SMS Group, Düsseldorf, Germany, reports that it is to supply global stainless steels manufacturer, Outokumpu, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with an atomisation plant through a new subscription contract. The atomisation facility will be used for the production of high-quality stainless steel powder used in Additive Manufacturing.
SMS Group states that this is the first ever facility the group will have supplied under a subscription contract with the agreement reportedly being new territory for both companies. It is hoped it will lead to long-term cooperation between the companies.
According to the SMS Group, the subscription contract is a business model under which the group will remain the owner of the powder atomisation plant, while Outokumpu will be the operator of the plant. Outokumpu will pay SMS Group pro rata of the quantity of stainless steel powder produced.
The powder atomisation plant will include an induction melter, atomiser, two cyclones and filter elements, and will be designed for the complete process to take place in an inert atmosphere. This enables temperature measurements, sample taking and material feeding to be performed without causing any atmospheric variations.
The atomisation plant is scheduled to become operational in early 2022, and will be designed for an annual production of up to 330 tons of stainless steel powder.
“Right from the beginning the whole project has been sailing under the flag of partnership,” stated Tobias Brune, SMS Group Head of Additive Manufacturing & Powder Metallurgy.
“With this performance-based contract model we, as Leading Partner in the World of Metals, are breaking new ground jointly with our customer which will bring both of us forward. The subscription contract provides for both companies to concentrate on their respective core competencies to be successful in the market.”
Philip Salfeld, Outokumpu Manager Strategic Investments, commented, “As the inventors of stainless steel, we are aiming to continuously advance innovation in general, and the development and distribution of this highly versatile and sustainable material. In so doing, we are always looking out for innovative applications that will attract new customer segments to our products. Metal powder is one such innovative business field. And we are looking very much forward to developing it jointly with SMS Group.”