Altana acquires TLS 3D metal powders

Altana, which develops a range of speciality chemicals including some for the printing and packaging industries, has completed its acquisition of TLS Technik GmbH & Co, which produces high‑quality metal powders for industrial 3D printing.

Altana’s Eckart division specialises in meta powders for use in various industries, including printing inks, paints and cosmetics, and now also 3D printing.

Altana will add the TLS business to its existing Eckart division, renaming this as Eckart TLS. Eckart itself has specialised in producing metallic effect and pearlescent pigments for printing inks, paints, industrial coatings and cosmetics so this acquisition represents a strategic expansion into the additive manufacturing market.

This includes development of alloys, such as the patented special alloy A20X for lightweight components of the British company Aluminium Materials Technologies Ltd, which Altana acquired last year.

The acquisition includes the TLS production facility in Bitterfeld, Germany, and some 40 employees. Altana has said that it plans for this site to become a center of excellence for metal-based 3D printing. In the future, Eckart will be involved in the optimisation and development of metal powders, from aluminum to zirconium alloys, for 3D printing. The company also plans to produce metal powders for coating processes and other powder applications from the same site.

Dr Wolfgang Schütt, president of Eckart, explained: “TLS’s expertise in the manufacture of metal powders and alloys for metallic 3D printing supplements the strengths of Eckart as an experienced specialist in the atomization of metals.” He added: “With the acquisition, we are expanding our business with functional applications and positioning ourselves in a technological market of the future.”

Altana itself is split into four divisions, which include Eckart, Actega, Byk, and Elantas. It’s worth noting that Altana has also invested in Landa Digital Printing since 2014 and acquired Landa’s metallography technology back in 2017.

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