Boeing HorizonX invests $12.9 million into metal additive manufacturing company
Devin JonesAdditive Manufacturing Aerospace
The investment comes a year after GE Aviation bought AM companies SLM Solutions and Sweden-based Arcam.
Boeing HorizonX recently announced a $12.9 million investment into Digital Alloys Inc, a Massachusetts-based additive manufacturing company focused on the development of a high-speed metal AM process.
With financing from G20 Ventures, Boeing and others, the primary interest in Digital Alloys lies in their patented Joule Printing technology – a rapid AM process combining multiple metals together at once theoretically “enhancing thermal, electrical, magnetic and mechanical properties.”
“Our investment in Digital Alloys will help Boeing produce metal structural aerospace parts faster and at a higher volume than ever before,” said Brian Schettler, Managing Director of Boeing HorizonX. “By investing in companies with emerging additive manufacturing technologies, we aim to strengthen Boeing’s expertise and help accelerate the design and manufacture of 3D printed parts to transform production systems and products.”
With more than 60,000 3D printed parts currently active in space, the investment for Boeing is a no-brainer, especially since the Digital Alloys process, utilizing wire feedstock and high deposition rates to print titanium and other high-temperature alloys, is cheaper and faster than how they’re currently doing things.
The investment comes a year after GE Aviation bought both Concept Laser, German manufacturer of direct metal laser sintering systems (DMLS), and Sweden’s Arcam, a company known for it’s metal powder development using an electron beam melting (EBM) process for 3D printing.
“When you look at the process required to produce practical hard metal parts using the much-hyped early generation of metal printing, what you find is a Rube Goldberg machine of complexity, touchy materials, and complex finishing steps,” said Bill Wiberg, co-founder of G20 Ventures. “This great team has invented and now commercialized an entirely new approach that’s both faster and cheaper to the point that – once you see it – you have to wonder why anyone would do it any other way.”