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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

PyroGenesis receives U.S. patent for its plasma atomization metal powder technology

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PyroGenesis says its NexGen process for producing spherical metallic powders is a significant departure from conventional plasma atomization. PHOTO courtesy NexGen.

PyroGenesis Canada Inc.  has received a U.S. patent for its NexGen plasma atomization powder.

The patent, entitled, “Method and Apparatus for Producing High Purity Spherical Metallic Powders at High Production Rates From One or Two Wires”, describes the company’s NexGen plasma atomization technology for producing metal powder for use in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. In particular, the patent describes the aspects of the NexGen system that create the potential for higher and more efficient production rates, including a two-wire simultaneous feedstock approach where the wires themselves are electrically charged prior to reaching the plasma atomization step.

“The NexGen process is a significant departure from conventional plasma atomization, as the improved efficiency from NexGen  not only targets higher production rates, but also narrower particle size distribution for more uniformity and consistency, and an ability to tailor particle size distribution (“PSD”) to customer requirements,” according to Pierre Carabin, PyroGenesis’ Chief Technology Officer and Chief Strategist, and the co-inventor of the technology.

For PyroGenesis, that means producing more powder in a single system and with only a single plasma torch.

“For our customers, that means they receive the finest, most spherically-consistent, and densest powders from typical plasma atomizationv, but with the added benefits of buying from a North American-based source that offers higher yield and less waste of a recognized critical mineral, while also being more energy efficient – helping them to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their Scope 3 emissions targets,” continues Carabin.

Traditional plasma atomization – using either a single wire centrally fed through a plasma torch, or three plasma torches aiming at one centrally-positioned wire – has a primary disadvantage of having a relatively low production rate in comparison to water and gas atomization, due to the fact that plasma atomization is a very energetically inefficient process, according to PyroGenesis.

To combat this, PyroGenesis Additive’s NexGen system feeds two separate spools of metal wire (such as titanium) that are first electrically charged, creating an electrical arc that melts the wire before a plasma torch atomizes the melted wire into powder particles using a supersonic plasma stream. This results in a more efficient atomization of the metal – raising production output significantly.

“Plasma atomization is considered the gold standard for the production of Additive Manufacturing powder,” said Massimo Dattilo, Vice President of PyroGenesis Additive. “PyroGenesis not only invented the process, but coined the name, which is now widely used in the industry. Because of our dedication to continuous improvement, when we decided to re-enter the market, we did so with a mandate to advance plasma atomization to the next level through a redesigned system we named “NexGen”. The confirmation of this U.S. patent for NexGen is a key validation of our approach and another major box checked in our market re-entry progress.”

The company has patents pending in Canada and in other global jurisdictions for the same NexGen plasma atomization process.

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