Headmade Materials, developer of the metal 3D printing process Cold Metal Fusion (Metal SLS), has completed a EUR1.9 million financing round. The sole investor is the Industrial Technologies Fund of btov Partners.
The process of the Würzburg-based startup enables 3D printing for series production using low-cost 3D printers available on the market. Headmade Materials will use the funds for scaling up the technology as well as for marketing and customer development.
The company was founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the Würzburg-based polymer research institute SKZ (www.skz.de). The sinter-based Cold Metal Fusion technology was developed for serial production of metal parts, using an existing ecosystem of machines and processes in 3D printing and powder metallurgy. The printing process is carried out with standard laser sintering systems for polymers (SLS), which are available on the market from established manufacturers. This allows customers to scale from a very capital-efficient entry point to this technology all the way to very high production output.
3D printing of metal parts is a fast-growing market, but it is still limited by high part costs and low output. Headmade Materials is aiming for 3D printing of series with up to 100,000 parts per year, thus reaching a new market segment. The Cold Metal Fusion technology offers users full flexibility and scalability at low investment costs. At the core of the process lies the Headmade feedstock, a combination of metal powder and a special polymer binder system. This feedstock can be processed on almost any laser-based 3D printer, giving users complete freedom to define the process chain, depending on their own applications and needs. The debinding and sintering process is compatible with existing powder metallurgical processes (e.g. the MIM process) and significantly simplifies process integration.
In addition to the sale of feedstock based on standard alloys (stainless steel 316L, titanium 6AI-4V), Headmade Materials also adapts individual alloys on request, eg hard or refractory metals. With the 3D printing services offered, customers are also supported in the design, part manufacturing and process integration.
“We have been working on the technology for five years and the partnership with btov now gives us the opportunity to accelerate the company’s development and realise our vision of 3D series production,” says Christian Staudigel, Managing Director of Headmade Materials.
“We see the Cold Metal Fusion technology as a very viable approach for serial production due to the high cost efficiency of the process. The combination of mechanical part properties known from metal powder injection molding (MIM) process and considerable process advantages, such as reduced safety requirements due to easier powder handling and higher green part stability, is also significant here,” says Robert Gallenberger, partner of the btov Industrial Technologies Fund.