The UK’s Wayland Additive, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that makes the Calibur3 electron beam additive manufacturing (AM) platform, has raised £4.2 million (about $5.33 million) so far in its most recent funding round. The investment series remains open, with the metal 3D printing company setting a target of £10 million (~$12.7 million).
As a Wayland investor since 2021, Parkwalk Advisors, a UK venture fund that specializes in investing in spin-offs from UK research institutions, has contributed £2 million to the current round. Another longtime backer of Wayland, Longwall Ventures, a UK fund that focuses on companies in spaces related to “health, resilience, and sustainability”, is also a participant in the series.
The haul so far has already almost matched the company’s overall financing round from April 2023, which was oversubscribed and ended up totaling £4.6 million. Wayland is also a solid candidate to benefit from any future increase in the UK’s public funding of AM, having participated in at least one UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) project so far.
In November 2023, the UK government released its first-ever Advanced Manufacturing Plan (AMP), which details the government’s blueprint to leverage over £4.5 billion in public funds and the UK’s world-class research institution ecosystem to reshape the nation’s manufacturing base. The sectors that the AMP specifically prioritizes — automotive, aerospace, clean energy, and life sciences — are all ideal markets for a metal AM OEM like Wayland.
Wayland also seems to be turning the disadvantage of selling a product based on a comparatively less widespread technology, into the advantage of becoming one of the only players in its corner of the market. In this sense, too, Wayland’s business model aligns perfectly with the UK’s status as a relative latecomer to the global AM scale-up: it may be too late for the UK to become a global leader in laser-based metal AM, but the nation could be right on time for becoming the global leader in the electron beam market.
That could be especially critical to the UK’s push to catch up with other similarly industrialized economies in its advanced manufacturing capabilities. According to an article about electron beam AM in Metal AM, “Electrons are inherently easier and cheaper to multiply to high beam power than laser light. This makes [electron beam AM] more scalable than [laser-based methods] for future ultra-fast [AM], potentially competing with traditional manufacturing technologies for high volume applications”. That may prove to be an especially relevant factor to the global metal AM market in coming years, if the UK decides to go all in on electron beam processes.
Images courtesy of Wayland Additive
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