Stock graphic of a news globe

Fraunhofer ILT and 6K Additive Announce Partnership to Create a Comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment for Additive Manufacturing

The study conducted at the labs of Fraunhofer ILT analyzes an additively manufactured industrial component that includes the environmental impact from powder, printing, and post-processing

Burgettstown, PA, November 10th, 2022 – 6K Additive, a division of 6K, a leader in the sustainable production of engineered materials for additive manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries, and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, one of the world’s leading centers for contract research in laser development and application, announced today a collaboration to create a complete life cycle assessment (LCA) for additive manufacturing. The study will use sustainably manufactured Ni718 powder produced by 6K Additive, for an industrial component manufactured on a laser powder bed fusion machine to better understand the carbon footprint from material through additive manufacturing process and post-processing. Early results from the study will be on display at the Fraunhofer ILT stand # 51 Hall 11.

“There are conflicting views on additive manufacturing regarding its environmental impact compared to traditional manufacturing. The goal for this study is to analyse factual data to help us understand the real environmental impact for printing a metal AM part using LPBF,” said Dr Jasmin Saewe, Head of Department Laser Powder Bed Fusion at Fraunhofer ILT. “We also thought it was extremely important to evaluate the entire process, including powder manufacturing, which is why we partnered with 6K Additive, who has a proven method of sustainable powder manufacturing.”

6K’s UniMelt platform offers multifaceted sustainability benefits like no other material production platform in the world. 6K Additive previously released two life cycle assessment projects for both titanium and nickel powders. This study was conducted by Foresight Management, an independent company who quantified the environmental impacts associated with the production of printable metal powders and specifically compared atomization technology methods to 6K Additive’s. It was found that for Ni718 powder, 6K’s UniMelt process at minimum delivered a 91% energy reduction and 92% carbon emission reduction from traditional processes. The independent study can be download here.

Frank Roberts, president of 6K Additive added, “We are excited to partner with Jasmin and her team at Fraunhofer ILT for this research. Our previous study clearly highlighted the environmental advantages our UniMelt® technology has over atomization, but this collaboration takes it to the next step shedding light on the entire AM process. The market has embraced sustainability and the results of this study will provide the tools to allow customers to identify real solutions and help organizations drive toward carbon neutrality.”

6K Additive is the world’s first producer of AM powder made from sustainable sources and offers a full suite of premium powder including nickel, titanium, copper, and refractory metals such as tungsten and rhenium. The proprietary UniMelt system is the world’s only microwave production-scale plasma system, with a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination and high throughput production capabilities. Companies interested in working with 6K Additive regarding their specific powder requirements are urged to visit 6K Additive’s website


About 6K
With sustainability at its core, 6K was founded in North Andover, Massachusetts, has developed UniMelt®, a proprietary advanced microwave plasma production system, to transform engineered materials into revolutionary products that advance industries across additive manufacturing, renewable energy, aerospace, consumer electronics, and more. 6K represents 6000 degrees, both the temperature of the operation of UniMelt®, the world’s only microwave production scale plasma system, and the temperature of the sun’s surface.

The 6K Energy division is focused on the production of low-cost, sustainable, and domestically produced battery material accelerating the pace of battery production and adoption of electric vehicles. The 6K Additive division specializes in sustainably sourced, AM metal powders production and reclamation, using a proprietary milling and cleaning process that ensures contamination-free, high-quality powders. For more information, visit and follow @6KInc on Twitter. 

About Fraunhofer ILT

With over 480 employees and more than 40 spin-offs, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is one of the leading contract research and development institutes in its field. For more than 35 years, the Fraunhofer ILT experts have been developing and optimizing laser beam sources and laser processes for production and metrology, energy and

mobility, medical and environmental technology, as well as quantum technology.

The Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) department at the ILT has been developing the LPBF process and the associated machine technology and software for over 25 years. In the area of sustainability, the research team at ILT is particularly concerned with generating reliable data of the LPBF process chain using the large infrastructure with 20 LPBF machines and analysis devices.

Fraunhofer ILT contact:

Dr.-Ing. Jasmin Saewe

Head of Department

Laser Powder Bed Fusion

+49 241/8906-135