AMS Spring 2023

Uniformity Labs & Tekna Producing Advanced Titanium Powder for 3D Printing

Inkbit

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Engineered materials producer Uniformity Labs, which develops high-density metal powder feedstocks for advanced manufacturing applications, has signed an agreement with Canadian advanced materials provider Tekna (OSE: TEKNA). As part of this agreement, the company will supply Uniformity with Ti64 5/25 and Ti64 45/105, allowing it to produce advanced titanium powders for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology. This will not only help improve Tekna’s efficiency and output capacity, but also pave the way for Uniformity to offer its customers more sustainable, higher quality metal 3D printed parts.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Tekna for the supply of highest quality titanium powders for LPBF. This agreement opens a critical North American material resource for us,” Adam Hopkins, the Founder and CEO of Uniformity Labs, stated in a press release. “The complementary nature of our businesses produces an economic benefit for our customers who gain through higher printer throughput and repeatability, and a supply chain security benefit from the use of materials produced entirely in North America.”

A 3D printed roll cage made with Uniformity Labs powder. Image courtesy of Uniformity Labs.

Last winter, Uniformity Labs raised over $38 million in a Series B fundraiser, and the startup used those funds to continue work on its breakthrough metal 3D printing powders and patented technology, which it says can deliver faster printing of repeatable parts at higher density. Uniformity Labs says its reliable, high-quality materials help to improve throughput and efficiency, and reduce residual stress in parts printed with LPBF technology, and deliver fully dense parts with less sintering shrink in binder jetting. The startup already has one partner in titanium production, so signing this agreement with Tekna will further increase its titanium powder capabilities.

Speaking of Tekna, the company offers a unique, IP-protected plasma technology, which allows it to produce high-purity, spherical metal powders for applications, including 3D printing, in the automotive, aerospace, and medical industries, as well as nanomaterials for batteries and electronics. Its powder atomization technology uses hydro-energy, and recycles all process gasses in closed loops for greener production. With these complementary materials technologies, Uniformity Labs’ industrial customers should be able to enjoy more sustainable, high-quality 3D printed part production.

Ti64 titanium alloy spherical powder. Image courtesy of Tekna.

“We are extremely proud that Uniformity Labs has selected us to supply titanium powders. This is a testament to Tekna’s supply reliability and reaffirms that our product quality matches with a wide range of industry requirements,” said Luc Dionne, the CEO of Tekna.

At the beginning of the pandemic, according to “Additive Manufacturing with Metal Powders 2020” by SmarTech Analysis, metal AM was at a “critical junction” in the middle of the supply chain disruption. In previous years, the market was having some ups and downs, but with all the supply issues resulting from COVID-19 wreaking havoc around the world, the “value proposition of additive manufacturing” was quickly proved “in a very real way.” But can this be maintained?

“For many metal AM stakeholders, the challenge at hand is significant, meaning that these next several quarters and years may be the difference between life and death for the crowded metal additive market,” the report states.

If it’s really a matter of life and death for many to stay afloat in the metal AM market, then well-established companies partnering together, like Tekna and Uniformity Labs are doing, is of vital importance. This collaboration will allow Tekna, according to the press release, to “optimize the use of its production yield” of titanium, which will then be processed by Uniformity Labs in order to produce advanced powder for LPBF 3D printing. So both should benefit from this new supply agreement.

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