SBIR-STTR Award

Grave to Cradle: Establishing a Domestic Capability to Recover, Reclaim, and Convert Critical Metals from Defense & Industrial Scrap
Profile last edited on: 9/26/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
DLA
Total Award Amount
$1,049,923
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Sunil Badwe
Activity Indicator

Company Information

6K Inc (AKA:Amastan Technologies Inc)

25 Commerce Way Suite 1
North Andover, MA 01845
   (978) 258-1645
   N/A
   www.6kinc.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   06
County:   Essex

Phase I

Phase I year
2019
Phase I Amount
$99,999
There is constrained domestic availability of strategic metals, superalloys or titanium for example, unacceptably exposing the US military to dependency on foreign sources. A near-term solution is found in the nation’s boneyards, MRO facilities, and machine shops. End of life parts, machine shop scrap, or used powders, represent an untapped source of strategic metals that can provide the US military a secure domestic supply of superalloys …provided they can be economically recycled into materials with properties equivalent to original feedstock specifications required for system parts manufacturing. Amastan Technologies developed microwave plasma technology, UniMelt™, for continuous particle densification and spheroidization; and scaled it to systems of 100 ton/year output and 24/7 capability. Metal feedstocks continuously pass through a 6000K uniform plasma, with controlled residence times in heating and cooling zones, enabling engineered control of end-product size, morphology, crystallinity, chemistry, and quality. UniMelt has successfully demonstrated proof-of-concept transformation of superalloy shop scrap into high quality powders. This project will optimize UniMelt, producing quality superalloy materials from end-of-life parts and scrap, and qualifying for reuse. The result will be the establishment of an assured domestic source of superalloy materials produced from scrap, in commercial quantities, at affordable costs…taking materials from Grave to Cradle.

Phase II

Phase II year
2020 (last award dollars: 2020)
Phase II Amount
$949,924
There is limited domestic production of nickel superalloys, used in propulsion, turbines, heat exchangers, exposing the military to risk of overdependence on foreign sources. End-of-life parts and shop scrap represent an untapped source of superalloys that can serve as a domestic supply, provided they can be converted into material with properties meeting specs for original parts manufacturing. The program objective is to establish a secure domestic source of strategic metals for the military. Phase I demonstrated conversion of scrap into feedstock and that UniMelt™, a microwave-coupled-plasma process, successfully produces “virgin” quality superalloy powders - as compared to the industry “gold standard” – with performance confirmed by testing of 3D printed coupons. Phase II will expand scrap-for-feedstock sourcing and preparation followed by UniMelt processing into aerospace-grade powders. 3D printing of discrete prototype parts will be demonstrated and optimized to meet application requirements with DoD qualified vendors, accompanied by initial plans for qualification and commercialization. Phase II will confirm the efficacy of producing powder from domestic scrap sources, for aerospace use, with a path to program insertion. Significant end-system cost reduction will be a major benefit along with abundant secure supplies of strategic metals for use by the military and commercial aerospace