Outokumpu, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, is entering the metal powder sector with the construction of a new atomisation plant at its facility in Krefeld, Germany, planned for April 2023. The move is intended to further strengthen the company’s sustainability strategy and circular economy efforts by using the steel scrap from local production to create metal powders suitable for Additive Manufacturing, Metal Injection Moulding (MIM), Binder Jetting (BJT) and Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP).
“The global demand for metal powder is on the rise and we see great potential for the business in the near future,” stated Thomas Anstots, President of BL Advanced materials at Outokumpu. “We have seen the growth of Additive Manufacturing industries and the potential to strengthen the position and use of stainless steel for metal powder products, and therefore decided to start the construction of a new designed atomisation plant. Outokumpu has an extensive expertise on the materials and will partner with interested powder customers. We are happy to start with the internal production soon, followed by external run a bit later. There is already a great interest among customers and the first projects have started.”
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Outokumpu’s primary focus is on producing metal powders that are not yet on the market which are suited for companies that use technologies such as metal AM, MIM and HIP to produce parts for demanding applications.
“In the near future, the estimated total production capacity will be approximately 330 tons annually. Our longer-term target is to utilise the learnings and to build up our R&D know-how to support the customer journey with expertise, new material development, flexibility and customisation for various powder metallurgy technologies. In our future vision, we could be able to serve our customers in such a way that they could come to us with a problem and leave with a solution,” Anstots continued.
Outokumpu sees the new atomization plant as a large recycling unit. The company’s stainless steel is said to be the single most recycled material globally, and the company’s mills in Europe and in the US are among the largest material recycling facilities in the world.
Anstots concluded,” We want to help our customers to reduce climate burden by means of the right material choices. I’m proud of the fact that our new atomisation plant in Krefeld will be a large recycling unit to support the circular economy further. The embodied carbon footprint of our whole production process is also reduced as the raw material is generated, and the product is produced and packaged, all in one place. This ensures to control the entire process and to significantly cut down the transportation emissions too.”
Outokumpu’s brand new portfolio of metal powders (which includes stainless steel and nickel alloys) have been formulated to meet the demands of modern manufacturing in terms of quality, sustainability and flexibility. Outokumpu is partnering with SMS group GmbH, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, as the technology supplier. The Equipment as a Service (EaaS) contract is intended to ensure a continuous line optimisation and close collaboration in the powder business between the supplier and the producer over the next years.