Solvay invests in 9T Labs to accelerate 3D printing adoption in transportation
By replacing metal with 3D printed thermoplastic composites, manufacturers can build lighter vehicles and aircrafts that consume less fuel and reduce CO2 emissions, at a much faster rate.
Solvay Ventures, the venture capital fund of Solvay, is investing in the Zurich-based startup 9T Labs to bring additive manufacturing of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts to mass production.
9T Labs’ hybrid manufacturing technology enables complex, high-performance structural parts to be produced in carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites in volumes up to thousands of parts per year. It provides a cost-competitive solution for manufacturing that will allow structural CFRP parts to replace metals at a much faster rate in demanding applications in many sectors such as aerospace, automotive and healthcare.
“9T Labs combines the flexibility and optimization potential of 3D printing with the mechanical performance of compression molded parts, bringing the best of both additive and conventional manufacturing to the world of advanced materials.”
Thomas Canova, head of technology scouting and venturing at Solvay.
This technology complements Solvay’s unmatched portfolio of high-performance thermoplastic polymers and deep expertise in the production of thermoplastic composite prepreg tape to make the next big leap. As a leader in thermoplastic composites, Solvay also brings unparalleled expertise in the engineering of material solutions to ensure the technology can be integrated seamlessly into manufacturing lines of 9T Labs’ customers.
“For the fabrication of smaller and complex parts, metals still prevail because the manufacturing of structural CFRP parts has not been cost-competitive or in a lot of cases technologically feasible,” adds Martin Eichenhofer, 9T Labs co-founder and CEO. “Our technology combined with Solvay’s high-performance and recyclable materials will change this and make CFRP parts more sustainable, accessible and cost-competitive, especially at higher volumes. In addition, the participation of Solvay Ventures in a consortium of high-caliber investors provides us with the funds to rapidly scale our business.”
© 9T Labs Red Series 3D printer
Watch the video © 9T Labs Red Series
Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 21,000 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €9 billion in 2020. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB). Learn more at www.solvay.com
Solvay Ventures is the venture capital fund of Solvay with a mission to invest in innovative enterprises with breakthrough technologies in advanced materials and formulations. Drawing from an €80 million global evergreen fund, Solvay Ventures targets early stage investment opportunities (Seed through Series B) with a focus on startups addressing better use of resources, energy transition, human capital, well-being and digitalization. Beyond investments, the venture also seeks to align to the Group's innovation and sustainability ambitions
9T Labs is an ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland) spinoff that was founded in 2018 by Chester Houwink, Giovanni Cavolina, and Martin Eichenhofer to leverage automation technology, software, and materials to make high-performance structural parts more accessible. The company’s patented Red Series Additive Fusion Solution technology — a hybrid of 3D printing and compression molding that is used to produce high-performance structural composite parts — is targeted at industries such as aerospace/aviation, automotive/motorsports and ground transportation, medical device, industrial/robotics/machinery, consumer luxury goods, and sporting goods.