Adam Hopkins, CEO
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a transformative approach to industrial production that enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems used in a wide range of industries – automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, energy/oil, medical devices, and more.
As 3D printing technology continues to mature and material and equipment costs plummet, recent developments in the industry are fostering seemingly infinite applications of this technology in the manufacturing landscape. Under the umbrella of additive manufacturing lies a broad range of processes, including metal 3D printing methods—powder bed fusion, binder jetting, and more—which provide manufacturers with unrivaled manufacturing precision and efficiencies.
On the front lines of technology development in this space is Uniformity Labs, a developer of feedstock materials and print processes that provide significant cost savings, speed, and quality improvements, substantially enhancing the 3D printing value proposition. The company produces a range of both standard and novel metal and composite powders for powder bed fusion, binder jetting, and other platforms that exhibit simultaneously low viscosity and an unprecedented bed density.
Uniformity engineers apply years of AM production expertise, optimizing parts and printing to enable scalable production on powder bed fusion and binder jetting platforms. Together Uniformity’s technology and refined feedstocks allow 3D printers to operate faster with increased reliability and decreased finishing requirements, delivering reliable and economically viable solutions.
“The major drivers of cost are slow expensive machines and the inability to repeatably achieve mechanical or geometrical specifications. Our print optimization technology and raw materials enable printers to operate at significantly faster speeds while producing parts with reliable, improved geometric and mechanical properties,” said Uniformity founder and CEO Adam Hopkins. “Our approach outperforms on all major printing platforms and greatly improves return on invested capital.”
Laser Powder Bed Fusion
The major drivers of cost are slow expensive machines and inability to repeatably achieve mechanical or geometrical specifications. Our print optimization technology and raw materials enable printers to operate at significantly faster speeds while producing parts with reliable, improved geometric and mechanical properties
In the powder bed fusion market, Uniformity Labs’ materials deliver a higher packing density that creates 1,000 times more contact points between particles than standard powder. This generates significantly higher thermal conductivity providing better thermal control, resulting in more melted powder per laser energy input. “Using this process, our customers attain increased printer throughput - three to ten times faster, reduced residual stress, minimizing the use of support structures, reduced material usage and waste,” Hopkins said.
Uniformity Labs’ ultra-dense powder enables manufacturers to seamlessly print using binder jetting machines too. The company targets 99.5 percent final part density to help its customers create products defined by unsurpassed quality standards. The powder's density results in increased green part strength, reduced linear shrinkage and warpage of large parts enabling more repeatable outcomes. With less feedstock porosity (reduced by 50 percent), Uniformity Labs makes way for up to ten times reduction in uncontrolled geometric profile variation, allowing customers to reliably build large parts with best-in-class mechanical properties, high strength, and tight tolerances. “Our technology gives our customers the ability to meet mechanical specifications that were previously impossible in jetting,” Hopkins continued.
Looking ahead, Uniformity Labs has many new offerings coming online in various areas, from Metal Injection Molding (MIM), to binder jetting, to powder bed fusion. “We are building a full suite of materials, beyond specialty powders, such as titanium, cobalt-chromium and aluminum alloys and composites,” Hopkins said. Recently, Uniformity announced a breakthrough in aluminum sintering for binder jetting.
The company is growing quickly and has strong support from its investors, having recently completed a $38 million Series B funding round (bringing the total raised so far to more than $50 million) and adding experienced executives to its internal team and board of directors. “We are growing fast, we’re coming to market, and our technology is going to transform additive manufacturing,” Hopkins concluded.