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Inside Modumetal’s 30,000 square-foot production facility in Maltby, Wash. (Modumetal Photo)

Seattle-based high performance metals maker Modumetal today announced a new joint venture with Nagoya, Japan-based Toyota Tsusho America, a subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Group, a Toyota Group company.

Modumetal CEO Christina Lomasney.

The new venture, called ModuTAI, will develop nanolaminated alloys for fastener applications using Modumetal’s unique metal that it says offers better performance at a cheaper price than conventional steel. A memorium of understanding has been signed and the deal is expected to be completed in the next two months.

“Our joint venture with TAI brings together the innovation of Modumetal’s patented, nanolaminate manufacturing technology with the scale of a global industrial partner,” Modumetal founder and CEO Christina Lomasney said in a statement. “With several recent, corrosion-related automotive recalls over the past twelve months, our NanoGalv coatings are enabling a breakthrough in safety at a critical time for the market. The ModuTAI joint venture will mean that we will be in a position to bring NanoGalv to major markets swiftly, while maintaining attention to quality and scale.”

As part of the venture, ModuTAI will open a new production facility in Houston, Texas that extends Modumetal’s capacity to develop NanoGalv by 10X.

ModuTAI will initially target the energy sector but plans to expand into construction, marine, and transportation markets.

“Toyota Tsusho Group has a long history and exceptional track record of quality and scale in our manufacturing ventures. We look forward to working with Modumetal to bring our manufacturing and distribution principles to the growth of this unique and revolutionary technology,” Arthur Harrison, senior vice president and leader of the Metals Division of Toyota Tsusho America, said in a statement.

Modumetal has developed a metal manufacturing process powered by electricity instead of the traditional heat-based source of energy in metals production. This allows the company to configure raw materials at scale in a layered manner, somewhat like metallic plywood, and achieve specific characteristics that strengthen the metal.

The Seattle company already has existing licenses for NanoGalv production with oil and gas fastener suppliers in Houston, Singapore, and Scotland. Earlier this year it reeled in a $14 million investment round led by Vulcan Capital. Customers include Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, Noble Energy, and ADNOC.

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