Trio Labs, a North Carolina-based start-up developing advanced manufacturing technology, has introduced a new 3D printing method for high volume production.
With the aim of fundamentally changing manufacturing, the company’s Resin Infused Powder Lithography (RIPL) process boasts components with the same performance characteristics as CNC machining and Metal Injection Molding (MIM) at a reduced cost.
“Unlocking 3D printing technology for high volume production”
Founded in 2015, Trio Labs specializes in metal, digital, and additive manufacturing. The company’s team features entrepreneurs with decades of technical experience. As such, Cathy Eldridge, co-founder and COO of Trio Labs, previously acted as the manufacturing plant manager at Procter & Gamble, and CEO of AmeriCom Bank.
The aim of this business venture is to develop manufacturing technology that eliminates costs associated with tooling and increase the throughput of established high-volume production processes. The company states:
“We are unlocking 3D printing technology for high volume production. We understand the needs of high volume manufacturers, and we’re working to enable them to do more, do it better, and do it faster than ever before.”
Resin Infused Powder Lithography
In 2017, NC IDEA, a private foundation seeking to maximize North Carolina’s economic potential, awarded $300,000 in grants to six startups, including Trio Labs. This funding was given to further develop and commercialize the company’s RIPL technology.
RIPL is a method for precision metal and ceramic fabrication. It is a binder jet 3D printing process, used within ExOne’s latest 3D printer, the X1 25PRO, as well as Desktop metal’s Studio System+, which utilizes materials used for Powder Injection Molding (PIM).
According to Trio Labs, materials such as stainless steel, carbon, bronze, copper, alumina, and zirconia can be produced with its technology at a lower cost and greater design flexibility in comparison with MIM.
“Existing technologies that operate at reasonable speed are limited in precision to about 50-micron resolution,” explains the company.
“Higher resolution systems are very slow. None of these systems can directly produce the surface finishes that are needed for end-use components, nor can they operate at the speeds needed for volume manufacturing.[We are] breaking past these barriers.”
Progressing precision metal additive manufacturing
Trio Lab’s RIPL method was developed with the contribution from trusted advisors such as Sundar Atre, an Endowed Chair of Manufacturing and Materials at the University of Louisville, Randall German, an expert in powder metallurgy and metal injection molding at San Diego State University, and Rick Simons, Former President and CEO at Hardinge Inc, international provider of metal-cutting solutions.
The team has built its first metal 3D printer prototype for RIPL and is continuing to test its capabilities.
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Featured image shows the design a Resin Infused Powder Lithography 3D printer. Image via Trio Labs.