$24 m boost to 3D printed metal with Arcam’s AP&C expansion

Arcam AB (STO:ARCM) subsidiary AP&C, a Canadian company specializing in the production of metal powders for 3D printing, held a ground-breaking ceremony this week for their new plant. The metal powder producer has announced plans to invest $24 million (CAD 31 million) for the development of a second powder manufacturing plant to be located in Quebec and follows the success of their first plant in Montreal.

Arcam DiSanto Alliance
3D printed hip cup made with titanium powder.

Support from investors and government backers

For this expansion project, AP&C received counsel and financial assistance from a number of Canadian government agencies including the Canada Economic Development, Montreal International, Investissement Québec and the Québec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation. Representatives of these organizations were also present at the ceremony led by AP&C CEO Alan Dupont, who thanked them saying “Without the involvement from both the federal and provincial governments, our project would have been difficult to carry through at this speed”.

AP&C was purchased by Sweden’s Arcam back in 2014 for $27 million (CAD 35 million), at the time the Canadian business had 31 employees, a number which has grown to 85 in recent times and is expected to grow to 191 by 2019. This growth will, in all probability, be boosted by funds from GE (NYSE:GE) once the $1.4 billion takeover bid is completed.

The Canadian material supply company have advanced their proprietary plasma atomization technology, initially developed by fellow Canadian’s Pyro Genesis, to produce specialized metal powders: with titanium powder being their biggest product currently. Parent company Arcam, founded in 1997, is currently a leader in additive manufacturing equipment and specializes in orthopedic and aerospace applications.

The need for high end titanium powder is driven by the fast growth and adoption of Additive Manufacturing. Arcam is determined to serve the industry through cost efficient solutions thus converting traditional manufacturing into Additive Manufacturing. A requisite is to offer highest quality powder for production at competitive cost”, said Magnus René, current CEO of Arcam.

Increased competition, lower prices?

With these latest expansion plans, it is clear that investors and government branches sense the relevance of additive technology for the future. Recent advances in the application of titanium powder, and relevant investments in this technology promise to make this material increasingly reliable and affordable.

Furthermore, with companies such as mammoth aluminium producer Alcoa making moves into the supply of materials for 3D printing metals competition in this sector is intensifying. As newcomers hope to win market share from Arcam’s subsidiary, the result of such a competition could potentially lead to lower prices for consumers.

3D printed brackets for the Juno mission made on Arcam machine.
3D printed brackets for the Juno mission made on an Arcam machine.