Binder Jetting, an additive manufacturing technology by binder jetting. This is the production technique that the young company Addimetal, born in Toulouse in 2021, intends to import into France, as revealed The gallery exclusively. Why import? At present, this technological process is mastered only by American players (Desktop Metal and Markforged). Behind this Franco-French project which also involves the Toulouse INP and its Cirimat laboratory, there is therefore an issue of sovereignty. This has also earned this industrial project financial support from the France Relance fund.
“We are aware of our delay compared to the Americans. The smallest 3D printer that uses Binder Jetting technology from the competition is marketed at 200,000 euros. We want to start at 120,000 euros. The idea is to come and break the market while being more efficient. We are not in a process of doing low cost”, confides to La Tribune Franck Liguori, the sales manager of Addimetal.
Prototype number 1 is complete and it has even just released its first test series of parts a few days earlier, before leaving for the laboratory for quality analysis. A second version of the prototype is expected for the summer of 2023. In the process, five to ten machines could leave for a phase of tests and co-development with partners such as laboratories and manufacturers in order to complete the 3D printer. to Binder Jetting technology from the Toulouse startup Addimetal.
Addimétal has just tested its first prototype (Credits: Rémi Benoit).
A buildup of layers of metal powder
To understand this interest, it should be noted that more and more scientific publications are appearing on this Binder Jetting production technique. This consists of successively laying thin layers of grains of metallic powder, using a kind of robotic shoe that moves back and forth, while projecting a binder onto them. Once completed, the piece is put in the oven to be densified. However, this technology can also be used with minerals and polymers, in addition to a wide variety of metals.
At the same time, many manufacturers use another metal additive manufacturing process, namely Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), particularly in the aeronautics industry. This is the case, for example, at Liebherr Aerospace, Thales or even Airbus, to name but a few examples.
“Compared to other techniques, Binder Jetting technology is a guarantee of quality for production because it guarantees better cohesion of the metal in particular. It also offers much higher production rates”, highlights Mohamad Koubar, the president of Addimetal.
Mohamad Koubar, a former employee of eMotion Tech, is the chairman of Addimétal (Credits: Rémi Benoit).
Same shareholders as eMotion Tech, but no connection between the two companies
In the short term, the market for lock manufacturers could supply the first orders, according to analyzes by Addimetal, just as the aeronautics and space industry will be targeted, in the same way as the automobile or luxury goods. Although at the beginning of the adventure, the young startup has already received eight letters of intent, each of which could lead to the ordering of a machine. Other prospects would have committed to it orally. This bodes well for the future.
It now remains to finance the company to ensure its development and the production of the first 3D machines equipped with this so-called Binder Jetting technology. Until now, Addimetal has ensured its R&D phase with its own funds. But in the very short term, a first seed fundraising could take place within three to six months for an amount around one million euros. Another could follow at the earliest at the end of 2023, for around ten million, in order to prepare for the launch of the marketing targeted for 2024.
For the time being, its capital is made up of Franck Liguori, Guilhem Peres and Quentin Leboeuf, who are also the shareholders and managers of the Toulouse-based SME eMotion Tech, specialized in the manufacture of 3D printers with the fusion of plastic filaments (for the industry now after having started with individuals and the school fabric). “But the company Addimetal has no connection with eMotion Tech and it is wanted“, comments the president Mohamad Koubar, also a former employee of the SME. “eMotion Tech is managed as a good family man, while with Addimetal the idea is to take risks, raise funds and go fast“, sums up Franck Liguori.