Nichols Portland Inc. of Portland, Maine, acquired the assets of Alpha Precision Group LLC (APG) of St. Marys, Pa. Nichols, a portfolio company of Altus Capital Partners, designs and manufactures powder-metallurgy components for use in automotive and industrial applications. APG is a metal-forming technology company that provides conventional powder metal, high-temperature stainless steel powdered metal, metal injection molding and additive manufactured (3D metal printed) components and assemblies to a global customer base. APG operates five manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
SSI Sintered Specialties invested in a high-temperature refractory metal-lined vacuum furnace from Elnik Systems to expand its services into powder-metallurgy processes. The furnace, which is scheduled for installation in September 2021, will join a growing fleet of new equipment at SSI’s technology center in Janesville, Wis. Along with providing customers advanced powder-metallurgy processing, this investment positions SSI to immediately target the addition of metal 3D printing to its portfolio and the expansion of its current metal injection molding (MIM) operations. The furnace will also allow SSI to develop sintering profiles for both technologies.
Swedish heating technology company Kanthal and metals research institute Swerim will invest in ultra-modern atomizing equipment. The investment is worth approximately $2.39 million. The new equipment is designed for research and development of both materials and the atomizing process in the area of powder metallurgy (PM). It allows for atomizing of powder batches up to about 187 pounds (85 kg), both for additive manufacturing (AM) and hot isostatic pressing (HIP) applications. The unit has high material and process flexibility, which means great possibilities in development of materials and processes aiming toward both AM and PM.
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.
Abbott Furnace Company designed, manufactured and installed a 6,000-SCFH endothermic gas generator at Sintergy Inc. in Reynoldsville, Pa. The generator has an innovative retort design that allows a single retort to produce endo gas at this rate without sacrificing gas quality and maintaining a 6:1 turndown ratio. According to Sintergy, a manufacturer of powder-metal components, it is only seeing ±1°F in dew-point variation from setpoint. Abbott included state-of-the-art controls with an Allen-Bradley PLC, data logging, dew-point and methane sensors, and an updated gas safety system.
With our diverse editorial coverage, there are a number of associations in our industry. I personally belong to APMI International (MPIF) for powder metals and additive manufacturing as well as AIST (Association for Iron & Steel Technology). That’s in addition to IHEA and MTI, of course.
GKN Powder Metallurgy opened its new North American headquarters and additive-manufacturing (AM) customer center in Auburn Hills, Mich. The 38,260-square-foot facility expands the company’s global 3D-printing network and extends its scope of in-house powder-metallurgy capabilities. Housing over 80 employees from the three GKN Powder Metallurgy businesses (Hoeganaes, GKN Sinter Metals and GKN Additive), the facility includes a 3,200-square-foot AM Customer Center equipped with two direct metal laser sinter (DMLS) printers.
Kobe Steel Ltd. plans to invest approximately $16 million to increase the production capacity of its steel powder plant in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. The production capacity of steel powder products will increase to 110,000 metric tons per year from the current 96,000 metric tons per year. Mass production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2021. Kobe Steel will install another reduction furnace to enable higher treatment temperatures than the current furnaces.