In its second announcement from the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow, UK, July 16-22, 2018, GE Additive stated that its materials division, AP&C, Montreal, Canada, has acquired the gas atomiser equipment currently installed at GE Aviation business Avio Aero’s plant in Cameri, Italy. This technology is said to be complementary to AP&C’s proprietary Advanced Plasma Atomisation (APATM) process.
As the AM industry continues to experience dramatic growth, so does the demand for powder and materials – with titanium and nickel-based alloys for the aerospace industry especially in demand. In anticipation of further increasing demand over the coming years and following a strategic business review, the gas atomiser technology installed in 2014 at Avio Aero’s Cameri facility, at which point it was intended for the in-house production of powders of special metal alloys such as Titanium Aluminide (TiAl), is being transferred to AP&C’s facility in Montreal.
The move is intended to better position the Additive Manufacturing technologies available within the GE family, allowing both companies to better focus on their respective businesses – AP&C on materials and powder production and Avio Aero on additively manufacturing aero engine components, using Arcam’s EBM technology and powders developed by AP&C.
The equipment is expected to be operational by March 2019. As a result, AP&C will become a preferred supplier of TiAl for GE Aviation, as well as extending its technology portfolio and ability to offer a wider range of possibilities to its customers through an extended choice of powder processes. Gas atomisation technology is said to be particularly well-suited to powder recycling for those customers seeking sustainable solutions.
“Without ongoing materials science research and innovation, additive will struggle to advance. So, while this relocation makes sense commercially, it is also a key element of our future materials development strategy. Having this complementary technology in the AP&C portfolio opens up wider possibilities for us as a business and also for our customers, who continue to want to push boundaries,” stated Alain Dupont, President & CEO, AP&C.
Giacomo Vessia, Cameri plant leader, Avio Aero, commented, “The equipment moving to Canada means more volume and capabilities at our Cameri plant. And of course more 3D printing machines. In addition to focusing on additive processes, we will also have the time and more space to train and equip our existing and new team members with future manufacturing skills.”