Liberty Powder Metals, part of the GFG Alliance, started commercial production at its new Teesside powder-metals facility, targeting fast-growing demand from the 3D-printing industry. The company will produce a range of stainless steel and nickel superalloy powders for precision components in the automotive, aerospace and engineering industries. Minute spherical powder particles are processed to the highest specifications in a vacuum induction argon gas atomizer, which Liberty Powder Metals says is the only one of its kind in the U.K.
The atomizer allows Liberty to melt a range of defined chemistries and pour the liquid stream through an aperture using inert gas to break this into fine droplets, which then solidify to create powder. The powders undergo further processing including optimization and characterization before final tests. The same post-atomization processing activities are deployed for all metal powders in a portfolio that includes aluminum, titanium and cobalt alloys.