Titanium has a number of benefits when compared to other metals. For example, it is approximately twice as strong as aluminum, and equally strong as steel — yet 45 per cent lighter. It’s also naturally resistant to corrosion, as it develops a thin oxide layer when exposed to oxygen. This protective layer also contributes to making titanium the most biocompatible metal, along with it being bioinert (Figure 1).

These valuable advantages make titanium a beneficial material in a number of sectors. However, the cost and complexity of machining from titanium billet have historically restricted its use in high value, low volume industries such as aerospace and medical.

Fortunately, this issue can be overcome when titanium is made into a fine powder that can be used in AM to produce bespoke designs at speed, often in complex shapes no other manufacturing technology can deliver. The precise placement of the metal powder, along with the ability to reuse any excess material in a new build, create the possibility for a high-performance, optimized structure, leaving virtually no waste. This fits well with lean manufacturing principles, and boasts strong sustainability benefits.

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