Liberty Powder Metals, Sheffield, UK, a subsidiary of Liberty House Group, has secured £4.6 million in funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet, UK, to support its acquisition of a vacuum atomisation system for the development and manufacturing of speciality alloy metal powders for use in industries such as metal Additive Manufacturing. The overall cost of the scheme is £9.83 million, with almost £4 million having been invested by Liberty and the CASCADE project.
The project will be based at the Materials Processing Institute in South Bank, Middlesbrough, UK, a not-for-profit research and innovation centre which supports industry to develop new materials, processes and technologies. As there are currently said to be only two such atomisers in the UK, the system will be set up on an open access basis to enable collaborative research programmes.
Jon Bolton, Chief Executive of Liberty Steel UK, commented, “As a group, we are committed to revitalising the metals and engineering industry through innovation and we’re very proud to partner with the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Materials Processing Institute to take forward a game-changing technology that will build a bright new future for these sectors in the UK and worldwide.”
Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of Materials Processing Institute, added, “The Institute can bring a high level of scientific expertise to this project with our capabilities in advanced materials and we are delighted to support Liberty in the next phase of its powder metals project, which is essential for the continued development and refinement of Additive Manufacturing processes.”
In 2017, Liberty Speciality Steels (then Tata) reported that it had identified metal powder production as a key strategic future product range in the sectors of oil & gas, automotive, and aerospace, a view upheld by the new leadership team. Under CASCADE, the company plans to establish a medium-term development programme to construct a large-scale atomising facility with annual production capacity of 400 tonnes per year, with a planned increase to 1200 tonnes annually.