24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

LPW Technology Begins Using Plasma Spheroidisation Process for Advanced Metal Powders

by • February 3, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_PlasmaSpheroidisation_lpw_logoMetal powder materials and innovation developer LPW Technology is revealing that their new Plasma Spheroidisation equipment is fully operational and it is now producing their new, high-high end metal powder materials. They have may already generated tantalum, tungsten, and titanium alloy powders, that include Ti-6Al-4V, via the new Plasma Spheroidisation system. They are in addition already developing several refractory metals like molybdenum, niobium and other nickel-based superalloys that can have uses in the aerospace industry and for the production of high end, high-temperature engines.

The system of Plasma Spheroidisation involves applying high energy plasma to metal materials, that can turn it into uniformly spherical metal powders that outcome in denser parts and contribute greater powder flowability. Not just can this provide users with simpler application of the powder material, but it can reduce jams and clogs that can slow down the producing system, turn it into imperfect or flawed objects and cause costly 3D printing device downtime. LPW is already the just company to use Plasma Spheroidisation equipment for applications in the additive producing industry.

Microview of spherical metal powder particles.

Microview of spherical metal powder particles.

“We are hugely excited to have this future generation equipment on site for the benefit of our customers. LPW are constantly reacting to solve our customer’s problems and ensure that we have the right solution to store them on track. Our Plasma Spheroidisation can turn it into the most Metal Powders on the market. They are additional spherical and cleaner than those already available,” explained LPW Sales Director Mike Ford.

The Plasma Spheroidisation system.

The Plasma Spheroidisation system.

Metal powders typically have irregular, angular and jagged shapes and sizes that can get caught on every other when being fed through a hose or laid down on a 3D printing bed. The spheroidisation of metal powders is a system that melts and reshapes the jagged metal particulates in-flight. It starts when the powder is sprayed into a stream of induction plasma, that immediately melts the powder in the incredibly high temperatures. In their liquid say, the melted powder particles instantly take a spherical shape due to the effortless phenomena of surface tension. These sphere shaped, microscopic drops of liquid metal are cooled down quickly once they exit the plasma plume, outcomeing in the powder hardening into the shape of the newly condensed spheres.

The major benefit of producing satisfactory, metal powders with a spherical shape is a dramatic increase in the flowability of the powder material, and the perfectly round shape of the particulate allows for the powder to pack itself additional densely. When this powder is utilized on large-scale powder-based 3D printing devices, the outcomeing parts can be denser and stronger than when untreated powders are utilized. Additionally, when compared to conventional gas-atomised powders, the levels of surface contamination are significantly reduced. Not just does that mean that any surplus powder can be reutilized additional frequently, but it can additional increase the flow of powders. It can in addition turn it into 3D printed components that are additional solid and have enhanced mechanical properties.

Powders that have been through the plasma spheroidisation are far additional densely packed than untreated materials.

Powders that have been through the plasma spheroidisation are far additional densely packed than untreated materials.

The metal powder materials generated with the Plasma Spheroidisation innovation has an introduced benefit of producing the excess material recyclable, especially after several uses on a metal 3D printing device with an increased oxygen content. Previously this surplus material may require to be disposed of after just a few uses, yet it can now be sent back to LPW to be converted back into usable materials. LPW can bring the returned powder to their laboratory and comprehensively test its high end, blend multiple batches and re-size the spheres if necessary. Once it has been analyzed, it can be sent into the Plasma Spheroidisation machinery again and recertified. LPW is already seeking beta-test customers who may be caning to try the recycling powder system. What do you ponder of this new innovation? Discuss in the LPW & Metal 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.