For the first time, low-cost titanium powders, developed by Metalysis, have been used to 3D print automotive parts.
To date, the 3D printing revolution has focused on the use of plastics. Until now 3D printing with metal has been prohibitively expensive because of the cost of titanium powders which currently sell for $200-$400 per kilogram.
Metalysis, a metals manufacturer based in Rotherham in UK, near Sheffield, has developed a new way of producing low-cost titanium powder for 3D printing and will see greater use of titanium in components across the automotive, aerospace and defence industries.
The existing titanium production methods involves taking the metal sponge produced by the Kroll process, which is then processed into ingot billets, melted into bar form and finally atomised into powder. It is a costly and labour-intensive process and produces only small quantities of titanium.
Metalysis takes rutile and transforms it directly into powdered titanium using electrolysis. The Metalysis process has the advantage that the final product is in powder form. Advantages 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 3D printing. Learn more about this here.