GKN Taps IperionX for Recycled Titanium 3D Printing

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IperionX Limited, an emerging force in additive manufacturing (AM), has teamed up with legacy manufacturer GKN Aerospace to revolutionize the way titanium is used in the aerospace, space, and military sectors. 

The key to their latest collaboration lies in the remarkable advancements made by IperionX in titanium manufacturing technology. IperionX has successfully developed 100% recycled titanium powder using scrap titanium feedstocks provided by GKN Aerospace. Thanks to the firm’s patented Hydrogen Sintering and Phase Transformation (HSPT) technology, IperionX will be able to produce titanium plates and other components for GKN with strength and stress limits on par with traditionally forged titanium alloys. The collaboration between IperionX and GKN is not just a business agreement but a culmination of successful testing and validation of IperionX’s 100% recycled titanium powder. 

 

Titanium parts 3D printed with IperionX powder. Image courtesy of IperionX.

One of the standout aspects of this collaboration is its contribution to establishing a sustainable U.S. titanium supply chain. While the United States imports over 95% of the titanium required for its advanced manufacturing, IperionX seeks to bring titanium and other metal production back to the United States. Re-establishing domestic manufacturing capability will both strengthen the supply chain while providing lower-cost, eco-friendly titanium products. Furthermore, IperionX’s HSPT technology is able to produce titanium  with zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions at significantly lower energy costs than the traditional ‘Kroll Process,’ which has remained largely unchanged since the 1940s.

GKN’s new facility in Malaysia centered on the use of AM in engine part repair. (Image courtesy of GKN Aerospace)

Coming on the heels of the announcement in May that IperionX plans to open the world’s largest recycled titanium powder producing facility, it seems undeniable that the firm will play a large role in the future of American titanium manufacturing. Coupled with GKN Aerospace’s recently constructed facilities in Europe and Asia, American-made titanium will be making a global impact in various projects, from spaceflight to military applications. While IperionX is comparatively new, founded in 2017 at Hyperion Metals, GKN’s origins trace back to the year 1759 and has continuously played a role in AM since the technology emerged, most recently acquiring a 12-laser metal 3D printer from Nikon SLM Solutions.

Taso Arima, CEO of IperionX, sums it up perfectly, saying, “GKN Aerospace is a leader in sustainability and the precision manufacturing of titanium components for the aerospace, space, and military markets. We are very proud to be working with GKN Aerospace to commercialize our market-leading high-performance and sustainable titanium products.”

The weight of this partnership is underscored by GKN Aerospace’s role as a ‘Tier-1’ aerospace supplier, serving over 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers and involved in major aerospace projects like the Airbus A320/A330 and Boeing B777/B787. The scope of the collaboration could even broaden to include projects linked to the U.S. Department of Defense, adding another layer of significance to this alliance.

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