The Freeform Future startup aims to establish automated three-dimensional (3D) printing plants that mass-produce products from metal powders using laser arrays.
The company claims its method could fabricate metal parts 25 to 50 times faster than current techniques at significantly lower cost.
Freeform's current factory in Hawthorne, CA, 3D-prints many items simultaneously by moving metal plates in and out of beams from 18 lasers along two parallel conveyor systems. Computer vision algorithms coordinate the nonstop laser firing based on data from camera images.
Nick Doucette at rocket engine manufacturer Ursa Major Technologies said Freeform's key innovation is its object-monitoring process, which combines sensors, scanners, and artificial intelligence software for quality control during printing.
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