LPW Technology Ltd, Widnes, Cheshire, UK, has officially launched its new facility for the production of ‘ultra-clean’ metal powders for Additive Manufacturing and powder traceability solutions for the metal AM industry. Metal AM magazine’s Emily-Jo Hopson and Bernard Williams visited the facility for its opening ceremony, which was attended by LPW’s employees and a number of business leaders from the global Additive Manufacturing industry, as well as HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester, who concluded the event with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.
The new 90,000 ft² (9,700 m²) facility is the result of a £20 million investment and occupies a seven-acre site in Widnes, providing room for further expansion. LPW states that its vision is to ‘Understand Additive Manufacturing from the perspective of the metal powder,’ and this new plant is said to be the first metal powder production facility in the world dedicated entirely to the production of powders for AM. It houses a variety of atomisers which will be used to produce fine grade metal powder for critical applications in the aerospace, automotive and biomedical industries.
Across the facility, quality control is ensured through complete digital integration of processes and a focus on contamination control. In addition to manufacturing AM specific metal powder, LPW houses material testing equipment designed to fully characterise metal powders and AM systems to develop the next generation of materials for AM. The company is said to have developed its unique portfolio of atomisation processes, range of AM metal powders and software, PowderSolve, to increase material yield and ultimately reduce risk throughout the AM process.
The factory has been designed to engineer out contamination, with separate cells, protected by air-locks and operating as clean rooms, enabling clear segregation of materials. The facility is fully equipped with LPW’s PowderLife, metal powder lifecycle tracking system, to ensure that from raw material to customer site the material is strictly controlled.
Dr Phil Carroll, CEO and founder of LPW Technology, stated during the opening, “As LPW moves confidently into this next stage of our growth plan, we place immense value on our exceptional employees who are making this possible. I’m extremely grateful for the support received from Halton Borough Council and the UK government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI). To be part of a UK-based manufacturer helping to realise the potential of 3D printing in applications across the world makes me incredibly proud.”