After a year of putting the building blocks in place, a first glimpse of the rewards has been offered to new materials specialist Haydale Graphene Industries PLC.
The company’s US subsidiary Advanced Composite Materials (ACM) has signed a four year deal to supply silicon carbide micro-fibre to a global industrial tool manufacturer.
Worth a potential total of US$2.6mln over the initial four year term, Haydale expects annual revenue to average US$600,000.
The order followed a period stringent testing and is the first sizeable deal ACM has won since it was acquired by Haydale acquired in September.
ACM specialises in silicon carbide whiskers, which are tough and heat resistant so especially suited as coatings for products such as carbon brakes and cookware and now cutting tools.
The production of land based turbines and jet engine fan blades are uses of the types of tools that wouldbenefit form ACM’s expertise.
Ray Gibbs Haydale’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted with the integration of ACM within the group and especially the volume of samples of graphene, silicon carbide and a hybrid combination of both we have shipped to major US companies as well as certain targets in the Far East. "
Building blocks in place
ACM followed the acquisition of EPL Composite Solutions, acquired last June.
Now called Haydale Composite Solutions, the business has launched a range of carbon fibres enhanced with the 'wonder-material', the nickname for graphene.
The material is just an atom thick, is very flexible, heat resistant and a good electricity conductor.
Carbon fibre composites are already widely used especially in aerospace, car-making, and sports goods, but Haydale’s expertise is to enhance these through the use of graphene.
The new range is pre-impregnated with graphene to simplify the manufacturing process and improve the properties of the material, saving costs in the process.
The new fibres were developed in collaboration with SHD Composites and based on Epoxy resins supplied by US chemicals giant Huntsman, another partner.
The results have been a tougher carbon fibre aimed at the car, boat and sports goods sectors; a prototype carbon fibre tooling material; and an autoclave tooling product for very high temperatures.
Epoxy resins used in autoclave [high pressure, very high temperature chambers] tooling are a market worth US$1.25bn annually.
Flags planted in US and Asia
Haydale has also secured a presence in Asia through the acquisition of Thailand–based ink and composites group Innophene.
One of Innophene’s specialities is a 3D printing resin that allows the addition of colour.
In September, Haydale planted a flag in the US market through the acquisition of ACMC for up to US$7mln.
Based in South Carolina, ACMC specialises in the manufacture of high purity silicon carbide whiskers, which are used to reinforce and toughen ceramics and polymers.
The business has sales of US$4mln, an order book of US$4.5mln and 15 customers.
Broker sees big potential in industrial composites
Haydale's collaborations with US chemical firm Huntsman and German group Graphit Kropfmühl (GK) are potentially game changing, according to house broker Cantor Fitzgerald.
Haydale is working with Huntsman on a next generation of the US firm’s Araldite resins.
Improvements in conductivity, both heat and electricity of the graphene-enhanced resins have been impressive, said the broker and Huntsman apparently sees it as the basis for a new range of industrial composites.
In November, Haydale formally agreed a joint development agreement with Huntsman after a preliminary but highly successful collaboration on the development of a range of graphene-enhanced resins to complement Hunter’s current product range.
The agreement provides Huntsman with the exclusive worldwide rights to market, distribute and sell a range of its resins enhanced with Haydale functionalised graphene, including the world-famous Araldite epoxy resins.
The agreement will allow Huntsman to purchase Haydale's graphene-enhanced master-batches for use in the fields of composites and adhesives.
Huntsman has also agreed to work exclusively with HCS to further develop graphene-enhanced master-batches with specific targeted performance characteristics.
The deal with GK, meanwhile, effectively secures Haydale’s supply chain with Huntsman, establishes a European processing centre and provides for the development of collaboration products.
Funding in place
Through its September/October funding, Haydale raised £2.6mln in total at 160p per share, of which £2mln came from a placing, £500,000 from the open offer and a subscription of £55,000.
The open offer received applications for 306% of the shares available and those who applied were heavily scaled back.
Ray Gibbs said it was disappointing that it could not extend the open offer to accommodate the excess demand.
“The take-up we have seen for this fundraising demonstrates the strength of support for the company's stated strategies and the acquisition and we look forward to announcing continuing progress in due course," he added.