6K, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M212). The grant is expected to boost the company’s production of the advanced materials used in Additive Manufacturing and in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, grid storage and consumer electronics.
The award was announced by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy during an event at 6K’s new battery material production facility, which was followed by a tour of 6K’s proprietary UniMelt® advanced production plasma systems. The state grant will fund the purchase of one new UniMelt system, a technology that is designed by 6K and will be manufactured by Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works, Lawrence, with components from AVS, Inc., Ayer, both Massachusetts companies.
“M2I2 allows us to target support toward companies that, like 6K, are committed to growing their operations here in Massachusetts,” stated Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this grant, we are funding new infrastructure that will lead to job growth and production, but we’re also supporting a game changing, clean technology that promises to revolutionise the supply chain for batteries by keeping more of this production here in the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts].”
The investment is anticipated to position Massachusetts as a leader in the clean production of these materials, installing a cost-competitive solution to traditional material manufacturing methods which take longer, and tend to produce more pollutants and waste (including water). By contrast, the UniMelt system produces material in two to three seconds with no hazardous waste, a 6x reduction in water usage, and a 3x reduction in both power use and CO2 emissions.
“6K is honoured to be the recipient of the M2I2 grant,” stated Mary Cronin, VP – Government Affairs, 6K. “Our UniMelt production platform transforms the way performance materials are produced and we can use this system for training a local workforce for the future of manufacturing. We hope to see additional programmes like the M2I2 passed by the legislature that can offer foundational support for MA-based companies like 6K to stay in Massachusetts, to innovate, deploy, and position Massachusetts as a leader and a hub in the clean energy revolution.”
The current Massachusetts legislation has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which allows the state to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA initiative, helping promote innovation and job growth across the state. The 6K project is also receiving support from the national manufacturing institute America Makes.
“America Makes is a proud partner in M2I2. Our institute is dedicated to the advancement and maturation of Additive Manufacturing along with our members across the nation including those in Massachusetts,” said Josh Cramer, Education and Workforce Development Director at the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and America Makes. “The M2I2 program is a great example of collaboration through public and private partnership which is core to our mission at America Makes. We are excited to continue our partnership in Massachusetts expanding education and workforce development along with the adoption and the development of Additive Manufacturing technologies.”