A significant landmark in the development of Liberty Powder Metal’s new £10m powder metals facility at the Materials Processing Institute’s Teesside campus has been reached.

Various pieces of equipment which make up the state-of-the-art vacuum induction inert gas atomiser were craned in and safely lowered into position after the roof of the building was removed on Thursday (19 December). The weight of the main lift was 13.5 tons.

The facility is designed to achieve the highest-quality stainless steel and superalloy powders, helping LPM, part of the GFG Alliance of industrial companies, enhance its status in a global market estimated to be worth £8bn a year.

Alongside the atomiser, there are plans to install a range of sieving, blending, packaging and analytical equipment.

The facility will allow Liberty Powder Metals to develop a new generation of powdered steels that can overcome the traditional barriers to 3D printing and enhance its position in the supply chain for precision steel components used in rapidly-changing and advanced sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy and specialist industrial equipment.

Being located on the campus provides it easy access to both the Institute’s leading research facilities and the expertise based there.

Simon Pike, General Manager, LPM and Technical Director, Liberty Steel UK, commented said: “After a lot of work by the team, we are so proud now to see our plans coming to fruition. This development is another step forward in our strategy to be at the leading edge of sustainable and innovative metals manufacturing.”

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “It’s pleasing to see significant progress being made in the development of this cutting-edge project.”

Commissioning is due to take place shortly with the aim of producing powders for sale from March next year.