Warsaw firm pioneers “revolutionary” tech that turns precious metals into powder

The ATO Noble atomiser could make 3D printing in precious metals much more cost efficient. 3D Lab

A Polish company has created some “revolutionary technology” that could transform the production of jewellery, satellites and even pacemakers by turning precious metals into powder for 3D printing.

3D Lab, from Warsaw, has come up with the ATO Noble, which uses a patented process, known as ultrasonic plasma atomisation to melt non-reactive precious metals into a powder form. Typically powder atomisers take up a large space and infrastructure that requires a high volume of raw product.

Jakub Rozpendowski, co-founder of 3D LAB (centre).3D Lab/Facebook

The ATO Noble, however, has been specially designed to be compact, reducing the space required to house the device and allowing much smaller quantities of raw material to be used. The company claims that their process captures 100 percent of the powder to be atomised.

The new machine has already been adopted by industry leader Cooksongold who have over 100 years of expertise in every aspect of precious metals.

“We’re pleased to start our collaboration with Cooksongold in the production of precious metal powders,” Jakub Rozpendowski, co-founder of 3D LAB, said in a press release. “Their expert knowledge combined with our novel ultrasonic atomisation technology has a great potential to make ATO Noble an important solution for new metal material development by reducing the time to market for new, innovative products.”

With an estimated $350 billion worth of gold in satellites orbiting the Earth, the potential to reduce the cost of wastage in satellite production could provide significant savings.NASA

The machine can be used in sectors such as jewellery, health care, the electronics industry and aerospace. The 3D printed jewellery market has been dominated by plastic trinkets but the possibility of creating custom-designed pieces from gold, silver and platinum could upend an industry that is aimed at making the consumer feel unique.

“We are excited to announce this partnership with 3D Lab.  We are confident that this revolutionary technology will have a major impact within the whole precious metal additive manufacturing market.  Powder quality and costs are key drivers in this field this technology will offer considerable advantages,” said Martin Bach, managing director of Cooksongold.

The possibility of using 3D printing for custom-designed jewellery could upend an industry that is aimed at making the consumer feel unique.Shapeways/Facebook

The need for precious metals in electronics has been hampered by waste and the cost of specialists able to create intricate details on a minute level. 3D printing allows for things to be created to the finest detail with little to no wastage. The aerospace industry could also benefit. With an estimated $350 billion worth of gold in satellites orbiting the Earth, the potential to reduce the cost of wastage in satellite production could provide significant savings.

Precious metals have long being used in dentistry, and gold and silver are used for their antimicrobial properties in various medicines and salves but it is in medical devices such as gold in pacemakers where the biggest impact could be felt from 3D printing of precious metals.