Rio Tinto reports it has developed a new water atomised steel powder designed specifically for Additive Manufacturing applications at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Québec, Canada. The new powder is reported to deliver mechanical properties superior to conventional metal manufacturing techniques.
The water atomised powder is part of RTFT’s ongoing development project aimed at producing a range of additional powder grades with advanced properties for AM.
Rio Tinto’s Critical Minerals and Technology Centre at Sorel-Tracy partnered with Germany’s KSB SE & Co. KGaA, one of the leading manufacturers of pumps and valves and a pioneer in industrial AM, to develop and test the performance of the new powder in AM applications. Full-scale industrial parts have already been produced and tested, including parts for a liquid iron casting equipment at Rio Tinto’s Sorel-Tracy site, said to be an industry first.
Stéphane Leblanc, Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium Managing Director, stated, “This is a new generation of steel powders designed for 3D printing at RTFT’s metallurgical complex, where we have over fifty years of experience in making steel and iron powders. Our new Additive Manufacturing steel powder grade, produced with the largest water atomiser in North America, brings a very competitive raw material addition to the growing 3D market.”