Canadian plasma-atomized spherical powder producer AP&C didn’t miss a beat after the September announcement that its parent Arcam AB was being acquired by GE. Ground-breaking for a new plant expansion went ahead in October.

Advanced Powders and Coatings, Inc. (AP&C), Boisbriand, QC, Canada, a subsidiary of Arcam AB of Sweden, already a leading supplier of high-quality fine spherical powders for additive manufacturing (AM), is moving rapidly ahead to expand capacity. Following an encounter at the AP&C exhibition booth during the POWDERMET2016 conference in Boston, the opportunity was taken to visit the company and meet its senior officers.

AP&C's plant and offices are located in Boisbriand, Quebec, just north of Montreal (Fig. 1). The author sat down with Drs Alain Dupont, President & CEO, and Frederic Larouche, Chief Operating Officer (Fig. 2), a few days after the announcement by General Electric (GE) that it would be acquiring AP&C's parent company Arcam AB as well as SLM Solutions of Germany, another company in the AM sector. (GE's attempt to acquire SLM Solutions fell through shortly afterwards and was replaced by an agreement to acquire a 75% stake in rival Concept Laser GmbH.)

As Dupont explained, AP&C was created in 2004 as part of Raymor Technologies, which at that time was operating in two technology areas: nanotubes and plasma atomization of metal powders. In 2014 AP&C was acquired by Arcam AB, a manufacturer of AM equipment, in order to provide Arcam's customers with an assured supply of high-grade spherical powders and to advance powder technologies for the AM market in general. From then, its growth began to accelerate so that by the beginning of 2016 AP&C had fifty employees and is now over 100. Additionally, AP&C began the year with three reactors in production and will end 2016 with eight reactors, almost tripling capacity due to market demand. To further address demand, a new plant in nearby Saint-Eustache, Quebec, will double AP&C's production capacity and is due to be completed by the end of Q3 2017 for an investment of C$ 33 million provided by Arcam and grants from the Quebec government. AP&C is principally involved in the production of plasma atomized spherical titanium alloy powders for AM. About 98% of sales are as Ti-6Al-4V (Ti-6-4) fine powders, the balance being nickel-base super-alloys. Applications are roughly equally divided between aerospace and bio-medical (orthopedic) devices.

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of Metal Powder Report.

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