Sep 12, 2017 | By Benedict

Australian 3D printing company Titomic is commercializing “Titomic Kinetic Fusion,” a CSIRO-patented additive manufacturing process for titanium alloys. Based on traditional cold spray technologies, the new 3D printing process can print on a 9 x 3 x 1.5 meter scale.

Cold spray technology is not uncommon in the manufacturing world, as it is frequently used as a way to coat or repair parts. But for Melbourne-based Titomic, the principles behind cold spray lend themselves well to an even more exciting process: additive manufacturing.

Jointly developed by CSIRO and Force Industries, Titomic’s new metal 3D printing process takes cold spray technology, but uses it to 3D print parts from titanium alloys. And with Titomic set to launch on the Australian Securities Exchange later this month, the Titomic Kinetic Fusion process could be highly interesting to potential investors.

“This has been used as a coating technology but we are turning it into an additive manufacturing process, so instead of just coating a surface we actually build a part,” Titomic CEO and CTO Jeffrey Lang told The Australian.

The process involves spraying titanium powder in a chamber, where gas is heated up that accelerates the titanium particles through a nozzle and out of a spray gun. That spray gun is controlled by a robotic arm to spray in precise patterns, and when particles “hit” each other on the surface, they become bonded at a mechanical level through a process of plastic deformation.

And Titomic Kinetic Fusion isn’t just different in the way it fabricates metal parts—it’s also printing those parts on an uncommonly large scale.

“The facility we are building at the moment [in Tonsley, South Australia] will have a metal 3D printer that’s nine meters by three meters by 1.5 meters,” Lang said. “So we are talking about additive manufacturing [on] a scale that no one can comprehend at this stage.”

The Titomic website goes further, saying that this 3D printer will be “the largest additive manufacturing machine in the world.” That’s a claim for Guinness to work on, but the machine will certainly be jostling with the existing biggest 3D printers in the world and whatever new mega-machines are being developed right now.

In addition to its size, the Australian company’s 3D printing process also operates with phenomenal speed: Lang says Titomic’s 3D printers can deposit around 45 kilograms of material per hour, making them 10-100 times faster than the fastest 3D printers on the market today. Furthermore, these quickly printed objects are said to be approximately 34 per cent stronger than stock titanium.

And rounding off a quartet of desirable properties is Kinetic Fusion’s cost-efficiency.

“We can make parts cheaper,” Lang said. “That opens up an opportunity for the auto industry to use ­titanium more cheaply, and it also opens up the opportunity for us to export high-quality components globally.”

All this and more could potential entice buyers to invest in the Australian company, with Titomic due to make its ASX debut on September 21 at a value of AU$22 million ($17.7M). It has currently raised AU$6.5m ($5.2M) from investors.

Interestingly, Lang thinks his company’s additive manufacturing expertise could even help Australia reclaim some lost ground in terms of its battle with Russia’s titanium industry.

“We have lots of mineral sands that hold titanium but the ­titanium industry is controlled by the Russians,” Lang said. “By using Australian resources, we become more cost-competitive and we can become a global hub of additive technology.”

With this status as a global hub, Lang thinks his company can attack many markets, spreading its net far and wide.

“The potential for this technology is extensive, with a broad range of different manufacturing and construction industries which could benefit from our technology,” Lang said earlier this year. “For example, we see application in areas as diverse as oil and gas, mining, aerospace, marine, automotive, medical, sporting, and military businesses.”

That’s a broad target market, but if Titomic can eventually do what it claims it can, there’s no reason why businesses of all colors wouldn’t try their hand at Kinetic Fusion 3D printing.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/13/2017 8:13:30 AM:

Pretty cool, hope this sticks :)

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