Norimat is a start-up specialised in fabrication using high performance materials.
Founded in 2016 by 3 associates—Romain Epherre, Yannick Beynet and Claude Estournès (who is a CNRS researcher and leader of the Nanocomposites and Carbon Nanotubes group, NNC)—the company seeks to meet a real need for innovation in the field of high performance materials. In aeronautics for example, the traditional fabrication methods using certain materials, such as titanium alloys, are long and expensive with losses of up to 90% of the material in some cases, due to the machining steps.
Norimat uses the opposite approach. Instead of removing material, they use spark plasma sintering (SPS) to directly produce the components with the nominal dimensions. In this way they reduce the fabrication time to 30 minutes (compared to tens of hours using the traditional process) and the loss of material to 5%. These characteristics have seduced the aeronautics industry and nourish the research carried out in the NNC research group at Cirimat, a component of the Chimie Balard Cirimat Carnot Institute.
It all started in the 2000’s, with the installation of the National Platform for Flash Sintering in Toulouse. At the time it could boast of having the largest SPS oven in Europe. Initially developed in Japan, the process of spark plasma sintering allows for rapid elaboration of components by heating a powder (ceramic, metal, composite material or polymer) with a very intense pulsed DC current until a dense material is obtained.
The company thus relies on the expertise of the NNC team in flash sintering, with a synergy that has extended to other actors in the geographical area. If today Norimat acts essentially as a technical consultant—carrying out feasibility studies and making prototypes—a turning point is around the corner. The young start-up plans to acquire its own equipment in 2018 so as to master the entire production chain and continue to innovate. A success to follow…