IperionX Inks 10-Year Deal with Wisconsin Manufacturer for 80 Metric Tons of Titanium Per Year

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IperionX, the Charlotte-based supplier of sustainable titanium powders used for additive manufacturing (AM) and metal injection molding (MIM), has signed a ten-year deal with United Stars, a group of industrial components manufacturers based in Wisconsin. United Stars, which serves a diverse range of giants in heavy industry including Lockheed Martin, John Deere, and GM, expects to purchase up to 80 metric tons (~176,000 pounds) annually of titanium powder.

According to IperionX, United Stars will use its titanium powder primarily for advanced manufacturing applications in sectors like defense and energy, namely “vehicle drivetrains, robotic motors, and wind turbines,” with objectives like lightweighting and corrosion-resistance being top priority. Additionally, IperionX’s focus on building a domestic, circular supply chain for titanium products was a major selling point for United Stars.

In a press release about the deal, IperionX CEO Anastasio (Taso) Arima said, “United Stars, a leading American supplier of precision gears, shafts, and complex assemblies, is a strong commercial partner to manufacture advanced titanium components for their global customers across the automotive, defense, oil & gas, construction, mining, locomotive, and agriculture sectors. United Stars are aligned with our mission to rebuild an integrated ‘end-to-end’ US titanium supply chain and strengthen America’s manufacturing independence.”

United Stars Chairman and CEO Roger West said, “Titanium is a superior metal for a majority of use cases and ever since the US became 100% import reliant on titanium metal sponge from foreign sources in 2020 I have been looking for a US company with the ability to economically and securely re-shore an integrated supply chain for titanium. This relationship will prove incredibly valuable for my portfolio of companies and I’m also proud to play a role in supporting the interests of US national security. Taso Arima’s vision to re-shore the US titanium supply chain, combined with the team that he has assembled, makes IperionX an organization that I am pleased to partner with.”

“Integration” is indeed the key to IperionX’s business model, with the company making an aggressive push to get its Titan Critical Minerals Project in west Tennessee off the ground, an operation that the company had received all permits for by August, 2023. The company was busy on all fronts throughout last year, announcing deals with big clients like GKN Aerospace, Ford, and Lockheed, while also announcing plans to open a large titanium recycling plant in Virginia.

On top of all that, IperionX also received a materials testing contract from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC). The latest press release’s mention of vehicle drivetrains and defense in the same breath suggests that the DEVCOM contract may be moving into the next phase.

If that’s the case, the US Army could start displaying the same accelerated focus on advanced manufacturing that the US Navy has been demonstrating over the last couple of years. This would suggest that the private sector has heeded the call made by the US Army Research Laboratory’s Eric Wetzel in August 2023: “We are looking for more use cases. We are looking for manufacturing partners.” If so, the confluence of Detroit automakers, Midwestern contract manufacturing, and US-sourced titanium is a powerful alignment of forces in the US Army’s industrial arsenal.

Images courtesy of IperionX

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