WAAM3D Ltd has secured what it calls a major investment from Singapore-baed engineering and technology company Accuron Technologies Ltd. The backing, raised through a Series A funding round, will enable the company to speed up the commercialization of its Wire-bAsed Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology for the aerospace and energy sectors, among others.
The WAAM process was pioneered at Cranfield University in the UK by a team led by professor Stewart Williams, the head of the university’s Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre. The innovative AM process is now in the process of being commercialized by spin-out company WAAM3D, which was incorporated in 2018.
“For more than a decade we have been researching and developing this technology,” said Williams. “It is set to have an enormous impact on manufacturing businesses around the world. I’m delighted that we can now really start to commercialise WAAM and bring real work products to market.”
The WAAM process is capable of printing large-scale metal parts while maintaining low production costs and rapid lead times. The technology uses an electric laser to melt metal wire, which then solidifies to build up a structure layer-by-layer. WAAM3D points out that its process is not only more cost-effective than other processes (wire feedstock is significantly cheaper than metal powders, for one), but is also more ecological, with fewer emissions and less material consumption.
Robert Evans, Technology Transfer Manager at Cranfield University, said of the process: “This is without doubt one of the most promising technologies that I have helped to commercialise, it will make a huge impact on manufacturing and it is also ground breaking for a spin-out to receive investment from an organisation like Accuron, we’ve had superb support from the company.”
In addition to injecting financial support, Accuron Technologies will also offer its expertise to WAAM3D to help drive the commercialization of its additive manufacturing technology and scale up its operations.
“There is a huge market potential for this technology, based on the interest we have been receiving from various industry sectors for over 10 years,” said Dr. Filomeno Martina, CEO of WAAM3D. “We are delighted to be partnering with Accuron Technologies to bring WAAM forward. The company will bring in as many as 20 staff in the coming year to scale up operations. We also aim to keep close links with Cranfield University, as well as other institutional and industrial partners, internationally.”
Tan Kai Hoe, President and CEO of Accuron Technologies, added: “We are really excited about this opportunity to invest into WAAM3D. We have been looking at several additive manufacturing technologies for a while, and we think WAAM3D’s process has a real chance to transform manufacturing. We are very impressed with the company’s technology and expertise, which allows it to make large, high-quality parts for real-world applications. With our capital investment and industrial knowledge, we hope to help the company realise its true potential.”