Wall Colmonoy – as part of its plan to improve product development, technical support and advancement – invested approximately $627,000 in the Research & Development Laboratory at its Pontardawe-based European headquarters. The R&D Lab has developed into a fully comprehensive suite of analytical equipment for characterizing powders, including laser diffraction, chemical analysis, dry powder and fluid rheometry, and optical and electron microscopy. With a move into materials for additive manufacturing, where powder properties such as particle shape and size are often more critical, there was a need to expand analytical capabilities.

“We know that particle shape directly influences additive-manufacturing performance, and our customers expect a high-quality product with the correct size distribution and a spherical morphology,” said Tom Roblin, process engineering manager. “We needed a technique that could provide quantitative data on a statistically representative sample.”

As a result, Wall Colmonoy purchased the Malvern Panalytical Morphologi 4 to measure particle shape and size. The Morphologi 4 provides an automated optical imaging platform capable of analyzing a large number of particles and image analysis capabilities that automatically quantifies the shape and size distribution of those particles. According to Roblin, the instrument will improve the company’s current processes and products and also aid in the development of a new range of Wall Colmonoy powders for additive manufacturing.