The world’s leading supplier of high alloyed tool steel, Uddeholms AB, is about to expand into the flourishing 3D printing market and has invested EUR 7,5 million in a new facility for metal powder production.
Coinciding with the company’s 350-year anniversary, the metal powder plant will open its doors in June 2018 at Uddeholm’s largest production site located in the community of Hagfors, 350 km northwest of Stockholm.
“Powdered steel is a rapidly growing market and demand is now increasing for powders used for 3D printed industrial tools. Our owners have decided to meet the future in additive manufacturing by expanding the Hagfors site,” says Johnny Sjöström, CEO at Uddeholm.
Uddeholm is part of the international group Voestalpine AG which has invested more than EUR 100 million over the past ten years to further develop Uddeholm’s production capabilities in Hagfors.
First AM powder for tooling
Aerospace turbines, automotive parts and medical implants are all large application areas for metal powder used in additive manufacturing (AM), where metal parts are built in layers according to 3D model data.
Uddeholm aims to be a leader in the field of industrial tools and is planning to launch five AM products within the next five years. Uddeholm AM Corrax, the first AM powder made specifically for tooling, will be first in line.
Pär Emanuelsson, Director Marketing and Sales, Uddeholm, comments on the strategic step: “Our goal is to become the world’s leading supplier of AM metal powders for industrial tools within five years. To start up production we will recruit ten new employees who will work closely with our existing team of technicians in Hagfors.”
Faster production, shorter development cycles, lower costs for transport and reduced raw material consumption are just a few of the advantages of using additive manufacturing for industrial tools.
Uddeholm’s expertise in tool steel dates back to 1668 when the first iron was produced in Sweden’s Värmland province. Today, it is a multinational producer of high performance tool steel with 3000 employees, of which 800 are based in Sweden. In 1991, the company became part of the Austrian Böhler-Uddeholm group which, in turn, was acquired by Voestalpine AG in 2007 with 47,000 employees worldwide.