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London Tech Week

Huddersfield-based electron beam 3D printing manufacturer Wayland Additive secures £4.6M

Wayland Additive CEO, Will Richardson, CTO, Dr Ian Laidler with team members. Image credit; Wayland Additive

Huddersfield-based electron beam 3D printing manufacturer Wayland Additive has secured £4.6 million to meet the demands of its growing global customer base. The funding round was led by existing investors Longwall Ventures, Parkwalk Advisors, and ACF Investors, with new investor Metrea Discovery also coming on board.

Electron beam 3D printing tech

Wayland is a West Yorkshire-based company, founded in 2019, that is pushing the boundaries of electron beam 3D printing technology with its Calibur3 metal additive manufacturing (AM) machines. These machines can work faster and with greater precision than existing laser-based technologies. The Calibur3 features the Neubeam® process, which delivers all the advantages of metal electron beam (eBeam) technology while overcoming the troublesome issues that have traditionally limited wider adoption.

Wayland’s customers include the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the UK and Exergy Solutions in Canada, with new shipments starting next month to North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. The company manufactures and sells its machines to end-users who require high precision and complex components, often made from advanced metal alloys, in the aerospace, mining, and medical industries.

Wayland’s team is currently fifty-seven strong with a further twenty places open for recruitment. They have a mixed and varied team of people, preferring to focus purely on recruiting those with bright minds with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Meet the founders

Wayland Additive is led by two co-founders with extensive experience in scientific and engineering fields. The CEO, Will Richardson, has a Master of Engineering degree from Oxford University and has worked on developing new technologies for scientific instrumentation and medical devices. He has been involved in various aspects of bringing new products to market, such as identifying market needs, developing concepts, managing IP, building teams, developing supply chains, and establishing routes to market. He has collaborated with clients ranging from small start-ups to global OEMs. He also enjoys writing long form articles on topics related to technology and innovation.

The CTO, Dr Ian Laidler, has a PhD in Physics from Loughborough University and has over 30 years of experience directing complex technical developments of high value capital equipment for the semiconductor and medical industries. He has worked on projects such as a superconducting electron synchrotron for IBM’s X-ray Lithography program; superconducting proton cyclotrons for PET scanners; X-ray beamlines for the world’s third generation synchrotrons; and electron beam lithography systems for the semiconductor and nanotechnology industries. He has been responsible for co-ordinating high performing teams and delivering to incredibly demanding semiconductor fab environments, including customers such as IBM, Hitachi, SEAGATE, Hoya, KERI, NIST. He is also a member of the Industrial Advisory Board of MAPP, a research hub for advanced powder processes.

Wayland’s technology and unique selling points

Wayland draws upon Yorkshire’s strong heritage in metallurgy, offering a local supply base for the business, as well as the ability to recruit from a talent base already well equipped with manufacturing engineering skills.

The company’s machines allow customers to print highly specialised ‘super materials’ like the world’s hardest steel or tungsten remotely and on demand. This eradicates the issue of downtime caused by spare part shortages, enabling organisations to create exactly what they need, in the right quantities and at the right time. These materials, which can be used in high temperature and high wear applications, also enable the development of new downstream technologies in a wide range of industries.

Wayland’s machines are also eco-friendly as they use less energy compared to traditional manufacturing methods, and the company’s technology eliminates waste and reduces the need for shipping and warehousing. This is an important consideration for companies that are looking to reduce their environmental impact and meet sustainability goals.

The company’s machines have already been used to create complex parts for industries such as aerospace and defence. The RAF has already made use of Wayland’s technology to produce mission-critical parts that were previously difficult to produce. The technology has also been used in the medical industry, creating prosthetics that are tailored to the individual patient’s needs.

As companies move to bring their manufacturing operations closer to home, they will need to invest in advanced manufacturing technology that can help them improve their production processes and increase efficiency. This is where companies like Wayland come in.

Wayland’s advanced manufacturing technology is designed to help companies produce complex parts with high precision and consistency. The company’s 3D printing technology allows manufacturers to produce parts that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. This technology is particularly useful for companies that need to produce small batches of custom parts or prototypes quickly and at a low cost.

Funding round and future plans

The funding will be used to increase Wayland’s in-house production capability to deliver more machines and materials to customers. The company is moving significantly towards the ‘buy off-the-shelf’ continuum by focusing on mitigating supply chain issues, which should reduce order-to-delivery time to just a couple of months. The investment will also go towards further hiring, particularly the recruitment of a COO, as well as supporting further research and development.

Will Richardson, CEO of Wayland Additive, said, “Since our last funding round, we have formally launched our machines into the market and are already seeing considerable traction, with demand from across the globe. By providing bespoke additive manufacturing to our customers, we can play a pivotal role in streamlining their operations and give them the tools to unlock their potential, with high-value components at the touch of a button. It’s great to have our existing investors continuing to support us as we grow, as well as new strategic investor Metrea. We are excited by the prospect of bringing our machines to businesses who need them around the world, and this investment will supercharge that mission.”

The funding round comes at a time when the demand for high-precision manufacturing technology is increasing worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and highlighted the need for more flexible and agile manufacturing processes. The demand for advanced manufacturing technology is expected to continue to grow as companies look to improve their supply chain resilience and reduce their dependence on foreign suppliers.

Tim Mills, Managing Partner at ACF Investors commented, “Wayland continues to move from strength to strength and is a leading light of Yorkshire’s business community. Through its machines, Wayland is pioneering the next generation of additive manufacturing, opening up new applications and unlocking new materials. We are delighted to be continuing to support this ingenious team on the next stage of their growth journey. Their leadership in the market is well earned.”

David Denny, Partner at Longwall Ventures added, “We are delighted to continue supporting the Wayland team – their ingenuity and hard work has resulted in a great product. The Wayland product enables customers to 3D print objects in materials that were not previously possible, and it is great to see this technology now being used by customers. We also appreciate having ACF Investors as co-investors because they have been pragmatic and supportive from day one.”

Disrupting future business for the better

As the demand for advanced manufacturing technology continues to grow, companies like Wayland are well positioned to benefit. With its latest funding round, Wayland will be able to expand its product line and continue to innovate in the field of advanced manufacturing. This, in turn, will help its customers improve their production processes, reduce their costs, and increase their competitiveness in the global market. As the world becomes more focused on supply chain resilience and sustainability, Wayland’s technology will likely become even more valuable.

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