Thursday, May 18, 2017

News: Metalysis in new R&D programme


Innovative firm, Metalysis has announced a new research and development programme, its second since opening new multimillion pound premises on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

The Manvers company holds the worldwide exploitation rights to a process which sees specialist powder metals created in a simple, cost effective process with significant environmental benefits. Backed by investors and grants, the Cambridge University spin out secured £20m of investment last year and at its new Materials Discovery Centre, Metalysis will carry out bespoke, commercial R&D projects to produce exotic metal powders for high performance alloys in the aerospace and automotive industries.

The latest R&D programme focuses on a high value aluminium-scandium alloy and is being carried out with an international partner.

The programme will investigate the use of Metalysis' electrochemical technology to provide a scandium-rich feedstock addition, supporting master alloy production.

When used in combination with other common aluminium alloys, scandium can produce stronger, more corrosion resistant, heat tolerant, weldable aluminium products. Aluminium-scandium alloys are of increasing demand among high specification manufacturing applications such as in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Aircraft designers believe use of these alloys can reduce aircraft weights by 15%-20%, however, scandium's cost has proven to be prohibitive to its use in spite of its revolutionary properties. To date, it is largely mined as a by-product, with little surety of supply. As an alloy addition, scandium can as much as triple the cost involved in manufacturing.


Dion Vaughan, CEO of Metalysis, said: "We are very pleased to welcome another international partner to our R&D project portfolio, and look forward to commencing a particularly exciting work programme together.

"Aluminium-scandium alloys are a huge subject of interest to Metalysis, and while their cost implications are well-known, so are their highly beneficial characteristics. The "unknown" element of this picture is how disruptive technologies will traverse historic barriers to manufacturing these alloys, and this is exactly what we will address.

"We will use Metalysis process to explore opportunities to materially improve their cost setting and deliver a high-demand, high-spec product. Achieving this would pose truly revolutionary results and create an important area of potential growth for both parties."

Metalysis' process is capable of producing a wide range of metals and alloys at a lower cost and environmental footprint than traditional melting processes, which may aid in resolving cost constraints encountered in manufacturing aluminium-scandium alloys.
The previous focus has been on producing titanium and tantalum, and Metalysis has successfully synthesised the "wonder metal" graphene at its Rotherham facility using its innovative electrochemical process. Another R&D programme sees Metalysis working with Mkango Resources Ltd, a Canadian listed mineral exploration and development company, to jointly research, develop and commercialise novel rare earth metal alloys for use in 3D printed permanent magnets.

Confirming a £10m investment, the company is also investing in its Materials Manufacturing Centre in Manvers where it is nearing completion of its "Generation4" technological expansion, taking production capability to new levels. Generation4 will enable "Generation5" manufacturing options for hundreds to thousands of tonnes per annum of high value metal and alloy powders. Metalysis anticipates commencing feasibility studies later this year.

Metalysis website

Images: Metalysis


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