Partnership

RioTintoRio Tinto Metal Powders (RTMP), a subsidiary of the multinational mining company Rio Tinto, has powder metallurgy customers in Canada and abroad who will directly benefit from this project.

MSAMMulti-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Lab is one of the largest research and development additive manufacturing facilities in the world, hosted at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Challenge

  • Metal AM continues to see global growth; however, manufacturers are cautious due to high upfront costs and uncertainty of reliable part production.
  • The goal was to reduce costs while enabling efficient steel alloy use in commercial and industrial AM, particularly prototyping and spare part production for automotive and other industries.

Solution

  • RTMP prototyped several approaches to produce AM grade powder suitable for PBBJ and LPBF, which are expected to be scalable for existing production.
  • The print recipe developed by MSAM enables printing on current generation systems and achieves target density and hardness, thereby reducing costs for AM adoption.
Artifact
Artifact designed and printed by MSAM for RTMP using upgraded powder recipe

Impact

  • The novel material will facilitate AM adoption by new users, as well as integration into existing commercial and industrial operations. RTMP customers can expect cost savings in initial investment, supply chain and overall manufacturing expenses.
  • This project has provided an “adoption roadmap” for low-risk metal AM technology adoption, opening new market domains for RTMP and its customers.