Credit: Fluent Metal

A newcomer in the AM industry is exploring the route of liquid metal printing – an AM process whose challenges have been tackled by a short list of companies so far (Xerox and ValCUN).

Founded in 2020 and led by industry veterans from Desktop Metal, Vulcan Forms, and the MIT Media Lab, Fluent Metal turns stealth mode off today by securing a $5.5M funding led by E15 with participation from Pillar VC and industry angels.

The company would develop a “drop-on-demand approach” compatible with most metals, including refractories. The process would enable the creation of parts in a single-step process, minimizing variability.

Drop-on-demand technology is an elegant approach to create complex metal components,” said Peter Schmitt, CEO. “Whether it’s prototype iterations of an idea or production runs of a single part, Fluent Metal will provide customers with great operational and material flexibility. This freedom will unlock new creativity and problem-solving abilities across industries.”

Using an inkjet printer-like approach, Fluent Metal describes its process as an alternative lean overhead process that is functional, and operational-efficient – not to mention that it produces no waste and uses less energy than powder-based technologies.

The company explains that it’s possible for even high-value metals to be intricately combined; creating properties never before possible. As for operational efficiency, the machine does not need any clean rooms or expensive safety measures. Additionally, material changeover is designed to be easy as plug-and-play, reducing setup efforts and allowing for higher machine uptimes.

So far, liquid metal printing has often been seen as a complex technology. While companies that have developed such technology have proven the capabilities of their process, they have often struggled to grow their business with that single approach.

Hopefully, Fluent Metal will prove that there is a viable business that can arise from it.

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