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The material matchmaker: Vital things to consider when selecting your powder partner

Selecting the right metal powder is a vital consideration in additive manufacturing (AM), as the quality and properties of the powder strongly influences the properties of the end-component. There are a number of qualities to consider when selecting your metal powder partner and supplier. Because when failure is not an option, the right partner is everything.

Sandvik offers so much more than materials and metal powders for additive manufacturing. With our 158 years of leading materials expertise and 40 years’ experience from atomizing fine metal powder and northern Europe’s largest R&D facility for advanced materials, we can help you succeed even faster. We have PhDs, R&D-specialists, powder- and additive manufacturing experts in every corner and in all areas along the metal powder and additive manufacturing value chain. We also have our own additive manufacturing facilities, with all relevant printing technologies for metals in-house, which means that we have the possibility to tailor the powder to different printing processes. In addition, we have supplied titanium to the aerospace industry since the 1980’s, meaning that we are no stranger to the requirements of the most demanding industries.

How wide is the material range of the supplier?

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When you expand your Additive Manufacturing business you may need a range of different materials. You also might need tailored materials for different Additive Manufacturing technologies and processes. A good idea is therefore to check the capability of the supplier when it comes to deliver a wide range of materials and if the partner also can optimize and tailor the metal powders if needed.

Sandvik Additive Manufacturing offers the widest alloy program for Additive Manufacturing on the market, in particle sizes between 0-250 μm – or whatever customized size your process requires. We can even customize materials to fit our customer’s every need. Our extensive capabilities range from supplying small batches for prototype development to high volume batches for large scale production.

Does your partner carry the necessary quality certifications for your business?

For aerospace and other specialized industries, it's important for your metal powder supplier to understand the requirements of your industry and carry the appropriate quality certifications.

Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has recently achieved the prestigious AS9100D aerospace certification. The plant in Sweden is also certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001.

Does your partner have safe operations?

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Metal powder production can be dangerous if not done according to standardized procedures and safety rules. A safe manufacturer not only protects its employees but your supply chain as well. By visiting your supplier’s facility you can get a better understanding of the value they place on safety. You can also ask them to present their safety performance and how they work with safety throughout the production process.

Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has a very strong focus on safety. The powder unit in Neath has managed to achieve 4.5 years without any Lost Time Injury and has therefore achieved several awards for its safety work. It has been recognized for its strong “Safety First"-culture and the persistent and continuous strive for zero accidents through cultural change, involving all employees. It has recently received a prestigious safety award from the Metal Injection Molding Association, and last year it received another safety award from the Association for Metal Additive Manufacturing.​

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