Surface Generation, a joint spin-out from Cambridge University and Pera, has raised £450K to develop its proprietary mould tooling technology that enables the production of modifiable moulds to manufacture parts and components for the aerospace and automotive industries. Under their Co-Investiment Programme launched in 2008, members of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) and Bank of Scotland Corporate have contributed £280K.
Surface Generation’s mould generating technology exploits reusable materials and spares the need for expensive, individually-created moulds. Its proprietary Near-net Shape Pin Tooling technology is used to produce expendable ceramic and polymeric patterns for prototyping and its Subtractive Pin Tooling technology is used to create metallic tools for production components.
Ben Halford, CEO of Surface Generation, said: “In simple terms, think of our mould-creation process like the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Our processes move the columns up and down allowing the creation of the required shape for any mould.”
Carbon fibre products resulting from the application of this technology can be used in the aerospace industry and Halford added: “Our re-useable mould system is especially cost-effective for short manufacturing runs of high-end components. If you are building an aeroplane, for example, then you may only require a few hundred of certain parts and having to create individual conventional moulds is very expensive and time-consuming.”
Halford also highlights the environmental benefits of this approach, as he said, Surface Generation ensures what he calls “right first time design”, which ensures reduction in production costs, lead times and marketing time.
Halford added: “This is the second time that we have secured funding through OION, and it has again been a refreshingly straightforward process. Eileen Modral and her team are very easy to work with. On this occasion, OION’s involvement has facilitated the investment from Bank of Scotland Corporate, and we are delighted to have the Bank on board as a new investor. We are going to use the new funds to continue trials with our growing customer base, and to expand our operations in Europe, North America and Asia.”
Eileen Modral, of OION, said: “We are very pleased that we were able to help Surface Generation secure vital funding for a second time. The company’s technology can clearly generate significant savings in process costs for the manufacturing industry, and we hope the new funding round will help bring continued success.”
Malcolm Kpedeko, of Bank of Scotland Growth Capital, said: “Surface Generation is exactly the kind of innovative company that the Co-Investment Programme was set up to assist. We are delighted to be able to help another entrepreneur develop great products, and we will follow the company’s progress with interest.”