5N Plus, a Canadian specialty chemicals and engineered materials firm based in Montreal, entered the additive manufacturing market by launching a broad portfolio of metal powder products. The company’s recent ambition is a new addition to the Canadian AM space, where 5N Plus promises to offer power materials with melting points that range between 60°C to well over 2600°C. 5N hopes to capture significant market share with this breadth of potential materials.
5N is an employee-based spinoff of a major Canadian mining and metals company that has increasingly focused on electronics. The company was established in June of 2000 and branched into hydrometallurgical operations. It expanded its facilities to serve domestic and international clients up to 2007, when its shares (ticker: VNP) listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 5N subsequently expanded into the semiconductor market by purchasing all of its subsidiary Sylarus Technologies (renamed 5N Plus Semiconductors) in April 2014. A month later, 5N purchased a Canadian company with large intellectual property holdings for micron-sized solar and AM powders used in electronic markets.
The company’s earlier focus on microelectronics and semiconductor applications primed its employees for a move into the AM space. Employees became familiar with the miniature scale of fine electrical engineering and metallurgy. This small-scale, or local, view translates into the additive space, where quality metal powders ensure consistent printing and strong objects.
5N’s recently launched portfolio of engineered powders builds on its electrical experience by using proprietary process technologies based on copper and copper-based alloys. These engineered materials leverage optimized morphology, controlled oxygen content, ultra-high purity, surface oxide thickness uniformity and controlled particle size distribution to deliver optimal performance, as demonstrated in customer applications.
The company also contracts with external suppliers to gain access to more high-performance engineered powders in areas not covered by its product portfolio. Between the company’s internal developments and products currently under acquisition, 5N Plus’ portfolio of engineered powders is expected to span across two dozen different metal alloy compositions.
This wide range of product offerings sets the company up for a powerful entry into the AM space.