Image By: Oxford Performance Materials Inc. Oxford Performance Materials has already developed a specialty in 3-D printing of medical parts, such as bone replacements for specific patients.
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Oxford Performance Materials Inc. continues to push the market for its polyetherketoneketone, opening a 13,000-square-foot facility in South Windsor, Conn., as part of its effort to expand its additive manufacturing expertise to the aerospace and defense markets.
The company hosted Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and other officials at a recent grand opening celebrating its $9.5 million expansion effort that will allow it to bring 3-D printing of PEKK products to other markets besides biomedical, said Scott DeFelice, president and CEO, in a telephone interview.
The company earned FDA 510 (k) clearance in 2013 to produce its Osteofab Patient Specific Cranial Device from PEKK and has been on the fast track ever since. Biomet Inc. distributes its products.
"We started as a seller of bio-compatible polymers to orthopedic industry," said DeFelice, noting that the company has learned to do the paperwork with the many necessary certifications. Oxford found markets for the products in Mexico, Argentina and Europe.
Two years ago, the company purchased its first EOS laser sintering 3-D printer and since then has added a second. Its main building is 16,000 square feet and concentrates on its biomedical business.
The new addition is a short walk away and will focus on aerospace and defense work. DeFelice said Oxford is working on contracts for Northrop Grumman Corp. and NASA to commercialize new products.
Oxford has 24 employees, with plans to grow to 65 in four years.
DeFelice said Oxford has been helped by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which was formed in 2012 as part of President Obama's plan to accelerate work in 3-D printing. Oxford was one of the first members, and DeFelice is on the group's board. The company is working on a design database for NAMII.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will provide a 10-year 2 percent interest, $3.2 million loan to help with the expansion. The company will be eligible for $1 million loan forgiveness if it meets job retention and creation goals by 2016.
Oxford was the first company approved for financial assistance through Gov. Malloy's Small Business Express Program in 2012. It allowed the company to move into a newly leased facility with space for polymer processing and fabrication. OPM received a $200,000 loan and $100,000 grant through the Express program and at the time doubled its workforce, made facility improvements and purchased machinery.
The state and federal funding programs are important, according to DeFelice, because the new markets present higher potential growth but also higher risk as well.