It used to be that the only way to produce metallic glass, or amorphous metal, was to rapidly cool it before the solid-state crystalline structure was able to form. This made it hard to produce amounts that were big enough to be widely used for industrial purposes. But last year, Swedish startup Exmet AB teamed up with materials company Heraeus Group to develop a 3D printing process for amorphous metal components. That partnership has been pretty successful so far, and today, we learned that Exmet has entered into an investment agreement with advanced manufacturing investor AM Ventures (AMV), which will help accelerate the development of Exmet’s amorphous metals additive manufacturing technology, and also get new functional products to the market more quickly.
The funding from AM Ventures aims to speed up the commercialization process of Exmet’s amorphous metals; to help move this process along, Exmet recently set up new offices in Stockholm, and a manufacturing facility, which has a productive EOS M 290 3D printing system on site that will be used to additively manufacture the high-performance metal components Exmet is now famous for.
Mattias Unosson, CEO of Exmet, said, “We are very pleased that AM Ventures, with its access to the EOS ecosystem and AM markets, has joined the amorphous adventure. You simply can’t find an investor that is more tech and business savvy in metal AM.”
Strategic, independent investor AM Ventures generally focuses on advanced manufacturing, but particularly on industrial 3D printing. The company was founded in 2015 by the CEO of the EOS Group, Dr. Hans J. Langer, and funds startups that focus on software, hardware, applications, and materials related to industrial 3D printing. The company gives startups access to leading technologies, funding and the Langer group’s business network, which includes ScanLab and industrial metal 3D printing leader EOS.Amorphous metal alloys have unparalleled properties, as they don’t have the same crystalline microstructure one expects to find in regular alloys like steel. Metallic glasses can be up to three times as strong as conventional metal alloys, and are energy-absorbing and pretty much entirely scratch-proof. They have high electrical conductivity properties, and are pretty much corrosion-proof, due to their high resistance to water. There hasn’t been a good general manufacturing method for the materials, which are also known as glassy alloys and bulk metallic glasses (BMG). But Exmet’s patented, disruptive technology takes away the limits of melt spinning, casting, and thermoplastic forming usually seen in manufacturing amorphous metals, and makes it possible for designers and engineers to exploit the material’s properties.
“We are looking forward to support Exmet on their way to amorphous metal parts with completely new new and unique properties,” said Johann Oberhofer, Executive Vice President Technology, AM Ventures. “Our aim is not only to support through funding and technology, but also through our market access and management competencies which will be of significant help for Exmet. AMV will also assist Exmet and their customers when it comes to ramping up specific successful amorphous metal components to economic serial production to fully exploit the superior mechanical and magnetic properties of these components.”
Thanks to Exmet’s technology, products of nearly any shape and alloy, like titanium, iron, magnesium, aluminum, or cobalt-based, can be manufactured, that are not affected by corrosion and have low magnetization loss. These materials have extreme weight reduction, thanks to their elasticity and “extreme strength.” Applications for objects made from amorphous metal materials include nanoparticles, consumer electronics, medical implants, and strong electronic components. Discuss in the Exmet forum at 3DPB.com.