Gyrostabiliser-maker VEEM (ASX: VEE) and industrial technology company Aurora Labs (ASX: A3D) have signed a deal to investigate the potential of Aurora’s 3D printing and large format technology.
The two companies have signed a non-binding term sheet that sees the duo collaborating to deliver cost and efficiency savings for the manufacture of VEEM’s specialist technology, including its propellers, fin systems and range of gyrostabilisers.
For Aurora, the deal means it will obtain the opportunity to work directly with VEEM for early access to its technology, opens the door for commercial sales opportunities and inserts Aurora directly into the VEEM’s research and development program.
Aurora currently manufacturers one of the world’s most versatile 3D metal printers, S-Titanium Pro, which uses metal powder as the building block to create elaborate designs made entirely from metal.
Aurora offers the S-Titanium Pro at a price in the region of US$50,000 per unit, which makes it a highly specialised and exclusive manufacturing method available to a limited number of manufacturers.
The 3D printing specialist announced it had made a Power Production Unit (PPU) prototype in March this year and claims its technology represents an advance “over and above current production methods.”
VEEM and Aurora have agreed to a five-year deal which could potentially be extended by mutual agreement. The terms of the deal remain non-binding at this stage although the two companies intend to obtain mutual benefits as part of their respective operations and potentially sign a binding deal at a future date.
The non-binding term sheet is based on a 4-stage process.
First, VEEM will review and critically analyse Aurora’s technology, products and their potential capabilities.
At stage two, Aurora will assist VEEM to assess the potential value of utilising Aurora’s technology and products in VEEM’s operations.
At stage three, both parties have agreed to identify and evaluate potential opportunities to secure government research and development (R&D) funding for projects related to their venture program.
And finally, at stage four, VEEM will have an opportunity to make an equity investment in Aurora. While VEEM will be afforded the opportunity to invest there is at this stage no fixed agreement for VEEM to acquire shares in Aurora Labs.
“We’re extremely pleased to be in talks with VEEM, and their drive to be at the forefront of technology and innovation makes them an ideal industry partner for us,” said David Budge, managing director of Aurora Labs.
He added that “when you couple that to their ambition to dominate the global market in their chosen field then the unique fit is even more appropriate. VEEM currently create castings up to 14 tons in size on a daily basis and we are looking to help them improve their production capacity through innovative use of our Large Format Technology.”
Bringing VEEM as an industry partner is a significant opportunity for Aurora as the engineering firm would be looking to implement its medium and large format printers when fully developed in its production of both ship propellers and gyrostabilisers – thereby making VEEM one of Aurora’s first potential customers for its large format technology.
VEEM currently cast more than 5 tonnes a day worth of product and is potentially looking to upgrade this process with the use of Aurora’s 3D printing technology. Even at this early stage, VEEM has admitted that it is “aiming for ultra-high printing speeds.”
According to both companies, Aurora’s large format printer could provide real cost and productivity improvements for VEEM.
“With our modern world recognising the finite nature of natural resources and the full cost of energy, the desire to move away from traditional reductive manufacturing is growing,” said Mark Miocevich, managing director of VEEM.
“Reliability and endurance are critical for high-intensity applications. Aurora Labs has developed the most advanced process we have evaluated and represents a significant step forward in large and rapid 3D printing.”
“VEEM is excited to be able to partner with Aurora Labs to bring the future of additive manufacturing into the present, VEEM sees itself as a role model company for the Australian Government’s drive to develop high-end manufacturing exports,” said Mr Miocevich.