SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is a popular 3D printing method for good reason. It produces functional, complex, durable parts without requiring support structures, meaning that finished parts require relatively little post-processing. The technology was invented more than three decades ago and has been reliable and effective in all its years of existence, but there’s been one drawback – it’s only possible to 3D print objects using one material at a time. This same drawback has afflicted most 3D printing methods for years, until recently advances in the technology have allowed for multi-material printing in FDM and other methods. SLS, however, has remained a single-material technology.
That changed with the emergence of Aerosint, a Belgian startup that is dedicated to revolutionizing powder bed 3D printing. The company’s patent-pending technology has multiple benefits: it saves on powder, eliminating the need to recycle material; and it allows for 3D printing in both polymer and metal materials – separately or simultaneously. Aerosint is exploring high-performance materials like PEEK and PPS, and has stated that its technology can work with other materials as well, such as ceramics or organic materials.The possibilities of Aerosint’s technology are exciting: a few examples the company has given as potential products are rigid prosthetics with localized flexible cushioning; optimally shaped batteries with improved capacity for electric cars; and other multi-color, multi-material objects.
Aerosint will soon be advancing its technology further, as the company has just informed us it has closed a financing round of €850,000. This was the startup’s second funding round, and participants included Meusinvest Group and Innovation Fund as well as private investor Peter Mercelis. Mercelis co-founded LayerWise, a company that focused on metal 3D printing for medical applications and was purchased by 3D Systems in 2014. He will also join Aerosint’s board of directors.
“Peter brings more than 15 years of experience in 3D printing to the project,” said Edouard Moens, Co-Founder and CEO of Aerosint. “We are convinced that his unique expertise and network in 3D printing will open up new doors for the Aerosint technology. Peter has a very strong reputation in the 3D printing industry and we are thrilled to have the chance to work with him.”
The latest round of funding will be used to strengthen the company’s existing patent portfolio, finance collaborative development projects, and advance the technology further. In the next year or two, Aerosint also plans to double its current team of six to accelerate development and shorten time to market.
“When I first met the Aerosint team I was immediately convinced by their strength as a group and by the cleverness and robustness of their core technology,” said Mercelis. “What they have achieved with a relatively small team in only 2 years of development is quite impressive. Their technology is a true innovation that opens the door to plenty of very unique opportunities in polymer, metal, and ceramics 3D printing and beyond. At the same time the technology is perfectly compatible with many of the existing printing methods. Technical challenges remain but none that can’t be overcome. I believe the next months are going to be very exciting for the company now that their first full sintering prototype is ready.”
The Meusinvest Group and Innovation Fund have funded Aerosint in a previous round, and are pleased to do so again.
“We believe the project has a lot of potential and a clear economic value in a fast growing industry,” said Marc Foidart, Vice General Director of Muesinvest Group. “Peter Mercelis will be an important addition to the board and will help to accelerate Aerosint’s development.”
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