Aquasium seeks partners

Cambridge-based technology investor Aquasium Technology is seeking strategic partners to grow its electron beam technology business.

Aquasium holds a portfolio of three next generation electron beam technologies that could be used in the aerospace, power generation, renewable energy and biomedical industries.

Aquasium is backed by leading UK technology venture capital firm, Foresight Group and comprises two divisions. The first, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE), is a global leader in the design, manufacture and support of vacuum furnaces and electron beam welders based in Cambridge. The other is US-based EBTEC Corporation, a provider of high-energy materials processing and specialist manufacturing services to aerospace, power generation, defence and medical device customers.

Since acquiring CVE in 2001 and EBTEC in 2005, Aquasium has worked closely with TWI (formerly The Welding Institute), the world leader in materials joining and surface engineering, to develop and commercialise a portfolio of next generation electron beam technologies.

One is Surfi-Sculpt, which uses an electron beam to create a textured surface to allow a better bond or join dissimilar materials. Its initial application is in semiconductor applications.

Another, Reduced Pressure Electron Beam Welding (RPEBW), allows a ‘reduced pressure’ electron beam welding process to take place in a coarse local vacuum rather than the ‘hard vacuum’ usually used in demanding applications such as aerospace, military and nuclear.

The third, Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication (EBFFF) is a fabrication process whereby wire feedstock is fused into a shape close to that of the final part by an electron beam.

John Cumberland, chairman of Aquasium, said: ‘Electron beam processing has been used for demanding but often niche applications since the 1950’s. Our new technologies now bring its considerable benefits to substantial new manufacturing applications. Combining the long-standing pedigree, experience and reputation of CVE and EBTEC with next generation electron beam technologies, we expect Aquasium to be at the forefront of a resurgence of interest in electron beam processing.’