Start-up wins awards for new metal manufacturing technology
A start-up company in Virginia has won an R&D 100 award for a radical new metal additive manufacturing technology. MELD Manufacturing Corporation has launched a product that essentially 3D prints metals, but without melting anything.
Once a metal is melted, it’s never going to be as strong as before and it loses other properties that manufacturers need. So MELD has built a machine — called the B8 Model — that uses friction and pressure to get the metals hot enough to deform, but not hot enough to melt. Like a traditional 3D printer, the machine passes this malleable metal over a plate over and over again, building the desired shape one layer at a time.
The result is the ability to custom build or repair industrial-sized parts without melting or compromising on durability.
For more than a decade, the technology was under development within Aeroprobe, a 20-year-old company that builds in-air data sensors. The company holds more than a dozen patents on the technology and in April spun out MELD as a subsidiary.
MELD won the 2018 RAPID + TCT Innovation Award at a major additive manufacturing industry conference. Later, it took home first place in the robotics, automation and manufacturing category of the Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, Create the Future Design Contest.
Last week, the company announced it had received a Market Disruptor special recognition at the 2018 R&D 100 awards, an international competition that has highlighted leading technology breakthroughs for more than 50 years.
“We know from the overwhelming response to MELD that there is a huge gap in existing technologies to fill the needs of manufacturers in diverse industries,” said MELD and Aeroprobe CEO Nanci Hardwick.
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