During 25 years of operation Accushape™ Inc has developed a substantial body of knowledge, techniques and equipment for the processing of titanium powder, including, screening, size reduction and pressing of powder with subsequent sintering to make net shape parts of titanium and alloys. The majority of that effort has been with the use of Titanium Sponge Granules (TSG) made by the Sodium Reduction method. Further, Accushape™ has obtained and tested nearly all types of titanium powder available. Such tests have established that TSG produce the best results for most applications either used alone on in combination with other types of titanium powder and master alloys.
There are a limited number of other players in the titanium powder metal field. The technology is not widely held (as compared for example to steel and aluminum). Over the years many efforts by large and small entities have come and gone, during which time Accushape™ has developed a successful, profitable and expanding business.
A search will find many papers over the past 30 years extolling the potential of net shape titanium parts. The processing of titanium powder is not a simple task. Successful processing of titanium powder into useable parts is a very difficult task, few have been commercially successful. During that time new technologies such as investment casting, extrusion, hearth melting, water jet and wire EDM machining have substantially reduced the cost and increased the material yields from conventional wrought processes thereby reducing or in some cases eliminating the claimed advantages of net shapes from powder. Material losses from processing were once relegated to the lowest value for ferro titanium. Now recycle of titanium is a maturing process and users are controlling the recycle process reducing cost and material losses. Further, some proponents have not adequately understood the difference between the buy cost and the cost to make or the response by titanium producers and parts makers to competitive threats.
In general, Accushape has chosen to keep such technology secret. Even with the disclosures in the patents described herein successful production of net shape titanium parts in a large scale will not be easily accomplished by others who do not have the accumulated techniques and knowledge base.
That is not to say we have a total monopoly in the technology, others may be operating quietly, as has Accushape™ but clearly the number of entities in the world that have made hundreds of thousands of titanium powder metal parts for commercial applications is very limited. There is a formidable barrier to widespread competition.