Boeing Ventures Arm Invests In Small Advanced Materials Firm

Boeing [BA] on Wednesday said its HorizonX ventures arm has taken a minority ownership stake in a small company that develops and produces advanced metal-matrix composites for the aerospace, defense, automotive and energy industries.

Gamma Alloys has 10 employees and is based Los Angeles and does large scale manufacturing in Missouri and manufacturing in Stockton, Calif. Boeing’s investment in the company is the first by HorizonX in advanced materials and related machining development and applications.

Gamma Alloys' metal powder and ceramic nanoparticles are blended in a uniform metal-matrix composite. Photo and caption. Gamma Alloys

Gamma Alloys' metal powder and ceramic nanoparticles are blended in a uniform metal-matrix composite. Photo and caption. Gamma Alloys

Boeing hopes to use Gamma’s capabilities in its commercial and defense products. A spokeswoman for Gamma told Defense Daily that the aerospace market was “an early adopter” of the company’s materials and that that interest continues given the “weight advantages that are so critical to aircraft and spacecraft.”

“The wear, strength, durability and machining characteristics of Gamma’s materials have the opportunity to further reduce the weight of our products,” Steve Nordlund, vice president of HorizonX, said in a statement. A Boeing spokeswoman told Defense Daily that Gamma’s “ultra-strong alloys are potential alternatives to titanium and carbon fiber, and have potential applications in additive manufacturing.”

Additive manufacturing is also called 3D printing.

Mark Sommer, CEO of Gamma, said Boeing’s investment in the company will help it in “accelerating our nanoparticle material development and the full-scale industrialization of our manufacturing processes.”Gamma Alloys was founded in 2008.

The investment is the sixth by HorizonX since it stood up in April. While Boeing doesn’t disclose the values of the investments made by its ventures arm, the company spokeswoman said they are typically in the range of “single millions up to the low-double-digit millions” of dollars, with the stake in Gamma “within that range.”

In October, HorizonX invested in Near Earth Autonomy, a startup company spun out of Carnegie Mellon Univ. in Pittsburgh that is developing technology for unmanned aircraft systems for a variety of applications. The Near Earth investment is HorizonX’ first in autonomous technologies.





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