It has been reported that the Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA), based at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in Tauranga, New Zealand, has recently received $7 million in research funding. The funding, to be spread over two years, will focus on developing and adapting powder metallurgy processes to ensure New Zealand is at the forefront of titanium manufacturing technology.
The association also announced the installation of a new $200,000 furnace, imported from China, for use by companies looking to enter the Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) sector. “The new furnace and research funding mean the organisation can now start making things happen, working alongside individual companies and the wider manufacturing sector,” stated Warwick Downing, Chief Executive, TiDA. “The furnace, which is needed for the MIM process, is the first commercially sized machine of its type in New Zealand, possibly Australasia,” added Downing.
The association now runs the only Diploma in Metallurgy Degree in New Zealand and expects titanium alloy powder applications to become a billion-dollar export industry for New Zealand.
“We are trying to create high-efficiency, high-tech manufacturing technology, to allow New Zealand to compete globally, using smart materials, clever design and technology to create an advantage,” stated Downing. “We can compete globally if we’re smart about how we do it.”
“It is through technology, materials like titanium and design that New Zealand can have a strong manufacturing future,” continued Downing, “we have coupled this with a strong industry advisory board for the research programme to create a link from technology through industry and into the market and with links to investment for scale-up along the way.”
“Powder metallurgy – the use of powder to manufacture solid parts – is the fastest growing part of the metal industry and within that metal injection moulding, is growing at great rates. Traditional methods are less efficient and less cost-effective, but New Zealand can have a real future in high-tech manufacturing and is already considered a leader in the process of titanium powder metallurgy,” stated Downing.
The TiDA was formed to help New Zealand companies develop ground-breaking titanium powder metallurgy products for the international marketplace. The organisation has been set up with support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Foundation for Research Science and Technology, Tertiary Education Commission and private sector companies to help co-ordinate industry activities now and in the future.
Source: Bay of Plenty Times