Pyrogenesis and Rolls Royce sign NDA, CEO warns against “premature conclusions”

PyroGenesis Canada Inc. has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Rolls Royce PLC to evaluate and discuss a potential supply of metal feedstock for 3D printing components.

The preliminary agreement follows Rolls Royce’s increased investment into additive manufacturing R&D across its businesses, and PyroGenesis’ move into refined metal powder production under its spin-off PyroGenesis Additive.

More substantive discussions for PyroGenesis

PyroGenesis, which is credited with the invention of the Plasma Atomization process for producing spherical metal powders, announced its first powder production system and production run in March 2017.

The Quebec-based company also began scaled up production of metal powders for 3D printing via Powder Bed Fusion (PBF). In doing so, the company refined the differentiation of particles in its powder in order to create less waste and widen the potential applications.

As a result of the non-disclosure agreement, PyroGenesis will now have “more substantive discussions on the production of powder for Rolls Royce,” according to P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis.

Pascali also cautioned against drawing “any premature conclusions from this announcement,” since the talks between PyroGenesis and Rolls-Royce were in their “preliminary stages.” He asserts that there is “no guarantee that anything, of any commercial value, will materialize from these efforts.”

P. Peter Pascali. Photo via Pyrogenesis.

Positivity from the markets

Although Pascali’s comments appear to have been directed at investors, the market reaction to the non-disclosure agreement has been positive.

Share prices for PyroGenesis Canada Inc. experienced an slight increase in value, and the company share price opened at CAN$0.65 (US$0.51) on the 6th of November, compared to CAN$0.59 (US$0.46) on the 3rd.

Rolls Royce’s applications

Rolls Royce’s has been using 3D printed parts for over a decade. It notably applies Direct Energy Deposition to 3D print blisks for its engines.

The company’s recent R&D in additive manufacturing notably included using the UK national Synchrotron in Harwell, Oxfordshire, to further investigate what happens during Direct Energy Deposition 3D printing process, and improve print quality.

Sales figures for Rolls Royce’s luxury cars published in January showed a record number of purchases being made following the introduction of models with custom-order 3D printed parts.

Schematic of the Rolls-Royce Ultrafan jet engine. Image via Rolls-Royce
Schematic of the Rolls-Royce Ultrafan jet engine. Image via Rolls-Royce

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Featured image a 3D printed object made using PyroGenesis’ plasma atomized powders. Photo via PyroGenesis. .