Swedish company Sandvik inaugurated a new titanium powder plant in Sandviken last week by hosting an on-theme grand opening celebration. Over 150 people attended the event—including customers and key stakeholders—which marked a significant step ahead for the company in addressing the metal powder market for additive manufacturing.
A grand opening
And once the ribbon was cut, the gate to the impressive titanium atomization tower was opened – and the band Mass Diversity started to play the song “Titanium” (by David Guetta) in the actual tower, supported by Sandvik’s famous 3D-printed smash-proof guitar – made in titanium, of course.
The ribbon cutting for the new titanium powder plant was performed by Lars Bergström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions and Per Bill, the Governor of Gävleborg. After the ceremonial display, the doors to the new facility were opened and the day’s program got underway.
The inauguration event showcased a number of presentations by employees working at the new plant as well as titanium powder end users. For instance, Kajsa Björklund, Director of Technical Operations at medtech company OssDsign, explained to attendees how 3D printed titanium is changing the game for cranial implants.
Other presenters included Peder Arvidsson and Matts Westin, the Process Owner Round Tools and Global Product Application Manager Milling at Sandvik Coromant, who spoke about how titanium AM has helped to improve the performance of the lightweight CoroMill 390; and BEAM-IT President Michele Antolotti and Material Special Process Manager Martina Riccio, who demonstrated case studies from the motorsport and racing sector.
The event wrapped up with a stellar performance by the band Mass Diversity—fittingly, they played the song “Titanium” by David Guetta—supported by Sandvik’s famous 3D printed, smash-proof titanium guitar.
“Sandvik’s new facility is impressive—and the smash-proof guitar is great”, said Giacomo Mezzino, Head of R&D and Mechanical Engineering at Collins Aerospace. “Titanium powder is very important, especially for the aerospace industry. Customers are constantly asking for improved quality, reduced weight and costs. If I can ensure my customers that I can give them new features using additive manufacturing, we will all reach our goals.”
Closing a gap
Before additive manufacturing, titanium’s applications were largely limited to low volume industries such as aerospace and medical because of the complexity of machining the lightweight but strong metal. With the proliferation of additive manufacturing, however, new opportunities for titanium are presenting themselves.
“Sandvik’s launch of titanium powders for additive manufacturing supports a growing trend towards the 3D printing of titanium parts,” said Mikael Schuisky, Head of R&D and Operations at the Additive Manufacturing division in Sandvik. “The additive process results in far less material waste than traditional subtractive techniques, while also encouraging new levels of design freedom. This is opening up the use of titanium in other industries, such as automotive and tooling.”
With the opening of its new titanium powder plant, Sandvik now offers one of the widest alloy programs in the additive manufacturing industry. It is also quick to point out that it can also customize materials to meet customer needs.
“With the addition of titanium powder, the Sandvik materials offering to Additive Manufacturing is complete,” added Keith Murray, Head of Global Sales at the Additive Manufacturing division. “In addition, we can also tailor the powder to any printing process, thanks to our extensive in-house capabilities in Additive Manufacturing.”
“It was a great day with a lot of valuable customer interactions with some of the most important titanium powder users in the industry,” said Kristian Egeberg, President of the Additive Manufacturing division, of the inauguration. “Now we will gradually ramp-up the titanium powder production and continue to accelerate customer collaborations and development projects in parallel.”
Quick facts about Sandvik’s titanium powder plant
- State-of-the-art atomizing plant with electrode melting
- Electrode Inert Gas Atomization technology (EIGA)
- Atomizing high-quality titanium powder with low oxygen and nitrogen levels
- Dedicated downstream sieving tower, large scale blending and packing facility
- The plant includes a sieving tower for nickel-based superalloys
- Highly automated, ensuring even better reliability and consistency
- Full traceability, having the full supply chain in house – from titanium sponge to finished powder
- Producing high quality titanium powders for AM
- Osprey® Ti-6Al-4V Grade 5
- Osprey® Ti-6Al-4V Grade 23
- Other alloys available on request
- Located in Sandviken, Sweden, near Sandvik’s Additive Manufacturing Center
- The investment amounts to about 200 million SEK (roughly $20 million)