Among the main causes of slow-moving implementation of 3D printing in industrial applications are the narrow range of available powders and long time required to introduce new alloys to the market. These problems stem from technical limitations of all the currently available metal powdering methods and high prices of the equipment itself. Classic atomization systems are expensive and require dedicated large-scale infrastructure. To this date, metal powder production has been focused primarily in the hands of corporations with substantial financial bases.
ATO One has been created in response to the increasing demand of small and medium-sized enterprises, powder producers and scientific institutions. The atomizer is capable of processing both reactive and non-reactive metals, such as titanium, magnesium or aluminium alloys. It is capable of producing powders with medium grain sizes within the range of 20 to 100 µm and narrow grain size distribution. Up to several hundred grams of material can be produced in a single manufacturing process. A complete ATO One system includes the atomization device and software supporting the manufacturing process.
ATO One has the potential to considerably enhance and speed up the development of new materials dedicated to metal 3D printing. The device was designed as compact, with office spaces in mind, yet maintaining several times lower operation costs and an affordable price. This solution guarantees a more rapid novel material development process within one organisational structure and eliminates the need to employ subcontractors to execute particular stages of a given project. The users are provided with a higher degree of control over subsequent stages of raw material processing.
The company’s research in the field of atomization has begun 3 years ago. It stemmed from the need to rapidly produce small quantities of feedstock for metal additive manufacturing research and process parameters selection. The 3D Lab team has found the range of commercially available powders to be very limited. Long realization time of smaller orders and high raw material costs made it impossible to implement a cost-effective solution using currently available atomization methods.
The new system will be presented during the oncoming Formnext trade fair from November 14-17, 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany. The first devices are planned to be dispatched in the third and fourth quarter of 2018.