6K Advanced Materials Disruptor Wins Massachusetts Grant
Friday, backed by venture capital 6Kwhich describes itself as the only large-scale producer of microwave plasma used in industrial powders for 3D printing, announced that it was the latest recipient of a direct grant, totaling $1.2 million dollars, Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2). 6K said the new funds would increase its production by advanced materials used in additive manufacturing and in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, storage gridand consumer electronics.
6K describes its proprietary microwave technology, called UniMelt, as “essentially Massachusetts” in terms of innovation, sustainability and respect for the environment, because it recycles waste or powder or used metal parts that would otherwise have gone to landfill, and instead transforms them into higher quality metal powder used in 3D printing for production parts used in aerospace, defense, medical, and automotive apps.
The grant was announced by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development mike kennealy during an event at 6K’s new battery material production plant, which was followed by a tour of 6K’s advanced production plasma systems.
During his testimony before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy in January 2022Governor of Massachusetts charlie baker Underline 6K as a standout company, noting their “incredible and innovative work” in the battery supply chain.
“M2I2 allows us to target support to companies which, like 6Kare committed to expanding their operations here by Massachusetts“, said Boulanger. “Through this grant, we are funding new infrastructure that will drive job growth and production, but we are also supporting clean and revolutionary technology that promises to revolutionize the battery supply chain by retaining more of that production here in the Commonwealth.”
“The Commonwealth has supported the growth of 6K thanks to the first investments made by Mass development and we are continuing that support with this new M2I2 Program Advanced Manufacturing Grant,” Lieutenant Governor Polito said. “Massachusetts plays a vital role in technologies that advance our clean energy future, including electric cars. As students through Massachusetts look forward to their careers in STEM fields, I hope they discover the groundbreaking innovations produced by companies like 6K.”
The investment aims to position Massachusetts as a leader in the clean production of these advanced materials, installing a competitive solution to traditional material manufacturing methods which take longer and tend to produce more pollutants and waste (including water). In contrast, the UniMelt system produces material in two to three seconds with no hazardous waste, a 6x reduction in water consumption, and a 3x reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
“6K is honored to be the recipient of the M2I2 scholarship. Our UniMelt production platform is transforming the way performance materials are produced and we can use this system to train a local workforce for the future of manufacturing,” mentioned 6K Vice President of Government Affairs Marie Cronin. “We hope to see additional programs like the M2I2 passed by the Legislative Assembly that can offer foundational support to MA-based businesses like 6K stay in Massachusettsto innovate, deploy and position Massachusetts as a leader and hub of the clean energy revolution.
The M2I2 program, co-piloted by the Advanced Manufacturing Center (CAM) at the MassTech Collaborative and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, aims to foster and grow sectors like this to drive innovation and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration between business, academia, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators and other academic and training institutions. To date, the program has invested in $80 million in direct grants to growing companies, universities and research labs across the state.
“Using emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing helps create an ecosystem where innovation and manufacturing can thrive,” mentioned Ben Linville-Engler, Chief Investment Strategist at MassTech Collaborative. “Thanks to their innovative processes and technologies, 6K will help unlock the potential of unused high-value metals and materials in scrap inventory. Their products will positively impact industries ranging from 3D metal printing, semiconductors, battery storage and electrification, lasers and beyond, areas that play to Commonwealth strengths.
The Baker-Polito administration hired more than $100 million in funding the M2I2 effort, which allows the Commonwealth to co-invest in projects supported by the Manufacturing UNITED STATES initiative, helping to promote innovation and job growth across the state. the 6K the project also receives support from the national manufacturing institute America does, a public-private partnership focused on additive manufacturing technology and education.
As part of the grant news, 6K also announced a new 33,000 square foot Battery Center of Excellence pre-production facility at North AndoverMassachusetts, which will be one of the largest battery materials production facilities in United States. The state grant will fund the purchase of a new UniMelt system, a technology designed by 6K and will be made by Boilermaking of the Helfrich brothers in Lawrence, Massachusetts with components from AVS, Inc.. in Ayerhighlighting the state’s strong supply chain.