The Aximill process will transform the metal powder industry globally, massively reducing the cost of producing metal powders, and allowing waste material to be transformed into high quality, high value powder.
Controlled particle morphology
Powdered metals are commonly made by melting metal and forming the grains in an inert gas and vacuum environment. This is a very energy intensive process with a high level cap-ex entry and large quantities of product have to be made at one time to justify the economics. The particles formed in this way tend to be very spherical and there is very little opportunity to alter the shape.
The Aximill is an autogenous grinding process which utilizes harmonics and cavitation, to break up particles in a controlled process. The particles are accelerated to close to the speed of sound to achieve the correct formation of particles. There is a lot of influence over the shape and uniformity of these particle. There is the ability to make particles in a narrow bell-curve and across a wide variety of sizes.
Cold spray requires particles around 45 micron whereas other processes may require particles around 5 micron. By using the Aximill, the variety of powders available for this use will be much more extensive.
More cost effective and space efficient than current metal-powder manufacturing plants, Aximill plants can be located in areas where it has not been feasible to have a plant before.
It cost many millions of dollars to set up metal-powder manufacturing operations with furnaces, spray equipment, and all the ancillaries. In contrast, the Aximill will reduce this cost, and will occupy a smaller area. This means an Aximill metal-powdering plant can be readily located in business parks close to the support of transport, other industry, and its customers.
Cleaner Processing of Waste Material
The Aximill allows machining waste metal to be used as feed stock for metal powders. By processing waste material in this way, it does not need to go through a smelter, with a considerable saving in energy costs and carbon footprint. Plus smaller Aximill systems can be installed at more widespread locations to process the waste metal, reducing the need for transport of heavy metals over large distances to the refinery location. The environmental implications of this are remarkable.
saving valuable resources
One of the early take up areas of this technology will be in the repair of worn parts, this often means that expensive parts can be repaired rather than replaced. It is often not viable to repair metal parts made of exotic materials using current technology, whereas with the Aximill system coupled with cold spray technology, the repair of metal parts is made feasible, and the part will match the performance of a new part at a certifiable level. This is a massive paradigm shift in the industry, with a large positive impact on the environment.