Sigma Labs, a Santa Fe-based AM software and hardware company, has been granted a patent for its quality assurance system, PrintRite3D, made specifically for metal additive manufacturing.
On the allowance of the patent, CEO of Sigma Labs, John Rice, said that it “further enhances the depth and breadth of the patented intellectual property portfolio covering our PrintRite3D platform. The technology covered in this patent enables Sigma to provide valuable and relevant quality status information to customers requiring high-quality AM metal products production.”
In-process quality assurance in metal 3D printing
Sigma Labs’ PrintRide3D is a combination of hardware and software. It comes with PrintRite3D Sensorpak which includes multi-sensors and other required hardware which collects real-time data during 3D printing. The PrintRite3D INSPECT software is used for in-process monitoring of the metallurgical properties of the part. Whereas, PrintRite3D CONTOUR is used to keep track of anomalies in the part geometry.
Sigma Lab’s filed the patent for this technology under the title, “Optical Manufacturing Process Sensing and Status Indication System.” The patent covers a sensor system that is used for monitoring optical emissions during the manufacturing process. The data produced by these sensors can be used to distinguish between ideal and irregular manufacturing conditions. In addition to the latest patent, Sigma Labs has several more patent applications pending.
John Rice explained, “The USPTO (U.S Patent and Trademark Office) has now allowed four patents pertaining to Sigma Lab’s PrintRite3D platform, representing a wide degree of innovation and distinguishing us as a leader in this space. Additionally, there are eighteen more patents-pending in process.”
Minimizing metal 3D printing trial runs
In our ‘the future of 3D printing‘ guest article, Sigma Labs’ co-founder Mark J. Cola, talked about the need for in-process quality assurance in metal 3D printing. Currently, the problems facing metal AM are variability of quality between print runs, rough surface finish and geometrical deformities. For metal 3D printing to be a viable option in future it is necessary that such concerns are eliminated.
As its name suggests, PrintRite3D’s aim is to print metal parts right the first time, in effect, minimizing production costs and time. According to Sigma Labs’ CEO, Jon Rice, the newly approved patent will go a long way in ensuring that. He concluded, “Sigma’s patent portfolio, our newly launched platform, and our recently signed agreements cumulatively represent what we believe is a formidable and valuable initiative through which we can more easily work with customers that need to secure a greater measure of repeatable high-quality yields and efficiency in the serial AM production of metal components.”
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Featured image shows Planetary Gears 3D printed using PrintRite3D inspection software. Image via @Sigmalabsinc on Twitter