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Magnus Metal Aims to Modernize Millennia-Old Metal Casting Techniques

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By: Headliners News / May 9, 2024

For eons, humanity has been shaping metal parts using a tried-and-true method: pouring molten metal into molds, often crafted from sand and clay.

This ancient technique endures for a reason: sand casting is cost-effective and plays nice with both iron-based and nonferrous metals. However, there’s a snag. The process guzzles more metal than necessary, leading to energy waste as excess metal gets melted down repeatedly. While 3D printing offers an alternative, it tends to be pricey and is typically reserved for prototypes and small-scale productions.

Enter Magnus Metal, a startup on a mission to revolutionize metal casting. They’re tinkering with a casting technology that promises the speed and energy efficiency of 3D printing, all while keeping costs competitive with sand casting.

As their machine’s reliability and utilization grow over time, they’ll be vying for parts beyond the simple ones. For straightforward components, sand casting still holds sway. But for intricate pieces like gearboxes, Vinogradov believes his company can flex its cost-efficiency muscles.

Here’s the scoop: Magnus Metal melds elements of sand casting and 3D printing to orchestrate what they dub “digital casting.” Before the casting dance commences, their software slices designs into layers. Then, they fashion ceramic forms, 4 to 20 mm thick, to cradle the molten metal during cooling.

In the casting arena, metal takes center stage, melting and dripping into the ceramic base. Layer upon layer, metal is added, with each subsequent layer melting the preceding one, ensuring a strong bond and allowing impurities to rise to the top, Vinogradov explains. This meticulous layering not only reduces defect rates but also renders Magnus Metal’s parts 10% to 20% sturdier than traditionally cast ones, claims the company.

Magnus Metal plans to peddle its machines along with the proprietary ceramics used to craft the bases. Vinogradov’s vision? To rake in $500,000 to $1 million in recurring revenue per machine. Selling just machines leads to cyclical revenue, however, by producing their own ceramics, they can ensure they’ll be able to withstand the molten metal’s repeated shocks.

While Magnus Metal’s layer-by-layer method bears resemblance to 3D printing, Vinogradov asserts that their approach is speedier, thus slashing costs. Moreover, each ceramic base can be reused, albeit for a finite number of parts. Unlike 3D printing, which typically demands specific feedstocks, Magnus Metal asserts that its system accommodates customer-specified materials.

And here’s the kicker: Magnus Metal insists its method sidesteps the need for pricey tooling to fashion the bases, unlike sand casting molds. This means customers can churn out parts more affordably, even at lower volumes compared to traditional casting methods, the startup contends.

But innovation doesn’t come cheap. Magnus Metal has just bagged a hefty $74 million in Series B funding round. The recent financing round, spearheaded by Entrée Capital and Target Global, sees a lineup of heavy hitters including Awz Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures, and more.

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