6K awarded $1.5 million Massachusetts manufacturing grant to fund battery recycling equipment

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6K is a Massachusetts-based company that produces advanced materials used in additive manufacturing and in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, grid storage, and consumer electronics. The grant will fund advancement of the company’s UniMelt microwave technology, which recycles scrap materials or used metal powder and transforms it into premium metal powder used in 3D printing for the production parts used in aerospace, defense, medical, and automotive applications.

The $1.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) was announced by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy during an event at 6K’s new battery material production facility, which was followed by a tour of 6K’s proprietary UniMelt advanced production plasma systems. The state grant will fund the purchase of one new UniMelt system, a technology that is designed by 6K and will be manufactured by Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works in Lawrence, Massachusets with components from AVS, Inc. in Ayer, Massachusetts.

“M2I2 allows us to target support toward companies that, like 6K, are committed to growing their operations here in Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker during his testimony to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy in January 2022.  “Through this grant we are funding new infrastructure that will lead to job growth and production, but we’re also supporting a game changing, clean technology that promises to revolutionize the supply chain for batteries by keeping more of this production here in the Commonwealth.”

The new solution is cost-competitive with traditional material manufacturing methods, but it is cleaner and faster.  The UniMelt system produces material in two to three seconds with no hazardous waste, a 6X reduction in water usage, and a 3X reduction in both power use and CO2 emissions, the company reports.

“6K is honored to be the recipient of the M2I2 grant.  Our UniMelt production platform transforms the way performance materials are produced and we can use this system for training a local workforce for the future of manufacturing,” said 6K’s vice president of government affairs Mary Cronin.

The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which allows the Commonwealth to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA initiative, helping promote innovation and job growth across the state. The 6K project is also receiving support from the national manufacturing institute America Makes, a public-private partnership focused on additive manufacturing technology and education.

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