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CML secures $40 million in funding to expand its SMA portfolio

CML's focus on shape memory alloy actuators is helping to improve smartphone imaging (Image: CML)

CML's focus on shape memory alloy actuators is helping to improve smartphone imaging (Image: CML)

Cambridge Mechatronics Limited (CML), developers of precision motion solutions and shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators, has announced the closing of an oversubscribed funding round worth over $40 million.

The funding, led by Atlantic Bridge, Intel Capital and Supernova, with further participation from Sony Innovation Fund, will enable CML to expand its product portfolio of actuator and controller IC products.

Jörgen Lantto, Chairman of CML, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a prominent group of global investors to CML. Their expertise and experience together with the capital raised will enable us to accelerate our plans for growth. The fact that this funding round was oversubscribed is a testament to the innovation of our talented employees developing world-leading SMA technology, and the wide range of applications where CML’s SMA technology can deliver industry-leading performance.” 

CML’s primary focus is to develop disruptive solutions that can improve smartphone imaging, such as its SMA actuators and controller ICs. SMA actuators are able to do this by generating a high force to-mass ratio and performing precision movements of camera components, so that the technology can achieve autofocus and optical image stabilisation in a more compact design. 

According to Intel Capital, CML’s new SMA Variable Aperture can provide continuous aperture control in a form-factor significantly smaller than the industry standard. CMLs patented ‘Zero Hold Power’ technology positions components, such as the aperture in place during image capture, while consuming no power.

Such SMA technology is helping CML to develop solutions that move beyond traditional incumbent voice coil motor technology, with SMA additionally free of electromagnetic interference. 

Osman Kent, Partner at Atlantic Bridge, said: “We led this investment as we believe CML has a unique and proven deep technology platform for SMA, which will usher new imaging paradigms for smartphones and beyond. Atlantic Bridge is excited to support CML access new customers and markets and become the leader in camera control technology.”

To date, CML’s technology has been featured in over 70 million products. This includes several global top-ranking smartphone cameras, according to industry experts DxOMark. Beyond this, CML also has over 700 patents pending and granted.

Antonio Avitabile, Managing Director, EMEA at Sony Ventures Corporation, said: “SMA actuator technology is transformational for the smartphone camera industry, where Sony is a market leader. CML’s extensive patent portfolio and proven commercial traction, well-position it as a leading innovator in this space. We look forward to supporting CML as they expand their product portfolio of SMA technology in the smartphone industry and beyond.”

The investment will fund a growth of CML's teams to facilitate an increased differentiation of product platforms, as the firm hopes to expand beyond smartphone imaging to applications in healthcare, interactive entertainment, and more.

Media Partners