Governments of Canada and Quebec invest in advanced manufacturing, induction plasma technology
The $128.4 million investment will help create 170 jobs and help TEKNA produce innovative metallic powders used in additive manufacturing.
In June, the federal government of Canada announced a $21.1 million investment in TEKNA Plasma Systems Inc, a Quebec-based advanced manufacturing company. Additionally, Quebec announced a $9.4-million investment, bringing the total value of the project up to $128.4 million. In addition to creating 170 new jobs and investing in Quebec’s advanced manufacturing industry, TEKNA says the money will help the company produce innovative metallic powders used in additive manufacturing and attract direct foreign investment.
TEKNA’s business centers around its patented induction plasma technology (ICP), which uses electromagnetically induced plasma torches to produce temperatures as hot as the sun to refine materials to a desired quality. In a process called spheroidization, for example, ICP liquifies raw, heterogeneous metal particles, like Ti64 titanium alloy. The liquified “droplets” are then cooled to form perfectly spherical powders prized in metal AM applications. The technology can also be used in Nanopowder synthesis where metal powders are vaporized and then cooled into nanoparticles. These particles can then be used in metal injection moulding and hot isostatic pressing. Outside of build material production, the company’s technology can simulate the harsh conditions objects faces when re-entering earth’s atmosphere. Using plasma arc tunnels TEKNA has been able to experiment heavily with heat shields and thermal protection systems.
Much of the funding TEKNA received will go towards R&D in the hopes of finding further industries through which their ICP technology can be applied. TEKNA’s project will help the company increase its total manufacturing production capacity and footprint in Sherbrooke, stimulate collaboration with Canadian post-secondary institutions and help strengthen the Montréal–Sherbrooke advanced manufacturing cluster and supply chain.