Swansea University Revolutionise Metal Powder Production with ATO Lab Plus

We spoke with Professor Nick Lavery, Project Officer Dr Shanin Mehraban, and Teaching Tutor Dr Dan Butcher at MACH1 labs, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swansea University to find out how the ATO Lab Plus is supporting their work for metal powder production for additive manufacturing.

Challenge faced:

Before integrating the ATO Lab+ instrument into their alloy development workflow, the team encountered significant hurdles. External gas atomisation, their previously utilised model of developing alloys for additive manufacture, posed delays of approximately 14 weeks and mandated a minimum batch size of 200kg, creating unnecessary waste. It meant that they were unable to link their small-scale rapid alloy prototyping and in-house additive manufacturing capabilities without external powder production.

Discovering ATO Lab+

In their search for a solution, Prof Lavery’s team sought the best combination of melt temperature, powder quality and suitability for their lab environment. They found that the ATO Lab+ ultrasonic metal atomiser was well made and user-friendly, with initial showing that the machine produces quality powder with a morphology suitable for additive manufacture.

Results:

ATO Lab+ has empowered the team to overcome a major hurdle in their aim to optimise chemistries for specific applications, moving beyond legacy casting alloys commonly used in additive manufacturing. They can now swiftly produce small batches of novel compositions, for faster, more efficient production within their own lab significantly speeding up alloy discovery for a wide range of cutting-edge applications.

Looking ahead, the team plans to develop novel alloys for various additive manufacturing techniques, including LPBF, BJ, blown powder, and HIP.

Commenting on his experience purchasing the ATO Lab+,”

Analytik are easy to deal with and Hiran was a pleasure to meet. The ATO Lab+ machine is well manufactured and 3D lab have been very helpful with all aspects including procurement, installation, commissioning, training and troubleshooting.”

Professor Nick Lavery

Swansea University

More about the ATO Lab+  

ATO Key Features: 

  • Metal Powder Production, Simplified – No more reliance on costly external atomising facilities,  take control of your own laboratory! ATO atomisers are purpose-built for efficient use in standard lab environments, without the hassle of complex infrastructures and with minimal maintenance requirements.
  • Accelerate Material Development – Eliminate delays, ATO ultrasonic atomisers deliver the highest quality metal powders in just one day, boosting low oxygen content, exceptional particle sphericity, and outstanding flowability.
  • Superior Metal Powder Quality – Swiftly manufacture high-quality metal powders characterised by a precise particle size distribution, exceptional sphericity, and uniformity. The outcome? Outstanding flowability, ensuring seamless metal printing.
  • Versatile Solution – ATO atomisers are capable of processing a huge range of alloys, both reactive and non-reactive, including steel, aluminum, titanium, nickel-based alloys, and more.
  • Compact and Low Maintenance – Reduce costs and streamline your processes with tailor-made powders. ATO ultrasonic atomisers have a compact design, without compromised performance. ATO boasts reduced media consumption for an efficient, cost-effective approach to metal powder production.

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