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5N Plus enters additive manufacturing market, substantially expands the company’s AM powder offering

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5N Plus, a Canadian specialty chemicals and engineered materials firm based in Montreal, entered the additive manufacturing market by launching a broad portfolio of metal powder products. The company’s recent ambition is a new addition to the Canadian AM space, where 5N Plus promises to offer power materials with melting points that range between 60°C to well over 2600°C. 5N hopes to capture significant market share with this breadth of potential materials.

5N is an employee-based spinoff of a major Canadian mining and metals company that has increasingly focused on electronics. The company was established in June of 2000 and branched into hydrometallurgical operations. It expanded its facilities to serve domestic and international clients up to 2007, when its shares (ticker: VNP) listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 5N subsequently expanded into the semiconductor market by purchasing all of its subsidiary Sylarus Technologies (renamed 5N Plus Semiconductors) in April 2014. A month later, 5N purchased a Canadian company with large intellectual property holdings for micron-sized solar and AM powders used in electronic markets.

The company’s earlier focus on microelectronics and semiconductor applications primed its employees for a move into the AM space. Employees became familiar with the miniature scale of fine electrical engineering and metallurgy. This small-scale, or local, view translates into the additive space, where quality metal powders ensure consistent printing and strong objects.

High temperature alloy powders: 5N Plus proprietary atomizing and classification technology can also be used to produce highly spherical powders from higher melting point alloys.
High temperature alloy powders: 5N Plus proprietary atomizing and classification technology can also be used to produce highly spherical powders from higher melting point alloys.

5N’s recently launched portfolio of engineered powders builds on its electrical experience by using proprietary process technologies based on copper and copper-based alloys. These engineered materials leverage optimized morphology, controlled oxygen content, ultra-high purity, surface oxide thickness uniformity and controlled particle size distribution to deliver optimal performance, as demonstrated in customer applications.

The company also contracts with external suppliers to gain access to more high-performance engineered powders in areas not covered by its product portfolio. Between the company’s internal developments and products currently under acquisition, 5N Plus’ portfolio of engineered powders is expected to span across two dozen different metal alloy compositions.

This wide range of product offerings sets the company up for a powerful entry into the AM space.

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Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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