AREVO, a Silicon Valley-based company dedicated to the additive manufacturing of composite materials, has announced that AGC Inc., a Japanese global glass manufacturing company, has installed its Aqua continuous carbon fiber 3D printer.
Acting as AREVO’s business partner in Japan, AGC will use the system to provide Manufacturing-as-a-service (MaaS) for on-demand 3D printed composite parts for the Japanese market.
“This is a landmark achievement in the ongoing evolution of manufacturing and the Industry 4.0 movement,” commented Hemant Bheda, Co-Founder and Chairman of AREVO. “We are all working towards super-efficient and sustainable processes with localized on-demand manufacturing.”
“We look forward to working with AGC to scale our MaaS platform in many industrial sectors.”
AREVO Aqua 3D printer
Founded in 2013, AREVO is focused on developing technology that enables the direct digital additive manufacturing of composite parts for end-use applications, including materials, software and robotics. The goal is to replace the use of heavier metal parts, focusing on industries such as aerospace, defense, consumer electronics, transportation, and consumer goods.
AREVO’s Aqua 3D printer uses a patented laser-based direct energy deposition (DED) in-situ consolidation process to 3D print parts reportedly up to one meter-cube in volume. Its thermoplastic composite deposition technology is enabled by this closed loop process, which integrates robotics and machine learning algorithms. AREVO’s software technology includes composite generative design capabilities, process monitoring, mechanical performance prediction and virtual 3D printer visualization to optimize the 3D printing process.
In 2018, AREVO announced it completed a $12.5 million Series B financing round led by AGC, formerly known as Asahi Glass. Based in Tokyo, AGC is one of the largest glass companies in the world. The company is part of the Mitsubishi Group of Japanese multinational companies. AGC has subsidiaries and glass plants across the world, including Asia, Europe and North America.
The firm uses a wide variety of technology to cover four main areas of production: automotive and display glass, electronics, chemicals, and ceramics. With the Aqua 3D printer, AGC is poised to move into the production of composite parts through its MaaS platform.
Materials that can be used with the 3D printer include a PEEK thermoplastic polymer matrix and aerospace grade carbon fiber. PEEK is a high-performing material with high chemical resistance and good mechanical strength, suitable for aerospace and defense applications.
AREVO 3D printing in the bicycle manufacturing industry
As well as its Aqua 3D printer, AREVO has also developed its own multi-axis robotic additive manufacturing platform they refer to as “Free Motion Printing” or “True 3D printing.” It enables a high degree of design flexibility and scale for composite 3D printing projects.
Using this platform, AREVO has helped to manufacture 3D printed frames for a number of bicycles. Most recently, the company partnered with Franco Bicycles, a Californian boutique bike manufacturer, to deliver 3D printed carbon fiber unibody frames for a new line of eBikes, under the Emery bikes brand.
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Featured image shows the AREVO Aqua 3D printer. Photo via AREVO.