Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Conflux Gets $6M in Series A Round from AM Ventures for 3D Printed Heat Exchangers

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Australian heat change company Conflux Technology has just received an AUD $8.5 million (around $6.3 USD) Series A round from AM Ventures and Acorn Capital. Conflux designs and manufactures heat exchangers for the aerospace, power electronics, power generation, and automotive markets. Heat exchangers can optimise the performance, reduce energy consumption, and lengthen part life for a myriad of applications. 3D printed heat exchangers can be customised, made more specific, reduce mass, or have optimal geometries that other technologies simply can not make.

Conflux Technology CEO Michael Fuller said,

“The investments will enable us to significantly increase our capacity and capability. We will be increasing the number of metal AM machines and investing in the latest series-production platforms, continuing to grow our team and furthering our vertical integration with final post-processing of parts. Our transformation from research and development to a fully-fledged production facility is now in action. It’s exciting to be able to advance our offering and expedite long-held plans.”

Ben Dalling, Portfolio Manager at Acorn Capital states,

“Conflux is a world leader in additive manufacturing of heat exchangers – a critically important technology across many industries from aerospace to computing. We are very excited to be part of the Conflux story going forward.”

Arno Held of AM Ventures stated that,

“Heat exchangers are one of the biggest applications in 3D printing. Highly complex geometries enabling a more efficient thermal management in order to reduce energy consumption and waste of materials require highly qualified experts who are capable of mastering the best manufacturing technologies and software tools. This is exactly what makes the Conflux team unique in this world.”

Two things that you can take away from the above quotes are one, Michael’s focus on increasing production capacity and capabilities, and two, Arno’s declaration that “Heat exchangers are one of the biggest applications in 3D printing.” A focus on production to me signifies that there is proprietary knowledge in process and manufacturing that the company hopes to exploit to such a degree as to ensure its edge in the future. It also means that they are going to use this round to satisfy anticipated demand, not market their way to more customers, which is a very good sign.

A real focus on an industrial application makes this part of a new wave of companies that are addressing the manufacturing and other hard industries. Real parts for real problems is the stage of the 3D printing evolution that we find ourselves in. In the case of Conflux, the real parts that they make can radically affect industries as diverse as defence, missiles, rockets, satellites, semiconductor equipment, batteries, electronic cars, F1 cars, machine tools, HVAC, and many more. Heat sinks, heat exchangers, cold plates, and heat management tools are in millions of items. At the moment, of course, we’re too expensive to make many of the billions of heat sinks out there. But, for high end applications such as satellites, 3D printed heat sinks are already making a difference today.

By taking its expertise and focusing it on making better heat exchangers, Conflux may very well develop completely optimal geometries for heat exchange for particular applications. If it can industrialise and significantly lower costs through automation and better machines, it can Dollar by Dollar increase its addressable market until it is not making dozens of parts but thousands, tens of thousands and millions. I love AM Ventures’ investments, it’s all smart money. I love almost their entire portfolio of companies. And this again seems a very prescient bet on the future of real parts for real problems.

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