Digital Alloys, Inc., Burlington, Massachusetts, USA, a provider of metal Additive Manufacturing technology, has secured $12.9 million in Series B financing, with investors led by G20 Ventures and including Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Lincoln Electric, and prior investor Khosla Ventures, which led the company’s $5 million Series A financing.
The company also announced two US patents for its Joule Printing™ metal Additive Manufacturing technology, a process which uses wire feedstock and high deposition rates to additively manufacture metal parts. According to Digital Alloys, Joule Printing is said to be capable of producing parts faster and at lower cost than any other solution.
During the process, wire feed systems position the tip of the wire in contact with the desired starting point for the build process using rapid, precise motions. Once the wire is positioned, the system pushes a current through the wire and the part being built, and into the build plate. This current melts the wire tip using joule heating (or ‘resistance heating’). Both melting and wire feed continue while the feed system moves the tip of the wire across the build plate, laying down beads of metal which are fused together to form fully dense metal parts.
Because melting and positioning of the wire occur simultaneously, Digital Alloys reports that significant cost and time savings can be achieved, along with enhanced repeatability. According to the company, its first Joule Printing system is capable of depositing metal at a rate of 5‑10 kg/hour at less than 1 kWh of power consumption per kg.
Bill Wiberg, co-founder and partner of G20 Ventures, stated, “When you look at the process required to produce practical hard metal parts using the much-hyped early generation of metal printing, what you find is a Rube Goldberg machine of complexity, touchy materials, and complex finishing steps. This great team has invented and now commercialised an entirely new approach that’s both faster and cheaper to the point that – once you see it – you have to wonder why anyone would do it any other way.”
Initial applications of the technology include the production of conformally cooled tools for the automotive and consumer products industries, and the delivery of high-quality titanium parts for the aerospace industry.
“Our investment in Digital Alloys will further Boeing’s ability to produce a higher volume of metal structural aerospace parts faster than ever before,” commented Brian Schettler, Managing Director, Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Through emerging Additive Manufacturing technologies, we aim to accelerate the design and manufacture of 3D printed parts to transform production systems and products.”
Duncan McCallum, CEO of Digital Alloys, stated, “Support from Boeing and Lincoln Electric will expand our expertise, technology and services. We are committed to providing the products and services manufacturers need to take advantage of metal 3D printing in production. We will save customers time, money, and hassle by enabling great engineers to solve manufacturing problems in new ways. The next industrial revolution is here.”