Sandvik invests $25 million to boost use of metal 3D printing

Image: Sandvik AutoMine TH663i-038.

Swedish equipment and tool manufacturer Sandvik Mining (STO:SAND) is investing 200 million Swedish crowns (about $25 million) in a new titanium and nickel metal powder plant to strengthen its position in the metal 3D printing market.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The technique, already popular in aerospace and medical applications, is gradually being adopted by equipment and toolmakers, and Sandvik wants to apply it in the production of fine metal powders.

New plant will be built in Sandviken, Sweden, where the company also has its center for additive manufacturing.

“Demand for metal powder for additive manufacturing is expected to increase significantly in the coming years,” the company said in a statement.

“Titanium and nickel based alloys are key growth areas in the field of additive manufacturing, accounting for a significant portion of the metal powder market.”

The metal powder segment and the additive manufacturing business are of increasingly strategic importance to Sandvik, it said.

“This investment should be viewed as the latest evidence of our commitment to an area that we believe strongly in,” Göran Björkman, President of Sandvik Materials Technology, noted in the statement.

The new facility will be in Sandviken, Sweden, near in-house titanium raw material supply and the center for additive manufacturing. It is expected to be operational in 2020.

Sandvik shares are up by nearly 25% in the past year, roughly in line with competitor Atlas Copco and double the gain made by the European industrial sector index.