Californian company Seurat Technologies has been granted a patent for a new metal additive manufacturing system.
The company was founded by ex-Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engineer James DeMuth and has raised a total of $3.4 million in June 2016. DeMuth left LLNL in 2015 at the same time Seurat was founded. Since then, the federal research facility has made several advancements in the field of metal 3D printing, such as a direct metal writing technique and an innovative selective laser melting technique.
Seurat Technologies’ patent refers to a system in which “two-dimensional energy patterning and energy beam reuse are described.”
The company has since declined to comment on the process the patent describes or current and future operations of the company. However, from the published patent it may be inferred that Seurat Technologies is preparing its first metal 3D printer system since the company was founded in 2015.
The patent describes a novel energy recycling element to the additive manufacturing system. Citing the current obstacles in the way of scaling metal additive manufacturing, the patent explains slow speeds and cost of lasers inhibit the technology from creating large parts on an industrial scale.
According to Seurat Technologies, “currently available powder bed additive manufacturing machines can be limited in part size, part manufacturing cost, resolution of part details, and part manufacturing throughput.” Addressing this, the patent describes a system which can take unused energy in the form of laser or electron beam and reuse the energy to provide a more efficient system.
Multiple manufacturing zones
In a similar way to the MetalFAB1 modular 3D printer, Seurat envisages a system in which parts can be manufactured along different zones. The illustration also draws parallels with the Blackbelt 3D printer which utilizes a conveyor belt in place of the build plate.
The patent explains a long part could be manufactured with use of a conveyor and it seems with all these processes Seurat Technologies’ main aim is to produce a 3D printer that provides unrivalled efficiency and scalability.
Featured image shows figure 3A from the patent, “an additive manufacturing system including lasers.” Image via Seurat Technologies, Inc.