Ames team wins award for development of titanium powder manufacturing process

August 30, 2017

Ames team wins award for development of titanium powder manufacturing process

Schematic of titanium Close-Coupled Gas Atomisation set-up utilising the ‘hot shot’ composite pour tube


Iver Anderson, Senior Metallurgist at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, and his team have been announced as winners of a 2017 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Continent Region. The FLC recognised the development of a ‘hot-shot’ pour tube that, when adapted into a high-efficiency nozzle, can produce titanium powder by a method that is said to be approximately ten times more efficient than traditional powder-making methods.

Titanium powder produced using the hot-shot pour tube is said to have enabled a dramatic shift in manufacturing away from traditional titanium casting/forging methods to net-shape forming. This highly successful manufacturing technique led to the formation of a multi-award winning start-up company, Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies, which was purchased in 2014 by Praxair Surface Technologies. In 2015, Praxair began international sales of spherical titanium powder for Additive Manufacturing and Metal Injection Moulding for aerospace, medical and industrial parts.

In addition to Anderson, the award is shared by Andy Heidloff and Joel Reiken, formerly of Ames Laboratory and now of Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc.; and David Byrd, Ross Anderson and Emma White of Ames Laboratory. “Our team is very proud to accept this FLC award,” stated Anderson. “It helps us keep pushing Ames Laboratory’s processing science forward to these ultimate technology transitions involving our people.”

In a letter of support for Ames Laboratory in the FLC competition, Dean Hackett, Vice President of Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc., said, “Ames Laboratory is uniquely equipped and staffed with talented researchers who work as a team to develop breakthrough technologies in the production of atomised powders. Praxair Surface Technologies has chosen to commercialise the titanium atomisation technology from Ames and also to hire two of the three investigators (Heidloff and Reiken) that were responsible for this unique titanium atomisation process.”

In congratulating Anderson and his team of scientists on the award, Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz said the award demonstrates Ames Laboratory’s commitment to the Department of Energy’s mission of transferring technologies to the marketplace for the benefit of the American taxpayer. “We are very proud to join Iver and his team in celebrating this technological success,” said Schwartz, “And we’ll look forward to many anticipated future successes.”

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