Metal powder producer finds the right mix

May 06, 2016— Sorel-Tracy, Quebec

Successful partnership creates winning formula

As a major producer of metal powders in over thirty countries, Quebec-based Rio Tinto Metal Powders (RTMP) has earned its place as a world-leading supplier for the iron and steel powder industry. With products that serve the automotive, appliance, electric tool and lawn & garden industries, RTMP has a strong interest in releasing new innovations into the marketplace that meet the evolving needs of their customers.

One such product is RTMP's flagship FLOMET™ mix technology, a combination of binder-treated powders that bond small additive particles to larger iron powder particles as a way to increase the productivity of compacting presses and part-to-part consistency. In addition to improving powder flow rate, this technology also provides for a safer and cleaner work environment, and adds value to RTMP's full line of products that continue to gain market penetration at a high rate.

Relying on strong partnerships to help develop and market specialty mix products within the powder metallurgy market, including a twenty-year partnership with the National Research Council (NRC), RTMP's technology solutions continue to lead to impressive gains at home in Canada and abroad.

Combining resources for strong collaboration

Involved from the very beginning of the platform's development, NRC and RTMP have seen an increased demand for the FLOMET technology platform from countries across the globe, particularly in the creation of press/sinter structural parts for the automotive sector. As a result, the use of RTMP's proprietary technology has expanded to include warm pressing mixes, green machining products, soft magnetic composites and environmental applications.

As part of the longstanding partnership, RTMP has gained access to state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable experts, allowing them to expand their fields of application and advance the science of metal powders. "The success of FLOMET right now is strongly linked to the NRC partnership," says Rio Tinto Ferrous Products R&D Director Chantal Labrecque. The ongoing collaboration has also enabled RTMP to obtain several technology patents, including one for their highly successful line of FLOMET mixes.

Strategically located on the St. Lawrence River in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, RTMP's Canadian manufacturing plant provides easy access by ship, rail and truck routes to allow a year-round gateway for its global suppliers, distributors and close collaborators. RTMP's collaboration with NRC has helped the company to establish themselves as a key player in the manufacturing and development of essential end-user products for the automotive industry.

A global reach

With a solid track record of success, it is no surprise that RTMP continues to trust NRC as an extension of their R&D team. "NRC significantly contributed to developing the second generation of these products, improving their performance and our process control," adds Chantal Labrecque.

With an eye on the future and access to world-class expertise, RTMP continues to develop new technologies, which include the third generation of FLOMET products, an improved lubrication system and materials for soft magnetic composite applications. These activities are conducted in partnership with NRC.

Rio Tinto Alcan, a sister group to RTMP under their parent company Rio Tinto, signed a five-year partnership with NRC with plans to establish an aluminium extrusion centre of excellence that will reinforce local expertise in the aluminium industry while enhancing Canada's competitive position in the global marketplace. All with the goal of pressing forward and forging strong bonds toward the future.

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