Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd (GAM), a producer of tantalum products, has commissioned a Tekna TEKSPHERO plasma spheroidisation system for installation at its facility in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, USA. The equipment is part of a new process development facility for the manufacture of spherical tantalum and other refractory metal powders for Additive Manufacturing and Metal Injection Moulding.
The TEKSPHERO equipment produces spherical powders from a variety of tantalum feed materials. Particle sizes range from 10–100 µm, in narrow or broad particle size distributions. Standard oxygen content is in the range of 600–1000 ppm, but low oxygen (< 250 ppm) powders remain an option.
Andrew O’Donovan, Chief Executive Officer, Global Advanced Metals, stated, “Our new process development facility enables us to create spherical tantalum powders that can be used for the 3D printing of prototypes and commercial parts. The ability to rapidly prototype and produce complex tantalum parts via AM offers designers new materials choices for applications in military, aerospace, medical and other demanding industries.”
GAM is said to be the world’s only fully integrated tantalum supplier and has exclusive rights to the world’s largest industrial resources of tantalum ore, located in Western Australia. The company produces tantalum powders and other metallurgical products at its Pennsylvania, USA, and Aizu, Japan, plants for a range of industries.
The company stated that it has developed relationships with experts in the field of laser and electron beam Additive Manufacturing to create prototype and commercial parts using spherical tantalum powders, and that it has been able to demonstrate the successful AM of tantalum parts with unique physical properties and complex geometries, including open cellular structures.