Former Scunthorpe steelmaker leads developments for Liberty on Teesside

Dr Pike, centre, explains the plans

A former technical specialist with the steel industry in Scunthorpe is leading the drive to create powered metals for Liberty Steel on Teesside.

Dr Simon Pike is now General Manager for Liberty Powder Metals, and is working on a project which Liberty believes will allow it to tap into a global market worth £8bn a year.

Liberty is part of the GFG Alliance of industrial companies, and has begun construction of the powder metals development facility in Teesside that will expand the group’s reach in specialist metals and, ultimately, into the emerging market for materials for 3D printing.

Representatives of Liberty Powder Metals, Atomising Systems Ltd, and Stockton-based K-Home International joined the Mayor of the Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, to celebrate the milestone at the Materials Processing Institute research and innovation campus where the facility will be based.

An initial £10m is being invested to set up the Liberty Powder Metals business including a state-of-the-art vacuum induction inert gas atomiser at its core.

The facility is designed to achieve the highest-quality stainless steel and superalloy powders, helping Liberty to enhance its status in a global market estimated to be worth £8bn a year. The atomiser will allow Liberty to develop a new generation of powdered steels that can overcome the traditional barriers to 3D printing and enhance Liberty’s 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.

Internationally-recognised Atomising Systems Ltd (ASL) alongside partners Consarc Engineering have designed the equipment while K-Home International, a globally experienced engineering specialist, is managing the installation at the Materials Processing Institute.

General Manager for Liberty Powder Metals, Dr Simon Pike, said: “We are grateful to our partners for the work they have done to reach this stage. Finance from Tees Valley Combined Authority has been critical in making the project a reality and I look forward to continuing all our partnerships to make Teesside a world-leading centre of expertise for powder metal production.”