Ottawa-based Equispheres Inc. will receive a $3.5 million repayable contribution to accelerate production of its metal powder materials for additive manufacturing from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FEDDEV), under its Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity Program.
Equispheres, which is focused on the automotive, aerospace and defense industries, is bringing online additional high-speed commercial reactors to manufacture its patent-pending aluminum powders.
“Equispheres metal powders have unique properties that enable faster production of stronger, lighter and more reliable 3D printed parts,” said Kevin Nicholds, CEO. “This contribution will allow us to scale up our production process and take advantage of an exponentially growing opportunity in the 3D printing space.”
Additive manufacturing (AM) can be a game-changer for many sectors. For automotive and aerospace parts in particular, Equispheres says its powder addresses the need for lighter weight parts while maintaining high precision, repeatability and mass production speeds.
“Equispheres aims to enable industrial 3D printing to compete with traditional manufacturing. Our metal powder technology dramatically reduces the cost of 3D part production such that it is economically viable in volume manufacturing applications such as automotive,” said Nicholds.
Recent testing by equipment manufacturer Aconity3D demonstrated Equispheres’ high-performance feedstock can print three times faster than traditional powders and achieve part cost reductions of 50%. Equispheres’ materials can help Canadian and global manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing methods that are efficient, sustainable and cost-competitive, according to Equispheres.
Equispheres recently added automotive expertise to its management team. Thomas Bloor joined the company to lead global business development and Rob Wildeboer, executive chairman of Tier One automotive supplier Martinrea International, has taken a seat on the board of directors. Calvin Osborne joined Equispheres in December as Chief Operating Officer to guide the company’s scale-up and commercialization efforts.
Three new reactors are expected to come online in 2022, adding production capacity to meet surging market demand and creating new jobs in the Ottawa region.
“This significant investment by FEDDEV will support the next steps in our growth: working with partners in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors to qualify our materials for industrial applications,” said Nicholds.
The company’s aluminum powders are produced by an atomization process that creates uniform spherical particles with characteristics suited to the additive manufacturing process.