Materialise and Sigma Labs integrate technologies to improve QC for metal AM

January 26, 2022

Materialise and Sigma Labs have integrated the Materialise Control Platform with Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D sensor technology (Courtesy Materialise)

Materialise, Leuven, Belgium, and Sigma Labs, Inc, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, have integrated the Materialise Control Platform (MCP) with Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D® sensor technology to create a technology that allows users to identify and correct build issues in the metal Additive Manufacturing process in real-time. With added control over their processes, the integration is expected to enable manufacturers to optimise metal AM processes for consistency and repeatability, key factors in scaling AM operations for serial production.

Metal AM has become more prominent in the manufacturing toolkit for companies in industries such as aerospace, medical device, automotive and energy to introduce more localised, customisable production. However, a lack of process robustness and repeatability is said to be 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 AM machines to improve manufacturing processes or offered as an add-on to new machines for metal AM.

The 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 is said to improve the productivity of metal AM and reduce 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,” stated Bart van der Schueren, Materialise CTO. “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 customisation and localisation benefits that AM provides.”

In addition to the platform integration, 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, commented, “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.”

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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