If you have been around the 3D printing industry much then you probably already know about Direct Metal Deposition (DMD) technology. This process melts wire and then directly deposits the metal to a substrate, building up a layered component that has little need for machining. Compared with the traditional milling methods, this method saves material, makes production more flexible, reduces costs, and reduces the environmental impact of titanium and other metal production. Norway-based Norsk Titanium AS (NTi) manufactures titanium components for industries, and the company’s proprietary technology is a leader in the DMD space.
Direct Metal Deposition (DMD), transforms titanium wire into components that are up to 70 – 80 % complete. From CAD drawings to finished titanium components, this patented 3D printing process can reduce manufacturing time by 90% while reducing costs by as much as 70%. These qualities make it an attractive investment opportunity, as well. In fact, on July 17, 2015 global titanium supplier, RTI International Metals, Inc., announced that it has become a strategic investor and minority partner in NTi, investing an undisclosed amount for “strategic cooperation projects.”
While NTi has made its name with its DMD technology, Pittsburgh, PA’s RTI International Metals, Inc. supplies the aerospace, energy, defense, and medical device industries with advanced titanium and specialty metal products and services. Headquartered in Pittsburgh with offices in Europe, Asia, and Canada, RTI has been operating for more than 60 years, delivering a full range of metal and titanium services and products that include extruded shapes, engineered and machined components, and 3D printed parts using a “downstream” integrated supply chain.
Dawne Hickton, the Vice Chair, President and CEO of RTI, summarizes the potential in this partnership that combines NTi’s technology with RTI’s global supply networks:
“RTI is pleased to be a strategic industrial investor in NTi. Its DMD technology, a form of additive manufacturing or 3D printing, is a game-changer…Combining NTi’s innovative technology with RTI’s upstream raw materials and downstream fabrication capabilities has significant applications in the titanium closed-die forging market, with commercialization opportunities within the next 12 months.”
This investment also comes at a critical moment. NTi has achieved technology readiness level six (TRL6), which demonstrates its ability to meet aerospace and defense material requirements. Now with RTI’s help, NTi can possibly achieve its goal of technology readiness level eight (TRL8) by the fourth quarter of this year.
Vice Chairman of NTi’s Board of Directors Christopher E. Kubasik explains this goal further:
“NTi has entered into an incredibly exciting time as we gain this strategically important investment. We anticipate further initiatives in the near-term which will position NTi as the unquestionable global leader in advanced industrial applications for titanium components serving the fast-growing needs of such industries as aerospace & defense (A&D), oil & gas, and marine.”
DMD technology has already revolutionized the production of titanium components, and this partnership between NTi and RTI further solidifies both companies’ key positioning in the aerospace and defense industries. Oil and gas, marine, and medical device industries also stand to benefit from this turn of investment events. We will certainly be seeing more from both companies as Norsk Titanium’s DMD production process gets a major enhancement from RTI International.