In our second 3dpbm Pulse Podcast episode of 2022, we sat down to speak with Christian Staudigel, CEO and Co-founder of Headmade Materials, as the company prepares to further scale its ColdMetalFusion technology after closing a new funding round with AM Ventures and the EIC.
After studying Mechanical Engineering at the DHBW Stuttgart and Advanced Materials and Processes at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Mr. Staudigel completed the Executive MBA program at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. Together with co-founder and managing director Christian Fischer, they invented Cold Metal Fusion technology during their work at the SKZ – The Plastics Center research institute.
ColdMetalFusion, which Staudigel also refers to as “Metal SLS” is an exciting evolution of AM as it opens up new production possibilities by combining multiple AM processes into one. It is a hybrid technology that leverages the strengths of bound metal processes with plastics powder bed fusion and MIM. In fact, the founders started with injection molding and found a way to build a bridge in between MIM and SLS laser sintering.
In doing so, they understood the potential of the existing installed base of thousands of running SLS printers available worldwide and that these systems could be converted into metal printers. They have since expanded the initial idea to launch an entire platform to enable industrial manufacturing, working in stealth mode with key players in the AM field behind. Now they have come of stealth and into the open.
“In general, ColdMetalFusion is providing uniform part properties and superior shrinkage to other technologies. That is how we achieve final part properties that you would usually only expect from injection molding or casting,” Staudigel explained during our interview. “As we discussed earlier, the furnace is a central topic where you can leverage these properties. The bigger the furnace you have, the more you can reduce your part costs. In the automotive industry they have furnaces with conveyor belts. We will have to start at smaller series sizes, but that’s the potential of CMF and many big manufacturers already own the necessary equipment.
“Reliability – Staudigel added – is also a major advantage. Cold Metal Fusion runs on standard machines available from multiple suppliers. That means proven equipment that is used in operational environment since decades. The process implementation at Element 22 took just 3 days and the company has been producing since then without any issues. Then there is also the higher green part strength. Since our feedstock consists of micro-granules we can also use powder with different shapes and sizes without affecting our process.
Headmade Materials just became part of the AM Ventures Fund, and today we had the opportunity to exclusively speak with Christian Staudigel and learn more about how the technology works, their business models and their expectations for future growth in high volume metal AM production.
We have many amazing episodes of the 3dpbm Pulse Podcast lined up to coincide with major events and announcements from the coolest, most exciting and most innovative companies in the world of AM, so stay tuned!