Desktop Metal, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA, has been granted two patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its interface layer technology. The technology is used in both its Studio and Production Systems™, and enables the production of metal additively manufactured parts with ‘separable supports’ – support structures which can be removed by hand.
Under U.S. Patent No. 9,815,118 and U.S. Patent No. 9,833,839, Desktop Metal now has exclusive rights to the patented technologies, in addition to its existing portfolio of over a hundred pending patent applications covering more than two hundred inventions.
“As a company driven by invention, we are committed to both innovating and protecting our technology through strategic intellectual property achievements,” explained Jonah Myerberg, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Desktop Metal. “The technological innovation in these patents enables users, for the first time, to print large metal parts with complex geometries that can be easily removed from their support structures by hand or to print metal objects with separable interlocking structures.”
“Traditional laser powder bed methods for metal Additive Manufacturing are restricted to single materials and are both difficult and costly to implement,” he continued. “Desktop Metal has designed new approaches for metal AM that now allow multiple materials to be used during printing. This makes it possible to print support structures that do not bond to parts and consolidate during sintering with the part.”
Desktop Metal’s separable supports work by using ceramic powder as the interface between the part surfaces and the support structures. Because the ceramic powder does not bond completely to the metal surface of the part during manufacture, tapping the parts on a bench top and/or using a small ball-peen hammer is usually enough to remove the supports. “We believe the benefit of this technology covered by the patents will enable substantially increased adoption of metal AM,” concluded Myerberg.
According to Desktop Metal, its Studio System is the first office-friendly metal AM system, includes an AM machine, a debinder and a sintering furnace and is reported to be ten times less expensive than existing technology. The company’s Production system is designed for industrial-scale, mass part production.