Prior to my endeavors into the world of 3D printing, I had been a major tech-optimist. Understanding that the exponential progress we are seeing in a number of key technological fields, I envision an incredibly bright future, no mater what field you are involved in. Whether it’s the coming of age of artificial intelligence, 3D bioprinting, a better understanding of the human genome, or the progress we are seeing in terms of solar power and renewable energies, our lives are all about to change for the better.
Probably one of the most exciting areas is material science, where researchers are finding ways to more easily mass produce a material known as graphene. Graphene is the one-atom-thick, extremely strong and light, honeycomb lattice structure of carbon atoms, which has potential applications in just about every industry. Back when I first heard about graphene, I never would have imagined how quickly this technology would have intersected that of 3D printing, but certain things are difficult to predict.
There are actually a number of companies working to further the development of 3D printable materials which incorporate graphene within them. The largest of which is Stratasys which is currently working with Graphene Technologies in a R&D partnership. Back in April, we also reported on a privately held Canadian company, Grafoid, which had also entered the space.
Yesterday this company officially opened their production facilities in Kingston, Ontario. The facilities, which will be used as the new home for Grafoid’s Mesograf, graphene based filament and powder, includes production facilities, research and development laboratories, as well as areas for graphene material testing and engineering/product development. Taking up an enormous space of 225,000 square feet, the Innovation Park center will be the hub of Grafoid’s business operations.
Gary Economo, Grafoid’s Chief Executive Officer and Founding Partner told attendees of a news conference that the company “expects to create some 160 high-value technical positions at the Innovation Park complex during the next 12-24 months, and we expect that number to grow as we expand in subsequent years.”
The company certainly has lofty goals, believing that the technologies they are developing could in themselves lead to the widespread commercialization of graphene. Additionally, they are in the process of trying to raise an another $50 million in capital for furthering their product development, as well as for possible acquisitions.
“This level of funding enables growth and supports our immediate goals of creating some 160 plus professional jobs in this facility – some of whom are already here today,” Mr. Economo said.
By the looks of things, Grafoid is serious about graphene, as well as its future applications within the additive manufacturing space. It will be interesting to see what other larger companies, such as Stratasys, have up their sleeves, and if the competition will only intensify the progress being made within both industries.
Will graphene and 3D printing soon intersect in a way which could change how everything from medical devices to airliners are manufactured? Discuss in the Grafoid expansion forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below provided by Grafoid, from their grand opening of their Ontario facility yesterday.
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