Metalysis is positioned at the intersection of two powerful fundamental trends that will reshape industrial manufacturing: powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing.
The Metalysis process has the advantage that the final product is in powder form. Advantages offered by producing metal powder directly include the ability to tailor the powder size, purity, morphology and the alloying elements. Interest in such powdered alloys has accelerated in recent years due to the development of additive layer manufacturing - 3D printing.
Metalysis has proven that its electrolytic process can also transform natural rutile sands directly into titanium metal powder in a single step, which could be even more disruptive. Rutile is a naturally occurring titanium ore present in beach sands and is a highly cost effective feed stock for metal powder production. Metalysis developed the process itself and has patented it.
Additive Layer Manufacturing – ALM = 3D Printing
Powdered metals are used in net shape manufacturing where the part produced is close to the final shape and needs little extra milling or grinding. It is being taken up first in the aerospace industry where the buy-to-fly ratio (the weight of the material used to make the component and the weight of the component made) is critical. In the case of major aircraft manufacturers, for example, the buy to fly ratio is typically 9 to 1 (10kg of titanium material is used to manufacture a 1kg component). The introduction of new additive (rather than subtractive) metal forming processes is becoming increasingly adopted as a result. The advantage Metalysis has over other companies is that it can select the feedstock to tailor the product towards a given technique, and can make a powder from an alloy or hybrid, not just titanium.
By materially reducing the cost of metal powders, in particular Ti, Metalysis may become the key enabler for metal ALM.
Another significant issue in ALM for metals is the gradual degradation of metal powders during processing as a result of the powder bed being exposed to oxygen and other contaminants. There is large potential demand for cost-effective methods of reconditioning metal powders. Metalysis’ technology is particularly suited to remove surface oxidised coatings.
Metalysis is actively engaged in co-development with major industrial users and equipment suppliers
The breakthrough, solid-state technology can create alloys that are difficult to manufacture by traditional methods.
*Source: Wohler Associates, Univ. of Nottingham (2014)