One of the United States’ largest defence contractors is investing US$5 million in an Ottawa-based material sciences startup with ambitions to take 3D printing to the next level.
Lockheed Martin announced Thursday it would put a multimillion-dollar capital injection into Ottawa’s Equispheres to accelerate the local firm’s research and development on its unique product, a high-quality metal powder with applications in the aerospace industry and beyond.
Equispheres’ powder is formed of free-flowing spherical and uniformly-sized particles. The metallic substance can be used in 3D printing to create more stable structures than today’s industry standards, the firm says.
In a release, the Ottawa company says Lockheed Martin’s investment will allow it to experiment with higher-strength metals such as steel and cobalt chrome.
“We are very excited to have developed this relationship with Lockheed Martin and secured this investment as it enables Equispheres to offer a broader range of products to the metal powder market, which is doubling in size every 12 to 18 months,” said Equispheres president and CEO Kevin Nicholds in a statement.
To date, Equispheres has funded its development with C$24 million in investments, largely from a cohort of Ottawa-based angels. Nicholds told OBJ in a recent interview that the firm expects to close a US$25-million venture capital round before the end of the year.
To hear more about what some investors have called Ottawa’s “best-kept secret,” grab a copy of OBJ from newsstands or online on Monday, June 4 for David Sali’s full interview and profile of Equispheres.