Equispheres Secures C$20M for Metal 3D Printing Powders with Automotive Backing

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Ottawa-based metal powder maker Equispheres Inc. announced an impressive initial close of its Series B financing round, amassing approximately C$20 million. This significant financial injection was led by Martinrea International Inc., a global leader in automotive production, marking a strategic partnership that underscores the growing adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) by the automotive sector.

Equispheres specializes in a unique atomization technology that significantly enhances the capabilities of metal powders used in industrial additive manufacturing. The company’s aluminum materials have been shown to increase printing speeds by up to nine times over existing industry standards. This not only cuts production costs by up to 80% but also improves the mechanical properties of printed parts, which enhances energy efficiency, reusability, and safety across the metal additive manufacturing industry. Altogether, such gains, without major hardware modification to a printer, are impressive, to say the least.

Comparison of Mono-size powders– Equispheres vs. Competitor. Image courtesy of Equispheres.

The recent funding will fuel the expansion of Equispheres’ operations, including the addition of multiple new reactors in 2024, facility expansions, and the deepening of collaborative efforts on new materials with strategic partners.

“The potential of additive manufacturing to transform traditional manufacturing is undeniable as evidenced by the fact that most of the top companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors are actively engaged. Yet widespread industrial adoption requires a leap in productivity,” said Kevin Nicholds, President and CEO of Equispheres. “By working closely with global leaders in automotive, aerospace and defense, we have been able to use our technology to engineer materials that unlock new high-speed additive manufacturing processes and new applications.”

An Aconity3D part made with Equispheres powder. Image courtesy of Equispheres.

Martinrea International (TSX: MRE) is a $1.3 billion revenue manufacturer of auto parts, including engine blocks and transmissions, for some of the world’s largest auto companies, such as Ford, GM, Stellantis, Tesla, and Toyota. Equispheres has already had support from the firm in the past, alongside backing from the Canadian government in the form of the Business Development Bank of Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada. The financial advisors for this round were INFOR Financial Inc. and Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc., with McCarthy Tétrault LLP serving as legal counsel.

“Equispheres’ continuing track record for driving performance improvements with additive manufacturing is truly impressive, opening doors to a wide variety of new and exciting higher-volume applications,” said Pat D’Eramo, Chief Executive Officer of Martinrea International.

Because the financial markets have been difficult for companies, particularly small-to-medium enterprises, in the past two years, the cash infusion could be beneficial in allowing Equispheres to overcome the macroeconomic hurdle. In contrast, U.S.-based Uniformity Labs was forced to auction off its metal powder manufacturing equipment. With less competition and support from the auto industry and Canadian government, Equispheres could be primed to come out the other side of this recession as an increasingly important player in AM.

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