One of the most exciting meetings at this year’s Formnext was not on the booth of an exhibitor but in a tucked away meeting room off the show floor. Wayland Additive isn’t ready to exhibit its metal additive manufacturing technology, but it is prepared to talk about it to a select few.
On the back of a £3 million Series A funding round led by Longwall Ventures in September, Wayland has now moved into a new facility that will house the entire team from R&D to machine assembly.
The new facility is just five miles down the road from Reliance Precision in Huddersfield, where Wayland’s story started. The 99-year-old engineering firm tasked its then Technical Director, now CTO at Wayland, Ian Laidler with exploring current metal additive manufacturing systems.
Ian’s vast experience in the semiconductor industry and electron-beam lithography led him towards electron-beam technology for it’s superior material properties and industrial productivity. However, his research showed some flaws in the technology which he and his team believed they could solve.
Over the last three years, Ian and his team have been developing a new electron beam manufacturing technology with the help of Innovate UK grants before separating as a company and launching Wayland.
Wayland sees one key area of attack for the market as a reduction in post-processing steps such as powder recovery, Wire EDM support/build plate removal and stress relief. A video it has been able to show users of other metal technologies of a free-flowing powder removal from a lattice structure has been something of a revelation to some. With alternative electron beam additive processes, features like internal channels have been difficult or impossible due to the pre-sintering of the powder cake.
Wayland believes it has, thanks to the developments of the team of electron beam experts, developed the most stable metal additive manufacturing process yet, thanks to the fundamentals of their Neutral beam technology ‘NeuBeam’. Wayland has also developed very sophisticated in-process monitoring capabilities, giving end-users insight into cause and effect from parameter inputs.
However, Wayland is not a company here to make bold claims and deliver nothing, CEO Will Richardson is keen to stress that the company is in this for the long-term. Wayland will start by engaging its highly-trained application engineers with end-users to create legitimate business cases for the owning of machinery. In 2021, the company will build a maximum of six machines and work with the customers on optimising both applications and machinery.
Look out for a feature on Wayland in the first issue of next year’s TCT Magazine, including interviews with the CEO, CTO and Director Peter Hansford. Subscribe here