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Global Advanced Metals, LPW Technology Cooperate on 3D Printing of Tantalum

Companies will demonstrate spheroidization and 3D laser printing of tantalum for additive manufacturing

WALTHAM, Mass. & RUNCORN CHESHIRE, United Kingdom–Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd (GAM), a producer of tantalum and niobium products, and LPW Technology (LPW), a global manufacturer of high-quality metal powders exclusively for additive manufacturing (AM), entered into a cooperative agreement earlier this year to further demonstrate the suitability of spheroidized tantalum for 3D metal printing.

Across the emerging metal 3D printing industry, few examples of additively manufactured refractory metals exist, pointing up the need for a more thorough proof of concept and development of print criteria. Global Advanced Metals reports that it is filling this void and expanding its product portfolio. A specialist in tantalum powder technology, GAM offers powders in nodular, angular, fractal, and spherical shapes for a wide range of critical applications.

The company said in a press release that successful demonstration of laser 3D printing of tantalum offers GAM customers another powder option with which to serve medical, dental, military, aerospace, and other markets via tantalum-based additive manufacturing. Tantalum offers superior osteo-integration, higher biocompatibility, and reduced stress shielding with respect to current metals and alloys used for medical implants.

"Leveraging LPW's laser powder bed fusion expertise, developed by viewing AM from the perspective of the powder, represents one step of our strategy to extend our offering in tantalum and other refractory metals to the additive manufacturing marketplace," said Andrew O'Donovan, CEO, GAM, in the release. "We can now measure and share physicochemical data for both our spherical tantalum and the resulting 3D printed part, and bring this solution to our partners–for example, practitioners, designers, and manufacturers of tantalum based surgical implants and other high reliability and critical devices."

LPW Technology (www.lpwtechnology.com) is a manufacturer, developer, and processor of high-quality metal powders for additive manufacturing. The company's services for the AM industry include the development and testing of new alloys, expert application support, and innovative end-to-end hardware and software.

Active in the tantalum industry for nearly 70 years, GAM is a fully integrated tantalum supplier, with exclusive rights to the world's largest industrial resources of tantalum ore located in Western Australia. The company produces best-in-class tantalum powders and metallurgical products in its Pennsylvania and Aizu, Japan plants for a range of industries, including electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical, and chemical processing.

"This initiative demonstrates the benefits of two experts in their fields partnering to expand the materials knowledge-base for AM and accelerate its adoption for production," said Ben Ferrar, LPW's COO, in the release. "The performance of metal powder feedstock is key to building consistent AM parts and delivering the required mechanical properties.

"This work will further develop understanding of the factors affecting tantalum powder spheroidization and how it performs in the AM process, adding assurance to metal AM producers of the material compatibility for AM production," Ferrar added.

Global Advanced Metals (www.globaladvancedmetals.com) has also announced the commissioning of a new facility in Boyerstown, Pennsylvania, that uses spheroidization equipment to make tantalum powder for advanced additive manufacturing and metal injection molding.

This technical information has been contributed by
Global Advanced Metals

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