Canada-based Equispheres Inc has successfully commissioned a proprietary atomization reactor to produce metal powders for additive manufacturing (AM) and metal spray applications.

The company will begin marketing spherical metal powders for aerospace and defence applications in early 2016. Additionally, Equispheres has filed a patent application pertaining to its proprietary atomization technology.

Typical metal powders are produced primarily via two fluid gas atomization processes. However, the resultant powders can be hard to use in applications, such as AM and metal spray, in that the powders are irregularly shaped, have a wide size distribution, are not fully dense, and contain agglomerate particles, the company says. As a result of the aforementioned, a variety of defects can occur.

Equispheres' atomization technology is reportedly better at producing free-flowing, uniform, monograin, agglomerate-free spherical metal powders, which can bring improved control and performance efficiencies. The Company's metal powders have a narrow particle size distribution, improved  sphericity and flowability, and consistent microstructure as produced, without sieving or classification.

Scale-up production

‘Today marks a major milestone for Equispheres and our shareholders,’ said Equispheres president and CEO, Kevin Nicholds. ‘With the successful commissioning of our first commercial atomization reactor, we have demonstrated our technology can successfully produce metal powders with superior performance characteristics compared to powders currently available in the marketplace. Once the commissioning of the reactor is finalized, we will scale-up production capacity and convey materials to our aerospace industry partners for further testing and validation.’

Equispheres intends to be producing metal powders in commercial quantities by the end of the first quarter 2016.

This story uses material from Equispheres Incwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.