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2 September 2021 News Release

CSIRO developing wire from waste for additive manufacturing 003

[Music plays and an image appears of strands of titanium wire and text appears: We’ve developed a novel process for turning titanium alloy waste into high-value titanium wire for 3D printing]

[Image changes to show an Australian map and a manufacturing facility can be seen faintly in the background and text appears on the map: It’s an Australian first]

[Image changes to show a large 3-D printed metal object and text appears: The wire can be used for wire additive manufacturing…]

[Image changes to show a white powder pouring down onto a dark surface and text appears: …or to produce powders that can be used for making complex 3D printed parts]

[Image changes to show hands holding a 3-D metal printed device in front of the chest and text appears: …suitable for aerospace, biomedical and automotive]

[Image changes to show wire moving through a machine and text appears: Our wire will be benchmarked against what is produced overseas…]

[Image changes to show a view looking down on a pile of waste product and text appears: … but it will be much cheaper because it is made from waste product]

[Image changes to show copper wire on a stand gradually rotating in a clockwise direction and text appears: We’ve proven our process, producing copper wire from copper rod…]

[Image changes to show a male operating a machine at the end of a manufacturing process and a roll of copper wire can be seen moving through the process and text appears: … and now we’re transitioning to make pre-commercial amounts of titanium wire at pilot scale]

[Image changes to show a digital model of the extrusion process and text appears: We’re using computational modelling to optimise our patented extrusion process]

[Images move through of two males looking at the manufacturing process, and then a close view of the manufacturing process and text appears: It’s another example of CSIRO growing an Australian sovereign capability…]

[Image changes to show a close view of the copper wire rotating on a large reel and then the image changes to show a facing view of the copper wire rotating and text appears: … and boosting Australia’s global competitiveness]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO and the SIEF logos on a white screen and text appears: This research is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund]

[Music plays and image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

We're developing a low-cost titanium wire from waste product, that is suitable for use in metal 3D printing.

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The team is the first in Australia to produce titanium wire this way.

CSIRO Team Leader, Dr Robert Wilson, said the researchers used low-cost titanium alloy particulates like machining swarf to produce a wire that can be used to make 3D printed parts such as aerospace components.

“The result is a product that is significantly cheaper than titanium wire made by conventional processes,“ Dr Wilson said.

The wire is being fine-tuned for use in large format additive manufacturing such as Sciaky electron beam manufacturing and Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) - processes that melt the wire to form beads that stick together to create a layer of metal material that is then built up to form the 3D printed part.

The global market for titanium wire is worth over $200 million (AUD).

There is a lucrative market for 2.5mm to 3mm titanium wire as feed for this type of wire-additive manufacturing, and the cheaper wire generated from recycled sources can also be used to produce metal powders for 3D printing.

The patented wire extrusion process, which is optimised using computational modelling, is being demonstrated to produce 50kg of titanium wire at pilot scale. The team is working to scale this up to 100-300kgs pre-commercial volumes over coming months.

Director of the Australasian Wire Industry Association, Richard Newbigin, said Australia is well represented in various types of wire manufacturing, but until now has lacked sovereign capability in wire production for additive manufacturing.

“Currently, Australian additive manufacturers have to source their titanium wire offshore, but this new capability will change that,” Mr Newbigin said.

CEO of additive manufacturing company Amaero International, Barrie Finnin, agrees that locally produced titanium alloy wire and powders offer a valuable local capability for Australia’s growing additive manufacturing sector.

“This technology has the potential to put Australia on the map as a competitive supplier of aerospace grade titanium alloy wire for additive manufacturing and will greatly impact on our global competitiveness,” Mr Finnin said.

“Even better, the end product will be comparable to what is currently available overseas, but much cheaper because it is using waste product.”

The wire can be used to make large complex parts for markets such as aerospace, biomedical, defence, marine, automotive, construction and consumer goods.

This research is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.


We have developed a novel and innovative process for turning cheap, alloy particulate waste into a high value wire product suitable for additive manufacturing of aerospace components. ©  Nick Pitsas
Our wire production process has been demonstrated at pilot plant scale for 5 to 12mm diameter product produced continuously up to 10m in length. ©  Nick Pitsas

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