LPW Technology Begins Using Plasma Spheroidisation Process for Advanced Metal Powders

Share this Article

3dp_PlasmaSpheroidisation_lpw_logoMetal powder materials and technology manufacturer LPW Technology is announcing that their new Plasma Spheroidisation equipment is fully operational and it is now producing their new, high-quality metal powder materials. They have already produced tantalum, tungsten, and titanium alloy powders, including Ti-6Al-4V, using the new Plasma Spheroidisation process. They are also currently developing several refractory metals like molybdenum, niobium and other nickel-based superalloys that will have uses in the aerospace industry and for the production of advanced, high-temperature engines.

The process of Plasma Spheroidisation involves applying high energy plasma to metal materials, which will produce uniformly spherical metal powders that result in denser parts and offer greater powder flowability. Not only will this provide users with easier application of the powder material, but it will reduce jams and clogs that can slow down the manufacturing process, create imperfect or flawed objects and cause costly 3D printer downtime. LPW is currently the only company to use Plasma Spheroidisation equipment for applications in the additive manufacturing industry.

Microview of spherical metal powder particles.

Microview of spherical metal powder particles.

“We are hugely excited to have this next generation equipment on site for the benefit of our customers. LPW are constantly reacting to solve our customer’s problems and ensure that we have the right solution to keep them on track. Our Plasma Spheroidisation can produce the best Metal Powders on the market. They are more spherical and cleaner than those currently available,” explained LPW Sales Director Mike Ford.

The Plasma Spheroidisation process.

The Plasma Spheroidisation process.

Metal powders typically have irregular, angular and jagged shapes and sizes that can get caught on each other when being fed through a hose or laid down on a 3D printing bed. The spheroidisation of metal powders is a process that melts and reshapes the jagged metal particulates in-flight. It starts when the powder is sprayed into a stream of induction plasma, which immediately melts the powder in the extremely high temperatures. In their liquid state, the melted powder particles automatically take a spherical shape due to the natural phenomena of surface tension. These sphere shaped, microscopic drops of liquid metal are cooled down rapidly once they exit the plasma plume, resulting in the powder hardening into the shape of the newly condensed spheres.

The primary benefit of producing fine, metal powders with a spherical shape is a dramatic increase in the flowability of the powder material, and the perfectly round shape of the particulate allows the powder to pack itself more densely. When this powder is used on large-scale powder-based 3D printers, the resulting parts will be denser and stronger than when untreated powders are used. Additionally, when compared to conventional gas-atomised powders, the levels of surface contamination are significantly reduced. Not only does that mean that any surplus powder can be reused more often, but it will further increase the flow of powders. It will also produce 3D printed components that are more solid and have enhanced mechanical properties.

Powders that have been through the plasma spheroidisation are far more densely packed than untreated materials.

Powders that have been through the plasma spheroidisation are far more densely packed than untreated materials.

The metal powder materials produced with the Plasma Spheroidisation technology has an added benefit of making the excess material recyclable, especially after several uses on a metal 3D printer with an increased oxygen content. Previously this surplus material would need to be disposed of after only a few uses, however it can now be sent back to LPW to be converted back into usable materials. LPW will bring the returned powder to their laboratory and comprehensively test its quality, blend multiple batches and re-size the spheres if necessary. Once it has been analyzed, it can be sent into the Plasma Spheroidisation machinery again and recertified. LPW is currently seeking beta-test customers who would be willing to try the recycling powder process. What do you think about this new technology? Discuss in the LPW & Metal 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

Italy: Studying Properties & Geometry of Scaffold-Like Structures for Tissue Engineering

The State of 3D Printing in Heavy Equipment



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Volvo’s Conservation Project: 3D Printed Tiles for a Living Seawall at Sydney Harbour

Oysters, seaweed, fish, algae and many more organisms have a new home at North Sydney Harbour. At one of the world’s largest Living Seawalls in Bradfield Park, an ocean conservation...

Volvo CE Adopts 3D Printing for Spare Parts and Prototyping

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is one of the largest companies in the construction equipment industry, with more than 14,000 employees worldwide. The company’s values center around sustainability and innovation,...

Metal Additive Manufacturing Helps Renault Trucks Reduce Weight of 4-Cylinder Engine by 25% Using 3D Printed Components

In spring of 2015, 3D artist and designer Bernhard Bauer used Blender to 3D model, from scratch, and 3D print a 1:14 scale Renault delivery truck replica for one of...

Old Meets New in Latest OpenRC Tire Design from Thomas Palm

Leif Tufvesson loves cars. He spent part of his career working as a technician for Volvo’s Research and Development Department in Gothenburg, Sweden, followed by a six-year stint at the...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!