This is part of a project with the US Navy to test titanium metal replacement components for the Department of Defense, the companies say. The aim is to reduce production lead times and cost while meeting the requirements of aerospace applications.
According to IperionX, the US has no commercial domestic production of primary titanium metal (titanium sponge) and is now 100% import reliant after Timet’s plant in Nevada closed in 2020. The world’s largest producers of primary titanium metal are China, Japan and Russia, and only Japan, Russia and Kazakhstan have titanium sponge plants certified to produce aerospace rotating-quality sponge that can be used for aerospace engine parts and other aerospace applications. As a result, in a national emergency, U.S. production of titanium components could be curtailed, the company said.
Currently, Russian company VSMPO-AVISMA is the largest titanium supplier for parts used on Boeing 737, 767, 787, 777 and 777X airplanes.
“Having a domestic supplier of titanium alloys for additive manufacturing can address a major challenge in the supply chain,” said Ayman Salem, MRL’s founder and CEO. “The planned use of MRL’s integrated computational adaptive additive manufacturing (iCAAM) tools, machine learning, and in-situ NDE sensors will produce crucial information on the behavior of the material while keeping records of the pedigree for use in the qualification process.”
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