• Perfect proof

    Perfect proof

    South Africa has ramped up its 3D printing capabilities by developing the very first pure platinum 3D printing prototype.

    As reported by Mining Review Africa, the 3D printing prototype of pure platinum jewellery was manufactured using selective laser melting. It is the result of an initiative by PlatForum – a partnership between the Central University of Technology, North West University, Vaal University of Technology and platinum miner Lonmin, which produced the platinum powder. In October this year, the powder was tested and machine parameters were optimised, after which prototype rings were printed.

    According to Wilma Swarts, Lonmin marketing head and PlatForum director, ‘the introduction of the additive manufacturing [the process of producing functional parts using 3D printing] using precious metals will contribute and add to the range of applications where the properties of PGMs [platinum group metals] are used’.

    Additive manufacturing using precious metals creates new opportunities for value-added processing and mineral beneficiation. ‘Intricate and lightweight PGM products can be manufactured at speed, presenting new opportunities for PGMs, socio-economic development, Lonmin and the platinum mining sector,’ she says.

    21 November 2017
    Image: Lonmin