Materials

Metalysis enters commercial production of metal powders for additive manufacturing

Metal additive manufacturing materials producer Metalysis, headquartered in South Yorkshire, UK, has entered into industrial scale production of its metal powders. Now at Generation 4 of development, this latest stage means that the company’s plant will be capable of producing in the region of 10,000 – 100,000 kg+ (10s to 100s of tonnes) of metal powders commercial sale.

Dr. Dion Vaughan, CEO of Metalysis, comments:

“In powering up and operating our industrial plant, Metalysis is poised to achieve its target to generate significant profits from our new South Yorkshire production facility.”

The Generation 4 industrial powder production plant. Photo via Metalysis
The Generation 4 industrial powder production plant. Photo via Metalysis

Industrial production of metal powders for additive manufacturing

Metalysis is the proprietary holder of the patented Fray, Farthing and Chen (FFC) process – an electrochemical method for extracting alloys from oxides rather than the metals themselves. The key benefits of the FFC process lie in its eco-friendliness and low-cost relative to the traditional method of alloy extraction: the input for the FFC process costs $2.50/kg rather than the current $70.

In March 2017, the company officially opened its South Yorkshire Materials Discovery Center to explore the capabilities of the FFC process. When 3D Printing Industry visited the facility at this time, we were given a preview of Metalysis’ Generation 1 and 2 development processes: production for proof of concept and technical demonstration only. From 2012 through 2014 however, the company had been at Generation 3: commercial demonstration level. On target with its timeline, it has now moved to the industrial scale. In March of this year, the company announced that it had received £12 million ($17 million) to fund the development of post processing facilities, feedstock acquisition and working capital for scaling to Generation 4.

Generation 3, 4 and 5 of product development. Image via Metalysis
Generations 3, 4 and 5 of product development. Image via Metalysis

Towards distributed production

According to Metalysis, the FFC process could be applied to between 30 and 40 elements in the periodic table. At present, the company is capable of producing titanium powders, and master alloys, including scandium-aluminide, which has included the contribution of resource company Australian Mines. Through and MoU with Canada’s Mkango Resources, Metalysis also produces magnet materials.

From 2018 onwards, the next stage for Metalysis is to ready its factory for distributed production capabilities in the hundreds of thousands of kilograms and beyond.

Dr. Vaughan concludes, “Ours is a true British success story with international implications. Metalysis has grown from the ‘lightbulb moment’ at Cambridge University in the late-1990s, relocated to South Yorkshire to benefit from regional excellence in operational skillsets in the early-2000s, and now onwards towards a bright commercial future,”

“We share this achievement with a number of partners, notably our plant-builder, K Home International, and our shareholders who have supported the journey.”

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Featured image shows Metalysis metal powder. Photo via Metalysis

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