Canadian firm planning a $10 million bet on additive manufacturing

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Canada’s first full production additive parts manufacturer is gearing up to make parts for markets as diverse as aerospace, medical and energy.

Burloak Engineered Solutions Inc. is spending C$2.5 million (US$2.29 million) to install additive manufacturing and related equipment at its Dundas, Ontario, headquarters. Its strategic plan includes investing C$11.5 million (US$10.52 million) in additive manufacturing technology over the next five years.

“A lot of companies are not interested in manufacturing parts themselves,” explained Burloak CEO Jim Glover in a phone interview. “They want the supply chain to do it for them.”

Burloak’s background is in high-tech manufacturing engineering and project management, areas it can leverage into additive manufacturing. Glover said his firm will be capable of printing parts, finishing them and qualifying them through advanced measurement technology.

Burloak installed a selective laser sintering machine for plastic parts earlier this month and will soon take delivery of a metal printing system. Eos North America Inc. of Novi, Mich., is supplying the machinery and training Burloak employees. Other equipment being added includes Elliott Matsura multi-axis machining systems and coordinate measurement machines.

The new plastic SLS system from Eos has a build platen with a width and length of 13.4 inches each, and depth of 20 inches. Its next additive machine for metal is considerably larger.

Burloak plans eventually to have three plastic SLS systems and three metal additive machines.

The company recently completed a private equity investment from an undisclosed company which could infuse more funds into Burloak as its capital needs grow. Glover said his company’s initial budget of C$2.5 million (US$2.29 million) is mostly covered by the equity investment.

Burloak’s related advanced manufacturing unit will provide metrology, onsite inspection, alignment, 3D scanning, reverse engineering, computer aided design and tooling services.

Burloak’s additive parts manufacturing should be fully operational by October. It now employs nine but that should grow to about 50 in a few years. The firm claims it will be the first metal additive parts manufacturer in Canada, although a few colleges and universities have the systems. Nearby Mohawk College has a new additive manufacturing resource centre that could be a source of skilled talent for Burloak.

Burloak Chairman Peter Adams founded the company nine years ago.