Over the last century, commercial production of various metal powders has seen exceptional growth with wide ranging applications in a myriad of different industries such as the press- and sinter (P&S) industry, the hot isostatic pressing (HIP) industry as well as in newly emerging and high demanding industries like metal injection molding (MIM) and metal additive manufacturing (AM).
All of these industries have different requirements on the metal powders and in turn on the powder production technology. Today’s commercially available gas atomization systems were developed in the 1980’s and mainly intended for use in industries such as HIP or P&S. The originally intended process for these powder batches may not require the same high quality as powders used in newer processes and as such their performance in an AM process may not be adequate or as expected.
Focussing on these newly emerging powder specifications and requirements, INTECO has developed the „next generation“ gas atomization system, combining innovative developments in atomization technology and in-depth process know-how. Today, INTECO offers a wide range of newly developed technologies for the production of metal powders for various steels, nickel and cobalt superalloys as well as titanium and its alloys, meeting today’s requirements with respect to cost, quality and yield.
USP‘s of INTECO Design
- „Next-Generation“ gas atomization technology for steels, superalloys and titanium
- Melting under vacuum, inert gas or atmospheric conditions
- Automated tilt pouring for optimized atomization conditions
- Anti-Satelliting technology for high powder flowability and sphericity
- Powder recycling system for utilization of revert and used powders
- Multifunctional charging system for late charging, alloying, sampling and temperature measurement enabling sophisticated alloy development
- Highly effective tundish, nozzle and gas heating systems for highest process consistency and flexibility
- Optimized tundish and gas nozzle design for highest powder cleanliness and production yield
- Easy maintenance and cleaning for quick and reliable change of grades
- Industry’s first holistic process and production management system (IMAS) covering the complete powder production process
Since the development of the patented Electro Slag Heating (ESH) process in the 1980’s INTECO has played a major role in the development of today’s state of the art production process for tool steel powder. The trend towards an increasing tundish size to accommodate the whole liquid metal before atomization creates the necessity for a suitable tundish heating system in order to maintain constant metal temperature over a long period of time. The result of this process is powder of highest cleanliness (e.g. low non-metallic inclusions) with constant properties throughout the whole atomization process.
For the production of specialty powder such as nickel and cobalt base powder as well as titanium and its alloys the gas atomization method has been recognized as the predominant technology. INTECO’s design solutions are focussed on highest powder quality and powder yield in order to satisfy the requirements of the highest demanding industries such as additive manufacturing. This is realized by enhancing common gas atomization by the latest technology and know-how in atomization theory, therefore creating the next generation gas atomization systems.