Growth of Chattanooga Company’s 3D printing approach to construction brings success
A 7-year-old Chattanooga company that is helping to revolutionize the construction of exteriors for offices, parking lots and storefronts is receiving additional state aid to propel its growth.
Branch Technologies, which uses 3D printing to erect structures and building facades offering more variable designs and better energy efficiency, received a matching state grant on Monday to help the company of 50 employees continue. his growth.
Tennessee State Representative Patsy Hazelwood and Senator Bo Watson, both Republicans from Chattanooga who helped include record launch Tennessee grant funding, presented a check for $ 300,000 to Branch Technologies on Monday as part of of their efforts to use additional funds in this year’s budget support. stimulate more high-tech, high-growth companies like Branch Technologies.
“These companies are creating these great, high-tech, knowledge-based jobs in Tennessee,” said Abby Trotter, interim director of Launch TN, the state’s development agency for startups and high-growth companies. . “The State of Tennessee believes in them and is investing in them now.”
The additional funding will create a new research and development position at Branch Technologies, equip more robots in the company’s Riverfront Parkway, and help develop and print new polymers for the company’s patented Freeform 3D printing process.
Platt Boyd, an architect who started Branch Technologies in 2014 and moved the company a year later from Montgomery, Ala. To Chattanooga, moved to the company’s current 40,000 square foot production site on Riverfront. Parkway in 2018.
Branch Technologies started as a three-person company in the Hamilton County Business Development Center and has been aided in its growth in everything from GigTank and the Ten by LaunchTN accelerator program to research and financial aid. from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, also known as the US Seed Fund.
“The support we received from Tennessee definitely drew us here and really helped grow our business,” Platt said. “There is a real network of startups, a number of acceleration programs to help small businesses grow, and resources from places like ORNL on the road to help us with new materials, designs and innovations.”
Boyd said Branch Technologies raised $ 22 million in equity to support the growing business. Although Boyd has declined to disclose the sales of his business, he hopes to double the size of the business in the next few years with new businesses outside the United States and continued improvements in the materials and technologies used for it. 3D printing of building structures.
3D printing of building materials allows for creative designs and more insulation than conventional building approaches and, while still more expensive than conventional building approaches, continues to get cheaper as technicians find better ones. production techniques and better materials, Boyd said.
“It’s like an architect’s dream come true,” Boyd said. “You can do things you could never have done before without the absorbing costs required for such designs.”
Earlier this year, Branch Technologies erected the exterior of the new Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union branch on 20th Street as one of the first 3D printed commercial buildings in America with a totally unique wave design to reflect the company logo. Branch Technologies also recently completed unique exteriors for a major parking structure and the US Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, Alabama, where part of the building’s exterior reflects the moon’s surface.
The company is also working on contracts with the Department of Defense and NASA for projects on other planets using 3D printed materials.
“There is a lot of waste with the materials (in conventional construction) and our process is very efficient and sustainable,” Boyd said. “We continue to improve our processes and this should create many opportunities in the future.”
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or 423-757-6340.