Additive Manufacturing Strategies

PyroGenesis Ramps Up Plasma Atomization System; Two New Patents Granted

ST Medical Devices

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Montreal-headquartered PyroGenesis has recently made two major announcements: one concerning the completed ramp-up phase of their first Plasma Atomization System, and another for two more patents granted to boost the company’s intellectual property portfolio.

Known for designing and manufacturing advanced plasma processes and plasma torch products, the Canadian company is now ‘open for business’ with a functioning plasma atomization reactor that will operate around the clock. PyroGenesis has added a second shift to handle what they expect to be a major increase in their commercial orders, especially as they are in the middle of discussions with other industry players.

They have signed six non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with distributors as well as 3D printer manufacturers, and also have separate NDAs in the works with multinational aircraft engine manufacturers. In their recent announcement, PyroGenesis also states that they are negotiating a distributorship in Asia that would be exclusive.

The innovative manufacturer has also just delivered five out of six new sample orders for metal powder, and ‘adjusted process’ for other powders. All of this comes with the new development of intellectual property and granted patents.

The company’s strategy as of last year was to manufacture the metal powders that they used and become a ‘credible second supplier.’ PyroGenesis took note as GE acquired Arcam, however, and saw what they considered to be a supply chain risk at that time. They also began seeing interest from GE competitors, leading to numerous NDAs and the potential for even more business. Despite their initial low-key intentions, the company now sees themselves moving forward as a major force in the metal powder supply business—and lucky for them, customers are coming to them, rather than the other way around.

PyroGenesis projects high demand in the future for their MIM cut powder:

“We believe that the growth in demand for MIM cut powders by companies such as DeskTop Metal, 3DEO, Markforged, and Digital Metal will continue to grow,” states P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis. “Additionally, we also anticipate a portion of our MIM cut powders to be sold to Metal Injection Molding companies. Our ability to produce very narrow size cuts in significant volumes, with little to no waste, will not only allow us to address an explosive demand for MIM cut, but for any particular particle range, thereby enabling metal printers to evolve unrestricted by supply constraints.”

As far as other size cuts of powder evolving, Pascali sees each moving within its own niche application. Powder such as EBM is better for creating 3D printed medical implants like hip joints while others are suitable for more industrial parts.

“Although AM has clear advantages over conventional manufacturing, we believe that it will remain a [complementary] and parallel manufacturing method to conventional manufacturing,” says Pascali. “This being said, AM is finding considerable acceptance, and adoption, across many industries. As such, we see the AM method continuing to grow at current double-digit growth rates for the foreseeable future.”

The PyroGenesis team created plasma atomization due to the need for small spherical titanium powders during a project for NATO where they created lightweight armor. In creating their new application, they were able to supply themselves with small spherical powders, while discovering later that such materials would be useful to others.

“The biomedical industry liked how our powders flowed like water and compacted tightly. The industry immediately found a use for them in the production of titanium implants (ex. titanium knee and hip replacements),” states Pascali.

Metallic Object made with PyroGenesis’ Powders

Because PyroGenesis is able to control particle size distributions, they are at a greater advantage over competitors along with being able to offer attractive pricing. The company has also just announced the grant of two US patents. This will increase their total number of patents owned to 54, both issued and pending.

The two new patents are as follows:

US Patent. No. 9,447,705 – this is meant to maximize energy recovery in waste to energy processes, relating to plasma gasification processes and conventional fossil fuel incinerators.

Block Flow Diagram from Patent No. 9,447,705

US Patent. No. 9,752,206 – in this patent, plasma torches are able to act as a replacement for fossil fuel burners, cutting down on pollution.

“We are happy to add these 2 new patents to our solid and substantial global intellectual property portfolio, which now consists of over 17 issued patents worldwide, and an additional 37 patent applications in progress,” says Pierre Carabin, Chief Technology Officer of PyroGenesis. “When combined with our know-how and significant trade secrets, we have over time created a formidable barrier to entry in the markets where we are active.”

Separately, PyroGenesis has also entered into an agreement with Crescendo Communications for marketing services, meant to increase their ‘market awareness amongst investors.’

“We are pleased to announce that we have selected Crescendo to help increase PyroGenesis’ profile within the financial community as well as enhance the visibility of our product lines,” says Pascali. “We believe Crescendo’s methodologies fit well with the Company’s strategy to increase awareness within the investment community.”

Pascali also states that he has continued to buy shares of PyroGenesis recently.

“I have been adding to my ownership of PyroGenesis over the past few months,” says Pascali. “My intention is to continue to do so, as a net buyer, over the next few months as well.”

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Please join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source / Images: PyroGenesis]

 

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