IperionX & MRL Partner to Qualify and Demonstrate U.S. Titanium Metal Powder for the U.S. Navy

·3 min read
  • IperionX has formally partnered with MRL to qualify and demonstrate the performance of IperionX’s U.S. produced titanium powder for additively manufactured aerospace parts. This partnership supports an MRL project with the U.S. Navy to test titanium flight critical metal replacement components for the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD").

  • MRL is an Ohio-based company with over 10 years of experience working with the U.S. DoD, which recently was awarded US$72 million by the U.S. Air Force, and will conduct the printing and testing of the components.

  • MRL has worked on over 30 combined projects with the DoD and DoE to produce and qualify additively manufactured metal parts that can replace conventionally produced parts.

  • IperionX is actively engaged in multiple U.S. DoD discussions regarding the reshoring of a 100% U.S. sourced titanium supply chain for military components, and the partnership with MRL is expected to result in further projects with other agencies within the DoD.

  • The titanium supply chain is a critical issue for the U.S. defense industrial base as there is no commercial domestic primary titanium metal production. Titanium metal production is now 70% controlled by China & Russia.

  • IperionX is the only company in the U.S. focused on an end-to-end U.S. titanium supply chain to counter the dominance of China and Russia in the production of primary titanium metal.

  • IperionX is producing titanium metal powders from its operational pilot facility in Utah from titanium metal scrap and will be rapidly scaling the production from this facility in 2022.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 02, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IperionX Limited (ASX: IPX) ("IperionX" or "Company") is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Ohio-based aerospace additive manufacturing company Materials Resources, LLC ("MRL") to qualify and demonstrate the performance of IperionX’s high quality titanium alloy powders for additively manufactured aerospace parts under an MRL project with the U.S. Navy to test titanium flight critical metal replacement components for the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD").

IperionX has supplied MRL with titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) powders from the Company’s fully operational pilot facility in Utah, which will be used to produce flight critical components via metallic additive manufacturing to reduce production lead times and cost while achieving the demanding requirements of aerospace.

The U.S. 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. Given the lack of domestic production capacity, and that the U.S. no longer maintains titanium sponge in the National Defense Stockpile, downstream titanium producers, including producers of goods such as ingot, billet, sheet, coil, and tube, are almost all entirely dependent on non-U.S. sources of titanium.

This presents the possibility that in a national emergency, U.S. production of titanium components would be curtailed as a result of being denied access to imports of titanium sponge, limiting the ability to serve customers requirements, including the defense sector.

Further, currently 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 sensitive aerospace applications, with Russian company VSMPO-AVISMA being the largest titanium supplier for Boeing commercial production for parts used on Boeing 737, 767, 787, 777 and 777X airplanes.

Ayman Salem, MRL’s Founder and CEO said: "Having a domestic supplier of titanium alloys for additive manufacturing can address a major challenge in the supply chain. Demonstrating the repeatability and reproducibility of properties in flight critical components will close the loop from powder to fatigue performance. 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."

Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX’s Managing Director and CEO said: "We are very pleased to be working with MRL to produce and test parts for the U.S. Department of Defense utilizing U.S. sourced titanium alloy powders. The U.S. has no commercial domestic production of primary titanium metal and is 100% import reliant, presenting the possibility that in a national emergency U.S. production of titanium components would be curtailed as a result of being denied access to imports of titanium sponge, limiting the ability to serve customers requirements, including the defense sector.

We see this partnership with MRL as an important step in the reshoring of a 100% U.S. sourced titanium supply chain for military components."

Full details can be found here.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220302005399/en/

Contacts

Anastasios (Taso) Arima, CEO
Dominic Allen, Corporate Development
info@iperionx.com
+1 704 461 8000