Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE: ATI) has formed a joint venture (JV) with GE Aviation.
The GE Aviation and ATI venture will develop “a new meltless titanium alloy powder manufacturing technology.”
ATI has a stated vision of, “Creating Long-Term Value Thru Relentless InnovATIon.”
The terms of the arrangement call for the construction of an R&D pilot production facility. The deal is set to extend GE’s already substantial control over the metal additive manufacturing powder market.
When GE purchased Arcam EBM in 2016, acquisition of the Swedish additive manufacturing OEM came with an earlier Arcam purchase. Arcam subsidiary AP&C produces an estimated 70% of the metal powder used in additive manufacturing. The Canadian company’s production capacity is approximately 750 tons of metal powder per year.
Market for metal powders expanding
The metal powder market has seen increased activity in the past 12 months with a number of enterprises positioning themselves to benefit from growing demand. Last month, GKN Hoeganaes, the powder metallurgy branch of international engineering company GKN, announced the start of titanium production at its Powder Innovation Center in Cinnaminson, NJ.
This year Pyrogenesis has built a metal powder production system and completed the production of several test batches of Ti-6Al-4V ahead of scaling.
As readers of 3D Printing Industry will of course be aware, Pyrogenesis developed plasma atomization process for metal 3D printing powder production in the 1990’s. AP&C would later purchase the associated IP.
The meltless titanium alloy powder manufacturing technology under development by ATI and GE Aviation will be used for additive manufacturing applications, and 3D printing according to the announcement.
David Joyce, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Aviation said, “Developing new materials is an important part of our vision for our business. ATI is a recognized leader in advanced specialty materials, and we are excited about the collaboration this new joint venture enables.”
Rich Harshman, ATI’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer said “We are pleased to join with GE Aviation to create this innovative next-generation technology joint venture. The science of specialty metal powders is a transformative technology and we intend to maintain and enhance our industry-leading position.”
ATI reported revenue of $3.2 billion for the most recent financial year.
Steel City – home of the future of manufacturing?
The Steel City is also home to several other notable ventures related to additive manufacturing.
Earlier this year Alcoa Corp. announced they would relocate their HQ to Pittsburgh. Originally founded in the city in 1888 they relocated to New York in 2006. In 2016, The 129 year old aluminium company split into Alcoa Corp. and Arconic Inc. The global headquarters of Alcoa Corp. will relocate to Pittsburgh as of 1 September 2017.
Arconic Inc. has introduced the Ampliforge™ process and are manufacturing metal powders for additive manufacturing. A $60 million investment announced in 2015 focuses on advanced 3D printing materials and processes. John E. Barnes – aka “Mr Titanium” – recently gave us his perspective on the future of 3D printing for our thought leadership series.
Pittsburgh was also host to this year’s RAPID 3D printing conference, located on the south bank of the Allegheny River at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – just across from the Alcoa HQ.
Featured image shows Allegheny Technologies Incorporated’s $1.1 billion advanced hot-rolling and processing manufacturing facility located in Allegheny County. Photo via ATI.