Metal AM Company Wins Import/Export Accolade in Europe’s Largest Business Competition

LPW Import/Export award

LPW Technology Ltd, the market leader in the development and supply of the highest quality metal powders and software solutions for the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry, has been named as one of just ten prestigious Ruban d’Honneur recipients for The Import/Export Award in the 2016/17 European Business Awards, Europe’s largest business competition.

“This is a great accolade for the LPW team,” says Dr Phil Carroll, Founder and CEO of LPW.  “We’ve worked hard to establish our reputation for premium quality metal powders and seamless customer service, and this in turn has supported us to develop our dedicated global sales teams, and to establish a committed network of resellers world-wide who share our passion, vision and ambition.  This focus resulted in almost 75% of our total sales being exported in 2015, and we’ve created 54 new positions over the last two years, with plans for many more.”

Former Prime Minister of Belgium and current award judge Yves Leterme commented, “The European Business Awards is a very good stimulus for companies to always try to improve their results…  it’s a way of rewarding them for their great efforts.”

“It’s an honour to be awarded the Ruban d’Honneur for the Import/Export Award by a panel with such strong business acumen, international trade experience and cross-cultural expertise,” says Dr Carroll.

LPW was selected from among the 33,000 businesses that engaged in the competition by a panel of highly-respected independent judges because it demonstrated core values of innovation, ethics and success.  The company will now undergo an in depth face-to-face interview with the panel, and will find out if it is an overall category winner at the Gala Final in May.

 


Meet LPW’s team at key AM sector events

 

TCT Asia 2017
8 – 10 March
Shanghai, China
SNIEC, N5 G58
AMUG 2017
19 – 23 March
Chicago Hilton, Chicago, Illinois
Salon D, Booth 45
Lumex Fair 2017
21 – 21 April
Wiesbaden, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rapid+TCT 2017
9 – 11 May
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
RapidTech 2017
20 – 22 June
Messe Erfurt, Germany
TCT Europe 2017
26 – 28 September
Birmingham, England
NEC Hall 3 E42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Formnext 2017
14 – 17 November
Frankfurt, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Traceability and costs of powders for additive manufacturing

 

 

 

 

LPW’s Commercial Director, Phil Kilburn, has shared his thoughts on costs and the traceability of metal powder from production right through the supply chain to in-process production, recycling and reuse in an easy-to-read and informative article in Disruptive magazine.  To read what Phil has to say on why traceability is critical for additive manufacturing, and how potential cost savings will be realised, click Phil Kilburn – Disruptive magazine

 


LPW releases new metal AM atomisation case study

 

 

 

 

LPW Technology has released its most recent case study, ‘Vacuum vs non-vacuum melted gas atomised powders.’

“It’s important to understand how the different melting techniques impact on the level of impurities, particularly oxygen and nitrogen, in the processed powders.  This can have a detrimental effect on the microstructures and mechanical properties of the final products, affecting, among others, elongation, ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and rupture life,” says Dr Rob Deffley, LPW’s Research & Development Manager.  “This case study was produced as a direct response to customers’ queries, and gives an insight into atomisation processes for nickel-based superalloys.”

LPW is continuing to expand its technical library, with a focus on the issues that AM end users say are important to them, and these resources are all free to download.  To access this latest addition, please click Case Study 09.


LPW Webinar: Protecting Your AM Investment – Metal Power Safety

 

AM safety gear

 

 

 

 

LPW Technology Ltd is hosting a webinar on metal powder safety in Additive Manufacturing (AM) with global independent safety science company UL on March 14th at 3pm, GMT.

The webinar will last for an hour, and experts from LPW and UL will be discussing the multiple facets of metal powder safety.  From specific material hazards, environmental conditions and material degradation to personal protection equipment and fire suppression, participants will learn how to safely manage metal powder and mitigate associated risks.

“There’s still time to register to participate in this interactive forum,” says Ben Ferrar, Chief Operating Officer of LPW.  “We’re looking forward to a lively and informative session where issues, mitigations and best practices are discussed and debated by people passionate about the metal AM sector.  We welcome questions during the webinar, and fully expect that everyone involved will come away with a deeper insight about how to manage metal powder safely.”

To Register for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/2nlTLYr.


LPW Promotes the control of metal powders at AMUG 2017

AMUG 2017

 

 

 

 

 

LPW Technology Inc. will be promoting AM from the perspective of the powder at Salon D Booth 45 of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois between 19th and 23rd March.

“Premium-quality metal powders that perform over the various machine platforms with consistency, traceability and minimal risk of contamination are essential for industrial AM production,” comments John D Hunter, General Manager of LPW Inc.  “AMUG brings together the AM community from around the world, and offers us the opportunity to share our expertise in applications development, software, and alloy development, as well as the handling, storage and transport innovations we have created for production AM.

“AMUG is focused on accelerating the education and advancement of additive manufacturing,” continues John.  “With our decade of experience of overcoming technical challenges in this rapidly-accelerating industry, we’re looking forward to sharing insights into the best practices for managing metal powder.  At 4:00 PM on Monday the 20th, LPW’s Applications Engineer, Nate Kistler, will be presenting ‘The control and optimisation of metal powder for AM production’ in the Lake Michigan Room.”

Visitors to AMUG 2017 will be able to meet members of LPW’s team at Salon D Booth 45, 19 – 23 March at the Chicago Hilton, Chicago, Illinois.


Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with Robbie’s top tips for managing powder

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and to celebrate the contribution that LPW’s own team of mechanical engineering apprentices are making to the future of manufacturing, LPW is shining the spotlight on one of its own: Robbie took the initiative and documented and photographed some of the practices implemented in our production facility that form the solid base for the LPW Quality Assurance program.

It demonstrates how the LPW quality ethos is lived by every team member.  From experienced engineer to apprentice, every one of the LPW team implements the quality protocols that assure the integrity of the tightly controlled metal powders it develops and supplies from its facilities.

The list is not exhaustive, for example gloveboxes and protective clothing are also used, which have a dual purpose of protecting the user against the powder and the powder from the user.  However, this gives an overview of some of the basic housekeeping processes undertaken to guard against contamination.

Here is Robbie’s guide to ten simple best practices for managing powder and reducing contamination risk.

 

Colour Coded Metals

Each metal handled has its own specific colour code to minimise the risk of cross contamination.  Every piece of equipment, every kit and each machine component used on a particular powder is marked with that colour, clearly defining which powder it is used on and where it should be stored or cleaned.

 

Material Kits

Every production bench and sieve bay in LPW’s facility has allocated, colour coded kits to ensure the correct equipment is used for each metal powder. Each kit contains all the necessary tools needed for decanting and processing, reducing the risk of contamination.

 

 

Production Bench and Dust Extraction Unit Logs

The production benches and dust extraction units are the two main working areas for decanting powder, and present the biggest risk of contamination. To prevent this, a robust logging system details usage, including which powder was last decanted in that area and the cleaning regime implemented. This contributes to powder traceability, adding assurance that all metal powders processed can be fully tracked.

 

Sieve Decks for Each Metal Powder

Each material has allocated sieve decks in the full range of sizes.  Each sieve is clearly labelled with an identification number, and clearly marked with the metal powder it must be used on.

 

 

5S Audits and Area responsibilities

The warehouse and production areas implement the 5S workplace organisation system.  Each operator owns an area, within which it is their responsibility to ensure LPW’s stringent quality standards are consistently met.  5S audits are carried out monthly, keeping every area under scrutiny, holding operators to account for performance and embedding LPW’s quality culture.

 

Contamination Mats.

Sticky mats are placed at entrances and significantly reduce the potential transportation of contamination through different areas by removing contaminants from the soles of shoes.

 

 

No Wood or Cardboard Policy

To minimise the risk of powder contamination there is a strict policy prohibiting wood or cardboard beyond a certain area.  Only team members wearing the correct protective equipment may enter the production area, where powder may be open to the atmosphere.

 

Powder Contamination Stations

These are situated around the production and warehouse areas.  The airborne particles they collect are analysed in LPW’s laboratory by SEM.  If a particle of a powder that is not processed in the immediate vicinity of a particular Powder Contamination Station is detected, it is immediately investigated.

 

Ultrasonic Baths

Ultrasonic baths are used to clean and loosen powder from sieve meshes after use, and are segregated into different metal types.  More effective than using brushes or cloths, which can themselves contain contaminants, ultrasound waves are emitted into the water and the vibrations cause the powders to separate from the sieve mesh.  The sieves are then dried at the appropriate temperature.

 

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) Board

PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) checklists are completed daily within production. These checks ensure that operators review all equipment and include verifications of the cleanliness of the machines.

 

High-quality metal powders that perform over numerous platforms with consistency, traceability and minimal risk of contamination are essential for industrial (AM) production.  For over a decade LPW has been gathering data on AM processes and utilising this information to develop intelligent powder solutions.  It has developed PowderLife, a series of products, processes and AM powder lifecycle management software which strictly controls risk for manufacturers, adding confidence, reliability and traceability in metal powder production and repeated AM builds.  And all this has been built by safeguarding LPW’s metal powders’ integrity at source, just as Robbie has outlined.