Foundry Lab will debut category-defining Digital Metal Casting technology at Formnext (Germany) in November, ahead of the opening of its first demo center in Fremont, California, early next year. Digital Metal Casting leapfrogs 3D metal printing to rapidly produce metal parts with the functionally equivalent properties as traditional cast metal. Slashing typical 1-6 week lead times for metal parts to just hours, the technology is set to completely revolutionize how the world’s largest manufacturers prototype production identical parts needed for innovation cycles and how quickly they can ramp production and produce parts.
Several of the world’s largest manufacturers are working with Foundry Lab to evaluate the system, including automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers. The startup expects Formnext to add to a growing pipeline of manufacturers that recognize the potential of Digital Metal Casting technology to transform their current manufacturing processes. Foundry Lab will enable them to produce metal parts on-demand, in-house at a fraction of the cost, time and climate impact of a traditional foundry.
The startup is backed by Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck, Motional chief executive Karl Iagnemma and former Autodesk chief executive Carl Bass as well as venture capital firms GD1, Blackbird, Founders Fund, Promus Ventures, WNT Ventures, Icehouse and K1W1.
A catalyst for change
“Today, car companies typically spend upwards of $200k per die-casting on prototype tooling, involving huge, expensive metal molds. What’s more, these usually take anything from three months to a year to produce. Digital Metal Casting enables these companies to go from CAD design to producing real parts in the same day using safe, compact microwave technology, and our Freemont demo center will showcase the technology in person,” explains David Moodie, Founder and CEO of Foundry Lab.
Combining the speed and freedom of 3D printing with the economy and strength of metal casting, Foundry Lab’s system produces ‘production identical’ metal parts that can be tested for functionality; because they perform the same as a production casting.
How it works
The proprietary technology solves for speed and quality with a solution that isn’t simply a ‘work around’. While 3D metal printing produces ‘look-alike’ parts, it can’t replace a real casting. The Foundry Lab system produces a hands-free metal casting equivalent – without the need to pour molten metal.
The Digital Metal Casting process starts by 3D printing high temperature ceramic molds which are filled with metal feedstock and then heated via microwave to melt and cast the form. It’s easy to integrate into development workflows – requiring no special design requirements – and offers the ability to easily switch between metal types. Molds are automatically generated from CAD files and the microwave-powered compact foundries are safe and easy to use, reducing both climate impact and worker health risks.
Scaling for growth
Over the coming year, the Foundry Lab team will triple to include microwave engineers, mechatronic and mechanical engineers and CAD operators as the startup builds towards commercial launch in 2023.
Find out more about Foundry Lab at foundry-lab.com.
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