Off The Wire
Sandvik to build new metal powders plant amid 3D printing drive
STOCKHOLM, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Swedish engineering group Sandvik said on Tuesday it will invest about 200 million Swedish crowns ($25 million) in a new titanium and nickel metal powder plant to strengthen its position in the metal 3D printing market.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has been used for making prototypes across a range of different industries for many years, but is being increasingly eyed for scale production.
In metal-based mass production, the technology has so far mainly gained a foothold in areas such as aerospace and medical implants, where production is typically done in shorter runs and with expensive materials such as titanium.
"Demand for metal powder for additive manufacturing is expected to increase significantly in the coming years," Sandvik, a maker of metal-cutting tools, speciality steel and mining equipment, said in a statement.
"Titanium and nickel based alloys are key growth areas in the field of additive manufacturing, accounting for a significant portion of the metal powder market."
Sandvik has run a metal powders business in its Materials Technology unit for several years, and the group has moved to build up a research and development operation focused on additive manufacturing.
Tools for cutting parts, rather than building layer by layer, are the cornerstone for Sandvik's Machining Solutions division, its main profit generator, and the company is also keen to build a strong position in additive manufacturing.
"This investment should be viewed as the latest evidence of our commitment to an area that we believe strongly in," Sandvik Materials Technology head Goran Bjorkman said.
The new plant will be built in Sandviken, Sweden, where the company also has its center for additive manufacturing. The plant is expected to be operational during 2020.
($1 = 7.9629 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Louise Heavens and Kirsten Donovan)