Out in the Bristol and Bath Science Park (BBSP) is HiETA Technologies, a rapidly growing team of advanced material engineers who want to reduce the waste generated by typical engineering building techniques. HiETA are additive manufacturing experts – a cutting-edge technology where instead of making parts by cutting shapes into existing blocks of material, and generating waste in the process, the parts are built up into the shapes you want in much the same way as a 3D printer works. It allows for flexible, lightweight, waste-free designs that are revolutionising engineering in many different fields.

HiETA hit the news recently with its announcement that it is creating an advanced technology centre which will offer an A-Z service for companies considering using additive manufacturing for their business, allowing them to take complex projects from the concept stage, through design and testing and right the way through to delivery.

“I like to think of additive manufacturing as growing products”


HiETA-michael-adamsTo find out more about this, how HiETA grew from a hot-desk at the BBSP to a 24-strong company in just 3 years and why he’s exploring this innovative engineering technique in Bristol, we caught up with Mike Adams , CEO of HiETA (pictured right).

Mike started out in life as a robotics engineer and has a history of creating companies, this is his fifth startup! And as so often happens, the idea behind setting up HiETA was down to some random serendipity, as Mike explains: “It came from a chance meeting after walking away from a previous venture. My eventual partner pulled out an example of what was possible using additive manufacturing and I was sold.”

It’s clear when talking to Mike that he loves the flexibility and innovation that additive manufacturing (AM) can offer over traditional methods of engineering: “I like to think of it as growing products. It is done by using a laser to melt powdered metal layer by layer… so it grows almost organically!

“This means we are only using material where it needs to be and provides opportunities to use geometries not possible to make any other way. In particular, it allows the design and manufacture of innovative lattice structures that are integrated into components. Such lattices or honeycomb structures can combine both load-bearing and light-weighting functions and in a wide range of components.

“It then gets more exciting as it allows the integration of multiple parts into a single build rather than them having to be manufactured separately. In summary the advantages of AM include reduced part-count and materials use; reductions in tooling and associated costs; reductions in final sub-system size, weight and costs; and higher efficiency and which leads to environmental benefits.”

World leading technology centre

And it seems that it is not only Mike that is sold on what additive manufacturing could offer business. The demand for HiETA’s services over the last 3 years means he has grown the business from taking a hot-desk at the Bristol and Bath Science Park to taking on an office there housing a 24-strong team. Over that time HiETA has been involved with a multitude of engineering products from the development of more efficient compact heat exchangers and recuperators to stronger yet more lightweight components for advanced engineering projects.


Grow your engineering parts: HiETA’s additive manufacturing process
allows for strong yet lightweight organic shapes and honeycomb structures


This has meant his business has grown incredibly fast and it shows no sign of stopping: HiETA is now building an advanced technology centre at the BBSP. As Mike explains: We believe our AM Technology Centre presents an exciting opportunity for innovative manufacturers who like the flexibility that the AM process can offer them. Clients will be able to see the whole process under one roof and be confident that we have every stage of the process, from initial concept through to part delivery, covered.”

“We are determined to play an integral role in driving the UK’s rightful position as world leaders in additive manufacturing”


HiETA-Office-technology-centreHe adds, “The global additive manufacturing market is forecasted to be worth $3.5 billion by 2017; as a leading player and pioneer of the technology, we are determined to play an integral role in driving the UK’s rightful position as world leaders.”

If you are interested in seeing the new facility for yourself, and see what makes additive manufacturing such a useful and disruptive technology, you can book a preview visit at the HiETA website. And this isn’t the only way you can get involved with the company – Michael’s very keen to collaborate with other companies and people in the region: “We’re always interested in new opportunities either in collaboration projects or looking at new ideas… it’s amazing what can be created over a Friska Coffee!”

University collaboration

He also regularly collaborates with universities in the region, using researchers in his company so it is always at the cutting-edge of engineering technologies: “We have a 2 year KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) with Exeter University who we already have strong ties with from other projects. We are working with Bath University on a number of InnovateUK projects and work with other universities across the UK. We have employed a number of excellent interns from Bristol and UWE and pride ourselves on how well it works for both parties. We originally supported a number of our staff whilst they have been working on and finishing their degrees and PhDs and find it a great way to see if we are a fit for each other.”

“We have benefited greatly from being inside a community that supports SMEs like the Bristol and Bath Science Park”


As is obvious, collaboration is a cornerstone to Mike’s business and because of this he is a fan of the collaboration opportunities and flexibleness for company growth offered by the Bristol and Bath Science Park (BBSP) where the company is based. “BBSP provides a great networking and working environment,” says Mike. “We have benefited greatly from being inside a community that supports SMEs. During our time at BBSP we have created many relationships with other emerging businesses which in turn has provided lots of opportunities. The facilities at BBSP are great as it allows you to move seamlessly as you grow.”

In fact the Bristol and Bath region as a whole impresses him: “There are a huge variety of cutting edge companies from large to small and huge opportunities to build partnerships with local companies. So it’s very easy for us to find complimentary services and technologies.”

We’d like to thank Mike for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. You can see more on the company and book a tour of their brand new technology centre at the HiETA website. You can also follow them on Twitter here: @HiETATech