Metal 3D printer developer Aurora Labs, headquartered in Perth, Australia, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focusing on the development of aluminum for additive manufacturing. Fixed terms of the MoU are subject to further negotiation with leading aluminum supplier Gränges AB, however, the agreement is expected to lead to mutual purchases from both parties, and a commitment to R&D using aluminum powders.
David Budge, Managing Director of Aurora Labs, said, “This is a remarkable relationship for Aurora and we are very pleased to partner with Gränges, a forward-thinking and innovative company with products extensively placed across the automotive sector.”
Once completed, the deal could reportedly be worth approximately $7.75 million in revenue to Aurora. In addition, Budge said, “[…] if Gränges purchases one of our RMP-1s, it will lead to some exciting and innovative developments in both the internal combustion engine and electric vehicle markets.”
Multi-Layer Concurrent Printing
Founded in 1896, Gränges holds a 20% share of the global market for rolled stock supply to heat exchanger manufacturing. With this, the company estimates that every second car manufactured in the world today contains its materials. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has operating sites in Shanghai, Finspång, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas.
Aurora Labs, on the other hand, was founded in 2014, and successfully listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2016. Its 3D printers use a type of proprietary direct metal laser melting (DMLM) process, and currently encompass two machines: the S-Titanium Pro and the RMP1.
The RMP-1 is the machine of interest to Gränges. Deemed Aurora’s “Enterprise” system, the RMP-1 employs Multi-Layer Concurrent Printing, or MCP, technology. Described as an “evolution of the powder bed fusion process” by the company, MCP allows the RMP-1 3D printer to deposit, melt and fuse multiple layers of powder in a single pass (rather than in single layers). It was first revealed by Aurora in an RMP beta machine in May this year.
Aurora Labs and Gränges’ 3D printing agreement
The framework currently laid out by Aurora and Gränges’ MOU outlines four potential points of collaboration between the two parties. In addition to Gränges’ acquisition of an RMP-1 3D printer, one of the terms would be for Gränges to supply its aluminum powders to Aurora. Aurora will also be engaged to conduct R&D using these powders, and both parties will be undertaking market research to find opportunities for aluminum 3D printing in automotive and other industries. The MoU can operate for a term of up to 5 years.
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Featured image shows a rhombus ball printed with the S-Titanium Pro. Screengrab via Aurora Labs.