5N Plus Inc., Montreal, Québec, Canada, a producer of speciality chemicals and engineered materials, has entered the Additive Manufacturing market as a supplier of high-performance engineered powders, beginning with the launch of a broad portfolio of metal powder products.
The company began its engineered powder activities in 2014 and has continued to invest in process technologies. As a new entrant to the market, 5N Plus elected to initially focus on the technologically challenging and smaller markets within micro-electronics and semiconductor applications.
This allowed the company to acquire the necessary experience and the invaluable learning required, before further expanding. Over the past three years, it has invested in enlarging its product portfolio of high-performance spherical powders with low oxygen content and uniform size distributions, and has recently secured a number of programmes within handheld electronic device platforms with marquee customers.
The core competencies developed over these years are now being deployed to substantially enlarge 5N Plus’ addressable market and expand into the rapidly growing Additive Manufacturing market. The company’s aim is to be a leading engineered powder supplier to the AM Industry, a goal which it reportedly intends to realise through both organic and external actions.
The company’s new portfolio of engineered powders is produced using proprietary process technologies based on copper and copper-based alloys targeting Additive Manufacturing applications. These engineered materials are said to offer optimised morphology, controlled oxygen content, ultra-high purity, surface oxide thickness uniformity and controlled particle size distribution to deliver optimal performance.
5N Plus is also using external means to gain access to additional high-performance engineered powders, specifically in areas not covered by its organic product portfolio. Between the company’s internal developments and products currently under acquisition, 5N Plus’ portfolio of engineered powders is expected to span two dozen different metal alloy compositions, with melting points ranging from 60°C to well over 2600°C.
An area of particular focus at 5N Plus is Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing technology. The company reports that it has been co-developing engineered powders with leading Canadian stakeholders in this area. It is currently collaborating with McGill University researchers to engineer and test powders based on copper alloys.
When used as cost-effective anti-viral coatings on high-touch, small and large surfaces, these materials, are expected to significantly reduce the rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. In addition, 5N Plus is said to be collaborating with key industrial partners to develop tailor-made, cost-effective solutions based on the Cold Spray application of copper alloys to provide sustainable and safe isolation of nuclear waste over prolonged periods.