The innovative 3D printing technology – called Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) – produces titanium components of virtually any shape and size more rapidly and at a considerably lower cost than conventional manufacturing methods, the company says.
Based in Melbourne, Titomic has the exclusive global rights to commercialise the TKF process for load-bearing structures in titanium and its alloys, with a patent pending. The technology was initially developed in partnership with the CSIRO in Melbourne. Critically, the process does not melt or vaporise metal particles, and, as such, energy consumption is significantly lower than standard metal casting or forging technologies.
Jeff Lang, director of technology at Titomic, said TKF technology was poised to dramatically change the way many aerospace components are produced.
“High energy consumption, high material wastage and extensive machining times drive up the cost of producing aerospace parts,” he said.
“TKF overcomes a range of challenges that current metal-based 3D printing and additive technologies face, including low-build speed rates, build size restrictions, and heat related distortions.”
To highlight the broad application range of the TKF technology, a scaled-down model of an aircraft wing spar was grown from titanium. The part was built up with a machining allowance on an aluminum base and finish machined. In contrast to the machining down of a solid block of titanium, less than 15 per cent of the final part weight ended up as chips or swarf, resulting in significant cost savings for the production of various components.
Lang said its investment in state-of-the-art equipment presented Titomic with the opportunity to significantly disrupt the aerospace parts manufacturing industry.
“This new additive manufacturing platform means Titomic will be able to process most metals and alloys used in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries,” he said. “Furthermore, with deposition rates of materials approaching 50kg per hour the technology can be integrated into a variety of existing production environments.”
Titomic is planning further capital-raising initiatives for the coming months, including a potential market listing on the ASX.