The powders are characterized by the absolutely perfect spherical shape of their particles.
The powders are characterized by the absolutely perfect spherical shape of their particles.

H.C. Starck, a leading producer of metal and ceramic powders and components, has acquired a minority stake in Sweden-based start-up Metasphere Technology. The company has developed a proprietary technology for the production of spherical metal powders, a material reportedly in high demand in growth industries such as additive manufacturing (AM).

H.C. Starck and Metasphere Technology plan to build a new production line for spherical metal powders in Lulea (Sweden). The agreement secures H.C. Starck exclusive sales rights of the materials produced while the company will also provide customer application technology support. The continued expansion of production capacity is planned as the market develops. Both partners have agreed not to disclose further details of the agreement.

H.C. Starck already produces special atomized metal powders for the AM market and wants to expand its business activities there long term. ‘With our many years of experience in the processing of technology metals and technical ceramics, we see great growth potential for our company in AM,’ said Andreas Meier, CEO of the H.C. Starck Group. ‘Metasphere Technology is known in the market for its proven capacity to innovate and therefore is the right technology partner for us. Thanks to our cooperation, our two companies will not only grow in the AM market but will even provide the industry itself with impetus for growth.’

 ‘[H.C. Starck] has wide-ranging material expertise and long experience in the field of developing novel alloys that we can now produce in spherical shape using our unique process,’ said Metasphere Technology CEO Jan Wicén. ‘The process can restructure all electrical conducting materials on a nano level and spheriodise materials to perfect spheres in a wide range of sizes. Our ‘meta-stable’ compositions will pave the way for high precision alloys and materials in spherical form for breakthroughs in many industrial areas. With H.C. Starck on board we have got a solid validation in the international market as well as secured our long-term supply of powder raw materials for our production.’

Nano restructuring

With Metasphere’ production technology, a wide variety of metals and other electrically conductive materials can be processed into spherical powders. By restructuring of the material on a nano level, they can be precisely adjusted to customer-specific requirements relating to material characteristics like particle size and distribution. The powders are characterized by the absolutely perfect spherical shape of their particles and their homogenous structure through the entire powder. This gives them unique physical-mechanical characteristics that could not or only scarcely be achieved with previously known technologies. ‘Among other things, spherical powders have extremely high flowability, which is a key precondition for the production of high-quality components using additive manufacturing,’ Meier said. 

This story is reprinted from material from H.C. Starck, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.