Platform delivers industry-first ability to identify and address process and quality issues in real time.
Sigma Labs, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGLB), a provider of quality assurance software, and Materialise (NASDAQ: MTLS), a leading provider of additive manufacturing (AM) software and services, have developed a breakthrough technology to enhance the scalability of metal AM applications. The new platform combines the Materialise Control Platform and Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D® sensor technology to allow users to identify and correct metal build issues in real-time. With added control over their unique processes, manufacturers can optimize metal AM processes for consistency and repeatability, key factors in scaling AM operations for serial production.
Metal AM has become a more prominent piece in the manufacturing toolkit for companies in industries such as aerospace, medical device, automotive and energy to introduce more localized, customizable production. However, a lack of process robustness and repeatability is holding back broader adoption for serial production, and the need for post-build inspection and quality assurance can result in higher costs when compared to traditional manufacturing methods. The new platform can be retrofitted to existing 3D printers to improve manufacturing processes or offered as an add-on to new machines for metal AM.
The Materialise Control Platform (MCP) is an embedded hardware solution that provides end-users more control over the AM process. By integrating the MCP with Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D® sensor technology, the companies have created the possibility to identify quality issues and intervene to correct them in real time. This improves the productivity in metal AM and reduces scrap rates, paving the way for manufacturers to advance their operations and implement metal AM in serial production.
“The platform we’ve developed eliminates one of the most common roadblocks for manufacturers interested in using metal additive manufacturing for serial production,” said Materialise CTO Bart van der Schueren. “The platform is open and flexible allowing manufacturers to take control of their specific processes to fit their unique applications. This makes it possible for customers to leverage their expertise and truly take advantage of the customization and localization benefits that AM provides.”
In addition to the platform, Materialise and Sigma Labs will collaborate with end-users and machine producers to refine processes for their unique applications. The companies are seeking partners across industries who are interested in expanding their use of metal AM in serial production.
Mark Ruport, President and CEO of Sigma Labs, stated, “I am very pleased with our long relationship with Materialise and the close collaboration between our engineering teams. We believe the combination of the Materialise Control Platform with Sigma’s real-time melt pool monitoring, and analytics software has created a significant breakthrough in the additive manufacturing industry. I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and find ways to continue to improve the quality and consistency of 3D metal printing as more companies go into production in the coming years."