India's rocket startup Agnikul Cosmos has decided to go in for a 3D printing machine to make the engines for its Agnibaan rocket, said a top company official.
"We are buying the 3D printing machine from the German company EOS. This will help in manufacturing our rocket engines and subsystems at a shorter time," Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul told IANS.
The German company EOS is a global major in 3D printing technology based in Germany with Indian operations since 1998.
The company has more than 90 EOS machine installations in India and works closely with various organisations like Aerospace, Medical, Defence and Industrial customers.
"Every Agnibaan rocket will have eight engines. The 3D printing machine will enable us to produce the engines quickly than getting the work done outside," Ravichandran said.
According to him, the company can make the eight engines in two weeks' time with 3D printing technology.
"Owning engine making end-to-end in-house allows for significant process efficiencies and enables the making of an entire engine including the plumbing systems involved in less than 72 hours, thereby removing a large amount of the complexity one usually associates with liquid propellant engines," Ravichandran added.
Declining to share the price of the 3D printing machine due to non-disclosure norms Ravichandran said Agnikul would install an EOS M400-4 printer in its facilities and will take EOS' Additive minds technical support in advancing 3D printing of rocket engines all the way to space qualification.
"The machine is one of the largest. Our agreement also includes supply of some raw materials by EOS," he added.
Ravichandran said the company may go for additional 3D printing machines once demand for Agnibaan rockets picks up to launch satellites.
"Agnikul has been printing and testing engines at a smaller scale since 2018. Last year, we became the first company to fire a single-piece, fully 3D printed rocket engine printed on EOS 3D Printer. This strategic partnership with EOS will elevate our efforts to strategise on efficient and advanced 3D printing techniques to build world-class space technology in India," Moin SPM, Co-founder, and COO, Agnikul said.
"As more and more companies start using 3D printing for their realization needs, we are trying to ensure that we play the role of a supporting partner as opposed to being just a vendor and in the process encourage widespread adoption of 3D printing as a mainstream manufacturing technique" said Anand Prakasam, Country Head, EOS India.
Ravichandran said Agnikul is recruiting talent after raising $11 million in a Series A funding in May 2021. The funding round was led by Mayfield India, making it the largest funding round for a private Indian space technology company in India.
While in March 2020, Agnikul had raised Rs 23.4 crore ($3.1 Mn) in a Pre-Series A funding from institutional investors - pi Ventures, Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Venture Fund, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE, and Speciale Invest and the seed round of funding from Speciale Invest in 2019.
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