MBIE funding for titanium brings lighter deep sea dive knife closer

23 September 2014

Brian Gabbitas

Research team project leader: University of Waikato Professor Brian Gabbitas.

The development of titanium products received a financial boost in the latest round of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) science research funding.

Titanium Technologies New Zealand (TiTeNZ) was awarded $14,490,000 (including GST) over a six year period. The titanium research, led by Professor Ian Brown, the science leader from Callaghan Innovation, in conjunction with Waikato University research team project leader Professor Brian Gabbitas, is being undertaken by leading applied materials research groups at the University of Waikato, Auckland University, GNS Science, Callaghan Innovation and the Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA).

World leader in titanium technology

“This is great news for the School of Engineering, the University and our research partners because it helps us develop and maintain our world-leadership in titanium technology, and develop a titanium-based industry to support the New Zealand economy,” says Professor Gabbitas.

TiTeNZ is developing various products from titanium and titanium alloys for its main industrial partner, South Auckland Forgings Engineering (SAFE), currently working on two main projects: the development of components for the breathing apparatus of a deep sea diving helmet, and a deep sea diving knife, both of which have traditionally been made from heavier stainless steel.

“Titanium is only 60% of the weight of stainless steel, so there’s considerable weight-saving and corrosion-resistant benefits in marine environments,” says Professor Gabbitas.


TiTeNZ builds on current research and infrastructure to develop new high strength, low weight, high durability materials and products for export by designing and transferring to industry new processes to optimise the properties of titanium alloy materials formed primarily through powder metallurgy.

A mix of paths to market will deliver business and export benefits valued by the industry at more than $100 million by 2023, on track to achieve a one billion dollar per year titanium-based export industry before 2030.

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