Australian 3D printing specialist Aurora Labs (ASX: A3D) has reached a new milestone in the development of its large format technology (LFT), achieving the ability to print complex parts at a speed that far exceeds the market.
The company lifted a trading halt this morning with the announcement that initial prints using its first fully functioning LFT machine achieved a speed equivalent to 15.88kg per day. To compare, this is more than eight times faster than market speed.
According to Aurora, this achievement proves the ability to execute complexity in printing and indicates the scalable nature of the technology.
The company is targeting a print speed of 1000kg per day once its full-sized Rapid Manufacturing Printer is fully built.
Speaking with Small Caps, Aurora managing director David Budge said for the past four years, the company has been working towards proving the technology, which is “quite different from anything else in the marketplace”.
“With other printing processes, they have built-in limitations to them which means that fundamentally, you can’t end up printing a highly complex quality part at high speeds,” he explained.
“This [development] allows us to print high-quality parts at high speed, and now it’s just a matter of starting the process to produce larger parts faster.”
A complex part has been defined as one that has a series of curves and internal structures. This would usually be considered difficult to manufacture using traditional methods.
Examples of a complex part include a turbine wheel, valve body or lattice structure.
According to Aurora, the standard speed of a comparable sized machine on the market is about 1.96kg/day. The company’s current speed far exceeds this at a rate of 15.88kg/day.
Moving forward, Aurora is focusing its efforts on significantly increasing its speed and build areas as well as making additional refinements to the resolution and surface finish.
“We’re probably looking to go somewhere between five and ten times faster than we are at the moment,” Budge said.
“That will allow us to print parts of a significant size at a fairly high speed – probably between about 100 and 200kg a day.”
While a comparable machine at a similar size to Aurora’s can print around 2kg per day, Budge said the fastest machine that prints high-quality, high-resolution parts still only prints about 10kg per day.
“This is why this is such an important announcement for us – this is really a game changer for both the company and for the printing industry as a whole,” he said.
FYI is targeting the global metal manufacturing market as the main customers for the technology and believes successful scaling would enable printed parts to be manufactured at a price that is cost-competitive with traditional metal manufacturing.
Budge said this developmental milestone “proves out at a fundamental level the potential for this technology to revolutionise the metal manufacturing market”.
“The company expects to have the pre-production model of the printer ready for sale to one of its industry partners before the end of the calendar year,” he added.
Also worth noting that Aurora non-executive director Mel Ashton snapped up $19,581 worth of company shares on the market at the end of last month.