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KBM sets out to improve metal AM powder distribution

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KBM Advanced Materials has formally launched operations to finance, sell and distribute metal powders to companies in additive manufacturing, metal injection mold (“MIM”), and broader advanced manufacturing markets; the leading consumers of these powders. This is the first time a major company enters the market specifically as a distributor of multiple major metal AM powder brands. Until now metal AM powders were mostly sold by material or hardware manufacturers—or by companies that rebranded third-party materials. The fact that sufficient margins and demand now exist to support a major purely distributive business is a clear indication that the metal AM market is expanding rapidly.

The unique distribution network established by KBM will allow it to become the inventory bridge between a dispersed advanced manufacturing customer base and large metal powder producers. The business model will enable an enhanced customer experience, for producers and consumers, including exceptionally fast quoting and shipping – providing customers with the product within days.

Producers can schedule their production equipment to larger regular blanket orders from KBM. Customers can book jobs, plan R&D and operate their businesses knowing that KBM has in stock their raw material and it is only days away. This positions KBM as a value-added partner to both producers and consumers of metal powders. In addition, KBM will also provide a valuable e-commerce platform for customers that is not currently available at scale from any producer or supplier. Digital manufacturing deserves a digital marketplace for physical materials.  

The powder will be sold under the powder producer’s brand name, ensuring customers are receiving a top-quality product for their manufacturing requirements. Furthermore, the brand equity and recognition of the producers will be retained and enhanced as access to their products is increased. Currently, KBM has inventory agreements with Carpenter Additive, Höganäs AB, and Tekna Holdings AS. KBM CEO Kevin Kemper commented on the value of these trusted partnerships to serve customers, “It is essential to us that we partner with companies that are established industry leaders in order for our customers to have the confidence that they are receiving the best possible product and service. Our current catalog of powder producers is some of the most trusted in the industry”.

Support for KBM includes equity investment from Koch Metallics, LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Minerals & Trading, LLC, and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas is acting as a supply chain partner. Technical and commercial support is provided by The Barnes Global Advisors (“TBGA”), the largest independent additive manufacturing engineering consultancy. Koch Metallics Vice President Hap Palmer provided insight on this valuable partnership; “Koch is excited to partner with KBM as they look to transform the additive manufacturing supply chain. The team at KBM Advanced Materials thoroughly researched the market and provided a business plan that left no doubt as to their ability to revolutionize the additive manufacturing and MIM metal powder marketplace. This investment opportunity supports Koch’s mission to create a mutually beneficial partnership that will build more efficient supply chains in exciting and growing industries”.

To further introduce KBM capabilities to the industry, the company will host an online launch on Thursday, May 20 at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT). Stakeholders will provide a short overview, followed by breakout networking, all held on the unique online conference platform, REMO.

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Andrea Gambini

Andrea has always loved reading and writing. He started working in an editorial office as a sports journalist in 2008, then the passion for journalism and for the world of communication in general, allowed him to greatly expand his interests, leading to several years of collaborations with several popular online newspapers. Andrea then approached 3D printing, impressed by the great potential of this new technology, which day after the day pushed him to learn more and more about what he considers a real revolution that will soon be felt in many fields of our daily life.

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