Australian 3D printing company Titomic (ASX: TTT) has secured an agreement with a leading titanium powder producer in the hope it will open new commercial opportunities for titanium products across multiple industry sectors.
The company today announced it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shaanxi Lasting Titanium Industry Co Ltd (Lasting Titanium), China’s largest manufacturer and exporter of titanium powder.
Under the MoU, which has commenced immediately, Lasting Titanium will use its technology to exclusively supply low-cost commercially pure titanium powders for the company’s Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) systems.
TKF is a unique metal 3D printing technology that uses both spherical and irregular morphology metal powders to manufacture industrial-scale metal products.
According to Titomic, this technology enables more diverse opportunities in the building, marine, automotive and oil and gas industries, where titanium was previously economically unviable.
The partnership is also expected to enable the cooperative development of new powders suitable for this technology.
According to Titomic managing director Jeff Lang, this latest deal is expected to “create new commercial opportunities for titanium in traditional industries in a more efficient and sustainable way for industrial-scale manufacturing”.
Lasting Titanium’s “irregular” powder has been described as a “price point alternative” to go with the company’s range of mid-end and aerospace-grade powders.
While the Chinese manufacturer’s powder is suitable for industrial-scale additive manufacturing via TKF systems, other additive manufacturing processes can’t utilise the powder, Titomic said.
Metal powders study
This agreement comes a few months after Titomic completed a six-month research and development study of globally-available metal powders to determine the most suitable ones for its TKF technology.
Partnered with Melbourne’s Swinburne University, the company tested the chemical and physical properties of 100 powder samples from 70 companies, as well as reviewed the business practices of prospective global suppliers.
According to Titomic, this was the first comprehensive industry benchmarking for additive manufacturing metal powders and the outcomes provided the company with “valuable market insights to secure a global metal powder supply chain for TKF systems”.
In October, Titomic signed a 12-month, $1.8 million exclusive agreement with TAUV Pty Ltd to manufacture the next generation of “soldier systems” using its TKF technology. The deal is for a three-phase defence program that includes body armour, helmets and “ruggedised” drones.
Upon completion, TAUV will use the TKF technology to manufacture products and pay royalties to Titomic.
Earlier this month, Titomic announced it had commenced its phase two feasibility program following TAUV’s confirmation of five defence products to be manufactured.
Once the feasibility report and the protoypes of the five products have been delivered, the third phase of the agreement will commence, which includes up to $1.5 million for production trials of the products.
Titomic is also undertaking a two-year, $2.6 million research and development project with the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre to develop industry standards for its TKF technology.
This project is intended to ensure TKF applications are fit for commercial purpose and adhere to the highest standards of aerospace and defence industries.