Following the announcement of its first hardware sale last month, Belgian metal AM company ValCUN has been awarded a €2.5M grant from the European Innovation Council (EIC). The funding, which also includes the opportunity to receive up to €5 million more in equity funding, will enable ValCUN to further advance its proprietary Molten Metal Deposition (MMD) technology.
MMD is a single-step metal deposition process that uses metal wire, such as aluminum wire, as feedstock. The ability to print off-the-shelf materials comes with a significant cost advantage: according to ValCUN, its metal AM process can cost from 75% to more than 90% less than competing metal additive processes. The technology is also easy to use and implement, particularly compared to processes that require metal powder feedstock. ValCUN cites energy efficiency and rapid time-to-part as other benefits of its technology, owed in part to the need for limited post-processing. That is, MMD parts do not require any powder removal, de-binding, sintering, or HIP processes.
The sizeable grant was awarded following a competitive process, which saw the EIC choose from 648 proposals. In the end, ValCUN was among the 47 companies that were awarded funding. “We are thankful to the EIC for selecting ValCUN for this highly competitive and prestigious program,” said Jonas Galle, CEO of ValCUN. “We are committed to enabling sustainable, safe, and cost-effective metal manufacturing solutions and are excited to have the EIC recognize the potential of the MMD technology to deliver on our vision. With this funding, we aim to push the boundaries of what’s achievable in the world of Advanced Manufacturing.”
ValCUN will be exhibiting at Formnext 2023 (Booth E32, Hall 12.0) this week. There, it will be showcasing its newly launched Minerva 3D printer and Minerva Printhead, which are based on its MMD technology. The Minerva 3D printer, which is targeted at aluminum production, is a compact system with an open architecture (including parameters, material, nozzle architecture and data acquisition). The Minerva Printhead, for its part, enables users to implement ValCUN’s MMD technology on robotic arms or gantry systems. These systems, as well as sample prints will be on display at the Frankfurt trade show this week.