A Rotherham hi-tech metals pioneer is planning a research centre up to 10 times the size of premises it opened just a year ago.
The company is backed by investors who have pumped in more than £80m over the last 17 years - the firm has just announced a fresh £12m funding round.
This story features in Rotherham Roars, The Star’s celebration of the borough’s booming economy, published Wednesday March 28.
Fundraising participants including shareholders Woodford Investment Management, Draper Esprit PLC, ETF Partners and Interogo Treasury, as well as newcomer Hercules Capital of California.
Dion Vaughan, CEO of Metalysis, said: “We are pleased that Metalysis has attracted financial backing from both new and existing sophisticated institutional investors.
“The expansion project carried out during the past year, combined with these proceeds, will support our multi-metal production and commercial rollout.
“Metalysis is a high growth UK technology business with advanced materials breakthroughs and solid-state production of great value to its customers, shareholders, partners, and employees.”
Rocketing demand for Metalysis’ ‘impossible’ alloys has seen contracts, visitors from 25 countries and talks with “a lot of governments,” according to boss Dr Dion Vaughan.
Now, it is turning the corner into a business dependent on customers.
A £10m ‘discovery centre’ opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park last year. A far larger one is now thought to be needed – and Rotherham is a front runner for its location.
Dr Vaughan added: “I’m confident history will look back on what we are doing and say this was a major turning point in innovation in the 21st century. I’m very proud to be here. Our early days were driven by some very high-end thinking. Metalysis has now found its place as a business in South Yorkshire.”
The firm has patented a method that can produce rare metals such as titanium faster, cheaper and greener than anything that has gone before.
The car industry is very interested in ‘aluminium scandium’ an alloy that is light, strong and can be spot-welded, opening the door to its use in electric cars, where saving weight can increase range.
But the true genius of the process is that it can be used to combine metallic elements in any proportion to form all new alloys which are described as ‘intelligent’ and can ‘remember’ how they were once folded.
With so many combinations, only computers can work out which ones might be useful.
Mr Vaughan compares analysing the potential discoveries to the scale of the human genome project which mapped all the genes in the body.
He added: “We have brought something novel and magical to the story of metallurgy. There are big challenges, but this is about creating important things for customers, shareholders, employees – and most importantly to create history.”