Wayland Additive, a business that has earned its place as a leader in the electron beam (EBM) additive manufacturing (AM) sector, raised £4.6 million ($5.7 million) in a Series B investment round. The fund infusion was led by existing investors, the UK financial backers Longwall Ventures, Parkwalk Advisors, and Angel CoFund (ACF) Investors, along with new participant Metrea Discovery, a London-based venture capital (VC) firm seeking to invest in national security and defense tech sectors. This latest round brings the company’s total funding close to £8 million ($10 million).
In 2019, Wayland Additive raised £3 million ($3.7 million) in a Series A funding round led by Longwall Ventures, ACF Investors, and other sponsors. At the time, the West Yorkshire, UK-based company was coming out of stealth mode and used the funds to develop further its eBeam-based powder bed fusion system Calibur3 which was launched two years later.
Now, the startup will use the recently infused cash to increase its in-house production capability to deliver more machines and materials to customers. In addition, Wayland plans to expand its recruitment capacities and support further research and development in AM technology.
Wayland recently ramped up production of its Calibur3 machine after realizing they needed to “cater to the unprecedented demand,” explained the brand’s Operations Manager, Dan Rushton, earlier this year. Currently, Wayland has six machines in production, addressing existing orders, but plans to produce another ten machines by the end of 2023 and twenty-four more in 2024. This move could shift the company away from its “make to order” model and towards a “buy off the shelf” production format as it strives to reduce delivery times.
Wayland’s production initiatives and funding come at a time when OEM (original equipment manufacturer) machine providers are typically increasing their delivery times, in some instances quoting between 18 and 24 months from order, explains the firm. In addition, as a subset within the larger AM industry, eBeam or electron beam melting (EBM) AM hardware manufacturing businesses are dealing with an increase in demand. Luckily the space is also becoming more competitive, having grown from just a handful of players to more than a dozen firms in the last few years, including pioneers like Arcam (a GE Additive company), Freemelt, and JEOL.
With demand for its Calibur3 system rising, Wayland has made significant investments in resourcing and allocating space for a larger production line area, as well as addressing bottlenecks in sourcing supply chain-affected parts and components to speed up machine production times.
“Since our last funding round, we have formally launched our machines into the market and are already seeing considerable traction, with demand from across the globe,” commented Will Richardson, CEO of Wayland Additive. “By providing bespoke additive manufacturing to our customers, we can play a pivotal role in streamlining their operations and give them the tools to unlock their potential with high value components at the touch of a button. It’s great to have our existing investors continuing to support us as we grow, as well as new strategic investor Metrea. We are excited by the prospect of bringing our machines to businesses who need them around the world and this investment will supercharge that mission.”
Extending the boundaries of 3D printing, Wayland uses its eBeam technology to deliver new products in sectors such as aerospace, power generation, and medical industries. With customers like the Royal Air Force (RAF) in England and Exergy Solutions in Canada, its machines are being used to create parts, such as structural components for planes, cooling assemblies for rockets, gearboxes for motorsports, and pumps for mining.
While the use of metal AM is growing and gaining traction, Wayland hopes its Calibur3 system featuring the proprietary NeuBeam process will be the first choice for applications that demand difficult-to-process metals and open up a range of areas impossible for other metal AM processes to serve. The key to Calibur3’s success lies in its NeuBeam technology process, which Wayland says “neutralizes” the problems associated with existing laser and other eBeam powder bed fusion metal AM processes.
Developed in-house from the ground up by a team of physicists that have worked for many decades with electron beam technology and industrial systems in the semiconductor industry. NeuBeam has allowed Wayland to develop a reliable system rather than imitating existing methods or adapting off-the-shelf components and re-purposing them.
Wayland’s technology is built on highly sophisticated scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron beam lithography developments. It is expected to offer high productivity levels, material versatility, process monitoring, and control. The company has acquired IP from Reliance Precision Limited, Huddersfield, which has developed AM technologies for years.
Tim Mills, managing partner at ACF Investors, concludes that “Wayland continues to move from strength to strength and is a leading light of Yorkshire’s business community. Through its machines, Wayland is pioneering the next generation of additive manufacturing, opening up new applications and unlocking new materials.”
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