Equispheres, a materials science company based in Ottawa, Canada, has received $8 million of funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to facilitate scaling its metal powder production capacity over the next two years. SDTC is a government foundation that helps Canadian entrepreneurs accelerate the development and deployment of globally competitive ‘cleantech’ solutions.
As automotive and aerospace manufacturers seek to reduce the carbon footprint of their products, vehicle weight optimisation is a top priority. Equispheres states that its metal powder is designed specifically for Additive Manufacturing and has been optimised for the automotive and aerospace industries. As such, this powder is said to allow parts to be manufactured faster, and up to 30% stronger and lighter than parts produced with traditional AM powders.
According to Equispheres, although Additive Manufacturing is not new to the automotive and aerospace industries, it was previously not feasible for use as a mass production tool using aluminium alloy powders. Since aluminium alloys account for a significant amount of material demand in these industries, a powder that allows for faster, more efficient production of stronger and lighter parts has significant implications.
The results the company has achieved reportedly impact not only production efficiency but also part performance as related to carbon footprint. In the automotive industry alone, it’s anticipated that Equispheres’ powder could improve fuel efficiency by over 10%. Additionally, Equispheres reports that its powder outperformed in aerospace-ready quality tests and has “proven exceptional” in tests performed by McGill University.
“We are excited to receive this funding award from the SDTC Foundation,” stated Kevin Nicholds, CEO of Equispheres. “This support from SDTC speaks to the importance of our powder technology as a key to achieving significant emissions reductions in the automotive sector. The funding from SDTC will help Equispheres to continue to accelerate our production capacity and support this important work by our automotive partners.”
Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, commented, “Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. Equispheres has developed a metal powder that acts as ink for 3D printing and enables automotive and aerospace manufacturers to reduce the weight of their products. With Equispheres’ powder set to remove 100–200 kg of mass from an automobile, this would be the equivalent to removing seventy-five million cars off the road!”