-grade SiC into shapes and forms capable of properly encasing a nuclear fuel particle, allowing the company's Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM®) fuel invention. The technique, which is described in full in a case study issued on March 9, is a critical component of USNC's novel fuel design for use in a new generation of advanced reactors.

“Binder jetting is a low-cost, high-yield, reliable process for our complex serial production, and an internationally recognized technology leader in nuclear fuels. He previously led multiple research and development efforts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He added, “The advanced material capability of the X-Series machines is fundamental to our innovative approach to fuel design.”

Dr. Kurt A. Terrani, executive vice president of USNC’s Core Division

With reproducible open parameters and performance across a range of machines, the X-Series line was designed to scale applications from research and development to large production. USNC has developed its next-generation nuclear fuel matrix on the small-format InnoventX system currently installed at the company's Salt Lake City, Utah, facility. The matrix will be scaled up on the bigger X25Pro and X160Pro systems.

“Driving mass adoption of additive manufacturing requires scalable systems capable of printing high-performance materials that enable the most innovative applications,” said Ric Fulop, Co-founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “We’re proud to support the mission of USNC with flexible binder jetting technology that takes customers all the way to production and helps play a role in solving global-scale problems with additive manufacturing solutions.”

The X-Series - Binder Jet 3D Printing for Metals and Ceramics
This unique approach to binder jetting is made possible by Triple ACT advanced compaction technology for dispensing, distributing, and compacting powders throughout the binder jet printing process. This open materials design allows X-Series printers to process metals, ceramics, and other materials with high density and repeatability producing functional, precise parts and tools in a wide range of build regions. The full process of 3D printing silicon carbide is done at low temperatures. With traditional technologies or laser-based 3D printing procedures, USNC can generate complicated and unique shapes in a material.



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