University spin out secures £1.2m grant to pioneer 3D print technology

University of Liverpool

A spin out company from the University of Liverpool has secured a £1.2m Innovate UK SMART grant to take forward its next generation additive manufacturing technology.

Meta Additive was founded by Dr Kate Black, a research leader in 3D printing and additive manufacturing from the university’s School of Engineering.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a transformative approach to industrial production with the potential to create bespoke components rapidly, cheaply and with added functionality.

It has significant applications in many sectors including aerospace, automotive and healthcare, but new printing technologies and processes are needed to achieve this goal.

Meta Additive aims to address this issue and is focused on using a chemical approach to additively manufacturing metal and ceramic components for mass manufacturing. It has already developed a number of innovative patented technologies including a binder jet printing system with unrivalled performance advantages, such as high densities and low shrinkage rate.

The company has successfully secured a £1.2m grant in collaboration with The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and industrial partners Epivalence and Xaar. Alongside the grant funding, the university has provided support to the company with investment from its Enterprise Investment Fund.

The grant will support a two-year project which aims to develop binder jet printing at scale.

Dr Black, an expert in the development of functional materials for inkjet printing, is chief technology officer for Meta Additive. She said: “Meta Additive is a new University of Liverpool spin out company at the forefront of developing the next generation additive manufacturing technologies to extend 3D printing to a 4D future.

“We are delighted to be awarded this grant which, in collaboration with our partners, will support us to take forward our BJP technology and help progress this transformative technology.”

Prof Anthony Hollander, pro vice chancellor for research & impact at the University of Liverpool, said: “Meta Additive is the latest example of University of Liverpool ground-breaking technology being translated into a new business opportunity to create positive economic impact.

“We are proud to have supported Meta Additive, via the university’s IP Commercialisation Team and University Enterprise Fund investment and we wish the Meta team great success in the future.”

Meta Additive was founded in October 2019 by Dr Black, Simon Scott, who is chief executive, and Prof Chris Sutcliffe, an international leader in the field of additive manufacturing.

The formation of the company has been supported by the University of Liverpool’s IP Commercialisation Team, and Emma Nolan, head of IP Commercialisation, will take a position on the board.

The company is based in an old ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent.