Liberty House Group, parent company of Liberty Powder Metals, Sheffield, UK, has begun construction of a powder metals development facility in Teesside, UK, which it hopes will enable the group to expand its reach in specialist metals and materials for Additive Manufacturing.
The new powder metals facility will be based at the Materials Processing Institute in South Bank, Middlesbrough, UK, and an initial £10 million is also being invested to establish the Liberty Powder Metals business in this location. This investment will include a state-of-the-art vacuum induction inert gas atomiser (VIGA), which Liberty Powder Metals secured funding for from the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet, UK, in October 2018. There are also plans to install a range of sieving, blending, packaging and analytical equipment at the facility.
The atomiser is expected to enable the group to develop a new generation of powdered steels with the aim to overcome the barriers conventionally faced by metal Additive Manufacturing, and enhance its position in the supply chain for precision steel components used in rapidly-changing and advanced sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy and specialist industrial equipment.
Dr Simon Pike, General Manager of Liberty Powder Metals, stated, “We are grateful to our partners for the work they have done to reach this stage. Finance from Tees Valley Combined Authority has been critical in making the project a reality and I look forward to continuing all our partnerships to make Teesside a global-leading centre of expertise for powder metal production.”
“We are glad to see construction now starting,” commented Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer for the Materials Processing Institute. “Advanced materials development is a core area of research at the institute and this investment by Liberty Powder Metals is an example of the benefits of partnerships and collaborations between industry and the Institute.”
Tom Sellers, Commercial and Business Development Manager for Liberty Powder Metals, reported, “We are excited about the progress to date and I am looking forward to bringing our products to market and developing our customer base along with the strength of the Liberty brand.
Atomising Systems Ltd. (ASL) and Consarc Engineering designed the equipment for the powder metals facility, while K-Home International is managing the installation at the Materials Processing Institute. Commissioning is expected to take place from December 2019, with the aim of producing powders for sale from March 2020.