Vulkam: a SIMaP success story

The startup Vulkam was launched from the Simap* laboratory and is a growing success story. Thanks to amorphous metals with unique properties, the startup can meet emerging industrial needs and open the door for smaller components.
By changing the atomic organization of a material, we fundamentally change its properties,” explains Sébastien Gravier, founder of Vulkam, a Deeptech startup he created to commercialize new materials with unique properties. Following a thesis on amorphous metals at the SIMaP laboratory and 10 years as a teacher at Grenoble INP - Phelma and a lab researcher, Sébastien decided to launch a project to valorize these interesting and unusual materials. With the support of the SATT Linksium, he was able to launch the project in June 2017.

The startup’s only competitor is specialized in large components, whereas Vulkam is specialized in miniaturization, which is more “profitable from an economic point of view”. The startup developed a range of materials specifically adapted to meet the needs of industry (Vulkalloys®). “One of our leading products is an ultra-insulating thermal material that was developed for LynRED (ex-Sofradir) to support their infrared sensors. Thanks to atomic modifications, we offer materials that are twice as insulating as existing materials. This enables us to reduce the required space for a component thanks to smaller insulation needs, or instead, to halve the energy consumption of a device.” explains Sébastien. Weight reduction thanks to thes vulkam e innovative materials can also be of use for sectors such as aeronautics, space exploration and defense. The Vulkalloys® product range also offers flexible materials using copper for timekeeping devices as well as biocompatible zirconium alloys that are 1.5 times more resistant than titanium based materials used for miniaturized surgical components. “For example, we produce specific pliers for cataract surgeries, which count for 850,000 surgeries a year in France!” The latest Vulkalloy® to be developed by Vulkam is a nickel based alloy that is simply the most resistance material that exists! With its strength and resistance to friction, the alloy could be used in watchmaking or medical industries.

Vulkam not only developed its range of materials but also the equipment necessary to manufacture the materials on a small scale. “We currently offer industries the possibility to produce specific materials to meet their needs and test prototypes.” Thanks to funds raised at the end of 2019, the startup will be able to expand its manufacturing line. The startup currently employs 20 people and aims to scale up production by the end of 2022.
*CNRS, Grenoble INP, UGA