The overall Additive Manufacturing industry is currently dominated by the making of plastic parts, however the growth of precision-made metal parts is expanding rapidly at a pace of double digit percentages.
Sigma Labs, Inc. (OTCBB: SGLB) announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Interactive Machines, Inc. (IMI) of Southwick, Massachusetts. The two companies intent to form a joint venture developing and commercializing next-generation 3D metal printing machines.
"It is much more difficult to 3D-print metal parts than plastic parts because they must meet very demanding engineering specifications", says Mark Cola, the President of Sigma Labs. Sigma Labs launched PrintRite3D in 2012, a suite of quality assurance tools that will enable AM manufacturers to meet the rigorous requirements of metal parts for critical applications. The PrintRite3D suite of software and sensors are designed to guarantee that part quality can be monitored in real time and to report any anomalies during production further enabling lights-out production or minimal worker presence on-site.
Sigma Labs has been in discussion with Interactive Machines since 2012. Interactive Machines is an innovator in advanced manufacturing technology and has designed and built custom manufacturing solutions for Fortune 50 defense, aerospace, and semiconductor clients around the world.
According to the newest press release, the new 3D metal printers are designed to produce an increased output of up to 10X over currently available 3D Printing devices.
The plan is to sign a definitive agreements before the end of the June this year and to demonstrate the prototype during the third quarter of 2014. But before that both parties have to obtain adequate financing to implement a business plan.
It is anticipated that Sigma Labs would have worldwide, exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights to the device, and that Interactive Machines would own the intellectual property and receive a royalty from Sigma Labs for the use of its production technology.
The complementing areas of expertise of the two companies will be important in creating a unique machine that is designed to significantly outperform existing 3D metal printing devices in terms of deposition rate while maintaining requisite part quality.
Frank Yopak, President of Interactive Machines, stated, "I believe that the market for such a system is significant, as most users of 3D metal equipment are currently limited by slower production rates and lower overall machine productivity."
Posted in 3D Printers
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