Tantalum and niobium products maker Global Advanced Metals (GAM; Waltham, MA) and LPW Technology (LPW; Runcorn, Cheshire, England), which manufactures metal powders for additive manufacturing, have entered into a cooperative agreement to further demonstrate the suitability of spheroidized tantalum for 3D printing.
Across this emerging industry, there are few examples of additively manufactured refractory metals, and a need exists for a more-thorough proof of concept and development of print criteria. GAM is filling this void and expanding its product portfolio.
GAM offers powders in nodular, angular, fractal, and spherical morphologies for a wide range of critical applications. Successful demonstration of laser 3D printing of tantalum offers GAM customers another powder option with which to serve medical, dental, military, aerospace, and other markets via tantalum-based additive manufacturing. Tantalum offers superior osteointegration, higher biocompatibility, and reduced stress shielding with respect to current metals and alloys used for medical implants.
The partnership with LPW will allow GAM to measure and share physicochemical data for its spherical tantalum and the resulting 3D-printed part, and bring this solution to its partners, including practitioners, designers, and manufacturers of tantalum-based surgical implants and other high-reliability and critical devices, according to Andrew O'Donovan, CEO of GAM.