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Sandvik invests in dedicated Titanium Powder Plant for Additive Manufacturing

About 150 people participated in the grand opening of highly automated titanium powder plant setup by Sandvik in Sandviken, Sweden, last week – including customers and other key stakeholders. With this investment, Sandvik has now closed the only material gap left when it comes to metal powders for Additive Manufacturing. The inauguration ceremony ended with a rock concert in the actual titanium atomization tower, with the band Mass Diversity performing the song “Titanium” (by David Guetta), supported by Sandvik’s famous 3D-printed smash-proof guitar – in titanium, of course.

Titanium is noted for having exceptional material properties, being strong yet light and offering high levels of corrosion resistance. At the same time, it is biocompatible. However, the cost and complexity of machining from titanium billet have historically restricted its use to high value, low volume industries such as aerospace and medical.

Mikael Schuisky, VP R&D and Operations, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.
Mikael Schuisky, VP R&D and Operations, Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

“Sandvik’s launch of titanium powders for additive manufacturing supports a growing trend towards the 3D printing of titanium parts. The additive process results in far less material waste than traditional subtractive techniques, while also encouraging new levels of design freedom. This is opening up the use of titanium in other industries, such as automotive and tooling,” said Mikael Schuisky, Head of R&D and Operations at the Additive Manufacturing division in Sandvik. Among others, Kajsa Björklund, Director Technical Operations at the medtech company OssDsign, presented how they have developed revolutionary cranial implants thanks to a solution based on 3D printed titanium skeletons, offering a much better solution for patients.

Peder Arvidsson, Process Owner Round Tools, and Matts Westin, Global Product Application Manager Milling, both from Sandvik Coromant, shared some experiences from the development work of the lightweight CoroMill® 390, and demonstrated how additive manufacturing and titanium as a material have contributed to radical improvements in performance. Michele Antolotti, President, and Martina Riccio, Material and Special Process Manager, both from AM service provider BEAMIT, also shared some 3D printed titanium-cases from the motorsport and racing sector. And Zach Krapfl from GSD Global talked about printing of titanium components for e-bikes.

Governor of Gävleborg, Per Bill and Lars Bergström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions cutting the ribbon.
Governor of Gävleborg, Per Bill and Lars Bergström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions cutting the ribbon.

The official ribbon cutting was performed by Lars Bergström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions, and the Governor of Gävleborg, Per Bill. And once the ribbon was cut, the gate to the impressive titanium atomization tower was opened – and the band Mass Diversity started to play the song “Titanium” (by David Guetta) in the actual tower, supported by Sandvik’s famous 3D-printed smash-proof guitar – made in titanium, of course.

“Sandvik’s new facility is impressive – and the smash-proof guitar is great”, said Giacomo Mezzino, Head of R&D and Mechanical Engineering at Collins Aerospace. “Titanium powder is very important, especially for the aerospace industry. Customers are constantly asking for improved quality, reduced weight and costs. If I can ensure my customers that I can give them new features using additive manufacturing, we will all reach our goals.”

After the inauguration ceremony there was an extended full-day program for customers, including leading companies from e.g. aerospace, medical as well as many of the 3D printer producers. In the afternoon there were presentations and discussions about new developments in metal powder and additive manufacturing, focusing on titanium and also nickel-based superalloys – since the investment also includes a sieving tower for those.

“It was a great day with a lot of valuable customer interactions with some of the most important titanium powder users in the industry,” concluded Kristian Egeberg, President of the Additive Manufacturing division. “Now we will gradually ramp-up the titanium powder production and continue to accelerate customer collaborations and development projects in parallel.”