Sigma Labs joins MTC for quality assurance in industrial additive manufacturing

Sigma Labs, the computer-aided inspection (CAI) software company behind PrintRite3D software, has become a member of the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

As a result, Sigma Labs will enable in-process quality monitoring for additive manufacturing systems at the MTC’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing through its software; the company will also participate in MTC’s member-sponsored programs with a focus on qualification and certification of the additive manufacturing process.

“With Europe at the forefront of many innovative and major developments in the metal AM industry, we believe this agreement, our second major research alliance with a European center of excellence, holds great promise for us and the future of AM,”  said John Rice, CEO of Sigma Labs.

“We look forward to interacting with the other member companies in the MTC, and particularly to collaborating with researchers at the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing to demonstrate the capabilities and potential of the PrintRite3D INSPECT technology.”

Planetary Gears 3D printed using PrintRite3D inspection software. Features the motto "Quality Beyond Inspection" Photo via @Sigmalabsinc on Twitter
Planetary Gears 3D printed using PrintRite3D inspection software. Features the motto “Quality Beyond Inspection” Photo via @Sigmalabsinc on Twitter.

MTC, the aerospace sector & additive manufacturing

Based in Coventry, the MTC is a hub for R&D, training, advanced manufacturing management, and factory design. With the aim of accelerating industrial manufacturing worldwide, the MTC has developed a large network through collaborations in the fields of aerospace, automation, and additive manufacturing.

Last year, the MTC became a founding partner in the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence. Following this, the institution began a partnership with NASA, who is also a partner of the Centre of Excellence, to develop advanced technology used on space missions.

The MTC is also working on the DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace) three-year research project which aims to improve the UK’s aerospace supply chain using a digital learning factory. In this time frame, the MTC presented the results of its two-year project, FlexiFinish, which aims to provide an automated additive manufacturing post-processing solution for metallic components.

Now, with Sigma Labs as a partner of MTC, the company will provide its expertise and solutions for precision metal manufacturing to several of the Centre’s projects and existing members. This partnership marks Sigma Labs’ second research agreement with a European centre of excellence this month, the first being its recent membership with the Additive Alliance of Fraunhofer IAPT.

Inside the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry's MTC. Photo via The MTC
Inside the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry’s MTC. Photo via The MTC

PrintRite3D INSPECT at the MTC

Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D INSPECT is an In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) software. This technology works in tandem with the company’s SENSORPAK hardware, which features off-axis and on-axis in-process sensors to, collect real-time data on additive manufacturing processes.

Ken Young a technology director at the MTC stated, “I am delighted to welcome Sigma Labs to the MTC community. Quality assurance in additive manufacturing is a critical topic that requires significant attention.”

“Gaining insights into the part quality during the additive manufacturing build process reduces effort for post-build inspection and ultimately provides the foundation for closed loop process control for improved robustness.”

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Featured image shows a metal 3D printing test palette. Photo via Sigma Labs on Facebook.