AP&C, a GE Additive owned provider of metal powders based in the Canadian province of Quebec, has entered into a new partnership with aerospace giant Airbus through which it will provide titanium powders for metal additive manufacturing applications.
AP&C, which was acquired by GE Additive in 2017, specializes in the production of plasma atomized titanium, aluminum and nickel powders. Its specific process, APA, is capable of manufacturing powder particles with high sphericity and processability, as well as good flowability and no porosity. AP&C says its high-quality powders reduce the risk of defects in metal AM and promote superior processing and results. Crucially, its powders meet the stringent requirements of the aerospace industry.
“The adoption of metal additive technology in aerospace continues to gather momentum,” said Alain Dupont, CEO of AP&C. “And one of the challenges of matching that pace in a highly-regulated industry like aerospace, is building a robust supply chain that can meet both the industry standard for conventionally and additively manufactured parts, but also add value.”
The recent multiyear agreement builds on the companies’ existing relationship. One area where AP&C and Airbus have worked closely is in the qualification of titanium (Ti-6AI-4V) powders. “Our approach is to be more than just a supplier of metal powders to our customers,” explained Dupont. “To scale metal additive manufacturing, acceleration can only be achieved by sharing knowledge best practice to lower risk and increase stability. One way we have supported Airbus in recent years, for example, has been to help its in-house additive manufacturing team establish its own methods and processes to qualify Ti-6AI-4V powders.”
AP&C, which has ramped up its production capacity at its two locations (in Saint-Eustache and Boisbriand, Quebec) in recent years, today has the capacity to produce over 1,000 tons of titanium powder a year. At these two facilities, the company operates over a dozen powder production lines.