PyroGenesis ships first batch of additive manufacturing metal powder to Government body

PyroGenesis, a plasma technology specialist based in Canada, has announced the shipment of its first batch of specialty 3D metal powder to an unknown government entity. PyroGenesis confirmed the order from this body in December 2018, and full details still remain undisclosed.

The powder is to be delivered in several batches, with the shipment schedule subject to control from the government client. It is planned that all shipments will be completed within eight weeks, with follow-on orders expected. Massimo Dattilo, Vice President of PyroGenesis Additive, explains “It is our first volume order for delivery of a 3D powder which is not a titanium alloy, however is reactive.”

“This clearly underscores the versatility of our Plasma Atomization process proving, once again, that it lends itself well to producing best-in-class powders for the Additive Manufacturing industry.”

Producing metal powders with minimal waste

PyroGenesis producing metal powder for use in additive manufacturing using its patented plasma atomization system. The company is one of few metal powder producers that processes materials using the plasma atomization process (PAP), which it originally patented in 1995. 

PyroGenesis’ PAP technology is capable of acutely controlling the particle size distribution of metal powder, allowing the process to produce any size cut with minimal waste. With this capability, PyroGenesis claims PAP can make “small, uniform, fully dense and spherical metal powders that flow like water”.

Currently, PyroGenesis’ standard powder offering covers titanium pure CPTi (grade 1), Ti 6Al-4V (grades 5 and 23), and Inconel, with custom powders available upon request. However it is unknown what type of powder was requested by PyroGenesis’ government client.

“This powder delivery represents another significant milestone for PyroGenesis Additive,” comments Dattilo, referring to the company’s specialist materials division. “We know of no other process which can produce this material better. Of note, this is the first powder produced utilizing the Company’s new plasma-based production process, at a production rate superior to any published plasma atomization process.”

Diagram of the plasma atomization process (PAP) used to make spherical metal powders. Image via PyroGenesis
Diagram of the plasma atomization process (PAP) used to make spherical metal powders. Image via PyroGenesis

Canada’s AM metal powder industry

This latest update from Pyrogenesis adds to a line of recent developments for the company, which is currently amidst an “industrialization plan” toward round-the-clock materials production.

In January 2019 the company a mutually exclusive deal with performance alloy specialist Albert & Duval to establish the production of powdered titanium 3D printer feedstock. In October 2018, the company also opened a new additive manufacturing metal powder production facility to increase its capacity for plasma atomized Ti-6Al-4V, a titanium alloy suited to aerospace and biomedical applications.

Alongside PyroGenesis, Canada’s growing metal powder manufacturing stronghold is also home to GE Additive’s AP&C and Equispheres, both of which have also seen recent advancements. AP&C expanded its operations in Canada in January with an extension to its production capacity at the Saint-Eustache site, after acquiring almost 40,000 m² in land. Equispheres on the other hand received an $8 million investment from early stage and SME financing bank BDC Capital in February 2019.

Metal alloy powder. Photo via PyroGenesis
Metal alloy powder. Photo via PyroGenesis

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Featured image shows SEM image of PyroGenesis’ powders. Image via PyroGenesis.