Retech, an American subsidiary of the SECO/WARWICK Group, has established cooperation with GeniCore, a company dealing in composite materials engineering. Thanks to the cooperation, Retech will expand its offer in powder metal processes with spark plasma sintering.
The Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) process bonds materials using a combination of pressure and thermal energy applied to materials in a mold. It resembles Hot Pressing, but the SPS process consumes far less energy and, most importantly, can bond a broader range of materials into novel composites unachievable by other processes.
RETECH with innovative technology
The “spark” in spark plasma sintering is more of a powerful pulse of electric current that passes directly through the material in the mold form while it is under pressure. To withstand the heat and pressure, the molds are made of graphite, which is machined into a negative shape. As the material is compressed in the mold while under vacuum, a pulse of direct current is passed through the material, producing the high temperatures necessary for sinter bonding to occur. The current pulse heats the material via Joule heating rather than radiant, applying the heat only where needed, thereby using less energy than traditional hot pressing or sintering methods.
“As the global leader in vacuum metallurgical equipment, bringing SPS into our repertoire and representing its capabilities is a win for Retech, GeniCore, and our customers,” – said Earl Good, Retech Systems Managing Director and President.
What distinguishes SPS technology?
GeniCore’s pioneering advancement in SPS technology is in their Direct Current (DC) electric pulse switching, enabling the most precise DC waveform control in the emerging SPS industry — including each pulse’s current, duration, and spacing. Generating square pulses of under one millisecond, and even precisely programmable square-pulse packets, delivers tremendous energy directly into the materials being consolidated. This precision pulse control, in turn, breeds the greatest precision in sintering, resulting in uniform consolidation with minimal grain growth.
GeniCore has developed multiple SPS systems, called U-FAST (Upgraded Field Assisted Sintering Technology), each one optimized for specific applications.
Capabilities of spark plasma sintering
Many SPS applications are already employed in manufacturing, and the broad spectrum of SPS capabilities and applications are still being researched and discovered. GeniCore SPS processes are being used by manufacturers and research institutions alike, including a national laboratory, NASA, and the large EU industrial engineering company.
“The GeniCore mission is to deliver superior value to our customers through innovative SPS technology. Cooperation with Retech gives us the honor to serve discerning and distinguished customers in the North American market” — said Marcin Rosiński, GeniCore CEO.
Retech is one of the leaders in powder metallurgy, constantly seeking innovations. The partnership with GeniCore and the opportunity to offer spark plasma sintering technology will be another boost for development.