Atomising Systems Ltd. (ASL), Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, and investing some £1.75 million to further boost its machine development and powder production facilities.
Having begun operations with just three staff members in a small office in January 1993, the company grew to around fifteen staff and moved to a 900 m2 factory in 2001. This was outgrown and in 2011 the company relocated to its present 3000 m2 facility, where eighty-five are now employed.
Although the company was started as a manufacturer of atomisation production systems, it moved in metal powder production as demand increased. Today, production capacity for steels, Ni & Cu alloys, using gas atomisation, water atomisation, and ultra-high-pressure water atomisation (for MIM grades) now exceeds 4,000 t/year.
In its 30th year of operation, £1.75 million is being invested in a number of expansion and quality improvement projects to remove bottlenecks. These include a third QC laboratory with ICP analytical facilities, a 5 t blender, and a major re-location and expansion of sieving and classifying equipment for special powders, largely for the Additive Manufacturing industry.
Plans for 2023 call for a fifth melting furnace to be installed to boost gas atomising capacity and an upgrade to the packing equipment. ASL is also applying a number of innovative in-house developments to its process plant, with the objective of reducing scope 2 CO2 emissions by over 100 t/year.
John Dunkley, the founder of the company, has now worked on atomising for fifty years and is semi-retired. He is still involved in strategic planning and technical investigations, assisting a eight-strong R&D team. Record turnover in the year ended September 30, 2022, was in excess of £13 million, boosted by rapidly increasing sales to the Additive Manufacturing industry, for both Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) techniques and Binder Jetting (BJT). Stainless steels, especially 316L, are the major focus of activity, but many different alloys are available.