Acquisitions & PartnershipsAM PowdersMetal Additive Manufacturing

5N Plus and Metalpine forge international agreement to strengthen AM metal powders production

5N Plus and Metalpine, both materials producers, announced a partnership that increases the companies’ ability to serve the growing demand for metal powders in

additive manufacturing markets. The agreement sets 5N Plus up to distribute Metalpine’s metal powders in the North American market, which currently represents thirty-five to forty percent of the global market for AM powders. The companies’ partnership also serves the global market by positioning each company to make greater sales through their joint network.

5N Plus is a metallurgy company based in Montreal, Canada. Its AM focus is relatively new, having only begun in 2014 with the company’s investment in semiconductor manufacturing. The company expanded its in-house offering of AM materials when it announced last week that it is producing a large portfolio of metal powder products. The company’s partnership with Metalpine represents further positioning in the North American metal powder market. 5N Plus offers its own powders alongside Metalpine’s products, which gives 5N a competitive advantage as a broker for Metalpine.

An example of Metalpine's clean room process
An example of Metalpine’s clean room process

Metalpine is an Austrian company that produces high-quality spherical metal powders in a clean environment. The company’s focus on cleanliness gives customers pure powders designed for easy flow in printers. Metalpine currently operates as a one-stop-shop for metal powder supply. It also provides technology consulting services.

The partnership promotes AM-related applications for the companies’ powders including binder jetting, metal injection molding, powder bed fusion, directed energy deposition and cold spray technologies.

AM is still in its infancy as widely adopted manufacturing processes. The industry has nevertheless undergone impressive growth. It expanded by more than 20% year-over-year. This year, the global market for engineered metal powders for AM is expected to reach $500 million, with a forecast growth rate further accelerating to 25% year-over-year in the next five years. The value proposition driving this growth is the industry’s enhanced ability to cost-effectively prototype with greater speed and agility; to innovate with new shapes and component designs; and to consolidate critical assemblies into single components. These attributes have the potential to dramatically alter global production paradigms and manufacturing.

Nicholas Audet, Executive Vice President of Electronic Materials at 5N Plus, commented: “5N Plus entered the market for engineered powders several years ago and has over the recent past succeeded in penetrating the technologically challenging microelectronics market with powder technologies catering to our customers’ unique requirements. While we will continue to build on our achievements in micro-electronics, we have been eyeing the burgeoning metal AM market, in which high-quality performance powders are essential. This is why we recently began introducing new products targeting segments of this market.”

Mr. Audet added: “Metalpine’s comprehensive portfolio of engineered powders, based on unique production technologies, markedly strengthens and complements 5N Plus’ suite of powders. This collaboration gives our customers access to the broadest range of high sphericity metal powders available on the market.”

Gerald Poellmann, Chief Executive Officer at Metalpine GmbH commented: “Metalpine is committed to high-quality metal powders, i.e. for the additive manufacturing markets. With our proprietary and sustainable technology, we aim to produce an outstanding quality of zero porosity metal powders which are highly spherical, and practically free of satellites. Such powder is ideal for technology applications which require good flowability, highest part density and outstanding part properties. Given the complementary market position and portfolio of products between 5N Plus and Metalpine, along with 5N Plus’ track record for success based on quality products and services, I am convinced that we have picked the right partner to serve the growing demand for our high-quality metal powders in the important North American market.”

Mr. Poellmann concluded: “This partnership will provide a one-stop-shop for our customers to fulfill their demand for metal powders, spanning from copper alloys, stainless steels, tool and high-temperature steels, nickel-based alloys, titanium alloys to molybdenum, tungsten and refractory metals.”

5N and Metalpine’s partnership gives the companies greater market share in the burgeoning AM industry. With COVID-19 drawing further attention to AM applications, the companies seem set to draw further clients by offering a greater range of products in this collaboration.

Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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