Canadian materials science company Equispheres has been granted $8 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The backing will enable Equispheres to scale up the production capacity for its metal additive manufacturing powder over the course of the next two years.
The SDTC is a government agency that is dedicated to supporting Canadian companies and entrepreneurs with the development and deployment of “globally competitive clean technology solutions.” Ottawa-based Equispheres has qualified for $8 million in funding because its aluminum-based additive manufacturing powder can enable automotive and aerospace manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprints.
That is, Equipshere’s metal AM powder has been created specifically for automotive and aerospace applications, enabling the creation of parts that are lighter and up to 30% stronger than conventional metal AM powders. The company’s powders can also speed up the additive manufacturing process.
Translated to the automotive and aerospace industries, these three advantages can lead to the production of more efficient, higher performance and lighter vehicle components—all of which lead to most sustainable transport. According to the company, its powders can lead to a weight reduction of up to 200 kg per new car, and can improve fuel efficiency by over 10%.
“We are excited to receive this funding award from the SDTC Foundation,” said Kevin Nicholds, CEO of Equispheres. “This support from SDTC speaks to the importance of our powder technology as a key to achieving significant emissions reductions in the automotive sector. The funding from SDTC will help Equispheres to continue to accelerate our production capacity and support this important work by our automotive partners.”
Leah Lawrence, President and CEO of SDTC, added: “Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. Equispheres has developed a metal powder that acts as ink for 3D printing and enables automotive and aerospace manufacturers to reduce the weight of their products. With Equispheres’ powder set to remove 100 – 200 kg of mass from an automobile, this would be the equivalent to removing 75 million cars off the road!”
The $8 million in funding from the SDTC will enable Equispheres to accelerate its work with automotive and aerospace partners through the adoption of its additive metal powders. Recently, the company assembled a consortium—including a major automotive and big aerospace company—to showcase the benefits of its special metal powder for additive manufacturing.
The powder itself is created using a patent-pending atomization process that is capable of producing “near-perfect powder” with uniform size, sphericity and consistent microstructure. The powder is also characterized by a smoother surface and thinner oxide layer, both of which contribute to printing parts with better mechanical properties.