Sandvik Osprey has signalled a major expansion of gas atomised powder production capacity with the commissioning of a new atomising facility in Neath, UK. According to the company, the expansion is prompted by strong demand for its premium metal powders from the well-established Metal Injection Moulding and rapidly growing metal Additive Manufacturing industries. News of this latest expansion follows a considerable capacity expansion in late 2012.
Sandvik Osprey has been atomising metals for more than forty years and has twenty-five years’ experience producing fine gas atomised powders, typically of less than 30 microns, for the global MIM industry. Over that time, it has invested continually in new capacity and has extended its range of powders to cover many thousands of alloys, including a comprehensive selection of pre-alloyed stainless steels, master alloys, low-alloy steels, tool steels, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt alloys, copper alloys and specialist alloys, including soft magnetic alloys and controlled expansion alloys.
The company states that its extensive powder offering serves diverse market sectors including consumer, hand tools and medical devices, aerospace components and automotive turbochargers; fast growing sectors whose demand for high quantities of metal powder necessitate Sandvik’s continued growth. Expansion at the company’s Red Jacket Works, Neath, will include a new fine powder atomiser – providing a substantial increase in production capacity and a commensurate increase in powder processing capability – with additional sieving and air classification equipment, as well as new blending facilities offering homogeneous batch sizes of up to 6000 kg.
Sandvik Osprey’s powder production equipment has been designed using the latest atomisation modelling and simulation techniques to produce powders which are also optimised for metal Additive Manufacturing. Here the company is focused on key markets including maraging tool steel for conformal mould cooling, stainless and low-alloy steels for structural parts and nickel-based alloys for high temperature applications. Aluminium alloys are a new addition to Sandvik’s portfolio, aimed at satisfying the specific demands of the Additive Manufacturing market.
Recent growth in dental market applications, including custom-fit crowns and bridges, has also prompted investment in a purpose-built facility for cobalt powder processing equipped with sieving, air classification blending and automated packing facilities. New rounds of expansion are planned over the coming years to further increase capacity and capability.