Traditional bulk metallic alloy development is a time-consuming process, requiring sequential melting and casting of individual alloy compositions. With new additive manufacturing (AM) technologies such as Directed-Energy Deposition (DED), opportunities arise to rapidly development new alloys quickly, efficiently, and optimized for AM technologies. Many conventional alloy powders were developed prior to AM technology, and as such most of these materials are unsuited for AM. Materials producers desire high throughput methods to experimentally synthesize new alloy compositions.
A powder feed system with mini-hoppers are ideal for material development applications since only a small amount of each alloy is required to deposit a sample for analysis. With a single alloy development feeder (ADF), 16 various alloy or alloy combinations can be deposited, and multiple ADF feeders can be combined to enable many alloy combinations through sequential or simultaneous operation. The revolver-style design rotates the hoppers to access the desired hopper quickly.