Liberty, part of the GFG Alliance of industrial companies, has begun construction of a powder metals development facility in Teesside that will expand the group’s reach in specialist metals and, ultimately, into the emerging market for materials for 3D printing.
An initial £10m is being invested to set up the Liberty Powder Metals business including a state-of-the-art vacuum induction inert gas atomiser at its core.
The facility is designed to achieve the highest-quality stainless steel and superalloy powders, helping Liberty to enhance its status in a global market estimated to be worth GBP 8bn a year.
Alongside the atomiser, there are plans to install a range of sieving, blending, packaging and analytical equipment.
The atomiser will allow Liberty to develop a new generation of powdered steels that can overcome the traditional barriers to 3D printing and enhance Liberty’s position in the supply chain for precision steel components used in rapidly-changing and advanced sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and specialist industrial equipment.
Commissioning will take place from December with the aim of producing powders for sale from March 2020.