Sigma Additive Solutions (NASDAQ: SASI)
Sigma Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SASI), doing business as Sigma Additive Solutions, is the only provider of in-process quality-assurance software to the commercial 3D printing metal industry that enables operators of machines making 3D metal parts to offset emerging quality problems, sustain part quality, and avoid rejects. Sigma’s software is the singular solution that enables both real-time, in-process detection of quality control manufacturing irregularities for critical metal parts and then provides the operator the actionable information needed to adjust and mitigate the developing anomaly. Sigma’s software represents a paradigm shift in the quality control process for the manufacture of 3D printed metal components. The nascent 3D metal printing industry is on the verge of radically altering the speed and technical complexity of manufactured parts. Further, it makes possible just-in-time availability of critical components – all at reduced cost, time, waste and weight. 3D printing, heralded as the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing, will only truly surpass traditional techniques when the additive manufacturing industry moves from “post process” quality control to “in process” quality assurance.
For the industry to move from prototype manufacturing of critical components to economically viable commercial production, the 3D metal printing industry must find ways to dramatically increase production speed and quality yields, and to dramatically decrease the excessive cost of quality control. To achieve these prerequisites and move 3D metal printing into the mainstream, parts must be inspected and certified during the manufacturing process rather than after. Parts in the production process that are developing signs of quality control problems must be identified in real-time and alerts must be issued. The problem, along with the solution, must then be communicated to the machine operator to implement repairs.
Revolutionizing Additive Manufacturing
Sigma, with its PrintRite3D® brand, has established a new benchmark in the development and commercialization of real-time computer aided inspection (“CAI”) solutions. Sigma resolves the major roadblocks and costly quality control challenges that impede the 3D manufacture of precision metal parts. The company’s breakthrough computer-aided software product revolutionizes commercial additive manufacturing, enabling non-destructive quality assurance during production, uniquely allowing errors to be corrected in real-time.
Sigma was founded in 2010 by a team of Los Alamos National Labs scientists and engineers to develop and commercially license advanced metallurgical products for the military ordinance, dental implants, and then for additive manufacturing (3D printing). After assessing 3D metal printing technology and the costly, inconsistent quality control issues, Sigma concluded that the enormous potential of 3D metal printing could only scale up if in-process quality-assurance tools were developed to observe, manage and control the manufacturing complexities in such a manner that reliability and repeatability of very high precision quality metal parts could be achieved in the process. Sigma’s patented and third-party validated software has achieved these objectives and now delivers the critical elements needed to unleash the promise of 3D metal printing.
Sigma’s products and services are engineered, manufactured and qualified for use in the highly demanding and hyper precise production environments of the aerospace, defense, transportation, oil and gas, biomedical and other precision-dependent industries.
Additive metal manufacturing combines multiple processes and parts into one single 3D printed part. Due to variances in the additive manufacturing process, parts of consistent quality currently can’t be reliably produced in either large or small quantities without substantial postproduction inspection and rejection costs. Parts are inspected after production using CT scans and other means, so the manufacturer doesn’t know until the very end which of the finished parts meet design specifications. This means lost time, lost profits and inability to economically scale up production.
Sigma solves this problem with its patented, in-process quality control technology that informs operators and engineers how to improve both the manufacturing process and quality by capturing meaningful data about inconsistencies in real-time. Sigma is also partnering with OEMs, working toward the visionary introduction of revolutionary closed-loop control that will bypass the machine operator and automatically make in process corrections by reducing machine variations.
Sigma’s next generation technology gives manufacturers the ability to make fast, virtual real-time adjustments so that each finished part is uniform and within critical specifications, thereby improving production quality, decreasing end-users’ risks and waste, and increasing profits and speed to market. Sigma’s PrintRite3D® IPQA Software monitors and assesses the quality of each production part in the 3D additive manufacturing process – layer by layer, and in real-time. This has never been available until now.
Sigma maintains a strong intellectual property portfolio consisting of trade secrets, process know-how and 34 patents either granted, pending or awaiting pre-publication around the globe. These patents encompass the fundamental technologies underlying Sigma’s melt pool process control, data analytics, anomaly detection, signature identification, and future “closed-loop control” of 3D metal printing.
Providing advanced quality assurance software to the commercial 3D printing industry is currently a $1.4 billion addressable market expected to grow to $3.9 billion by 2023. Integrating Sigma’s groundbreaking software helps arm the industry with a necessary catalyst to help enable and optimize the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing.
Sigma’s global client base includes 23 installations across 19 different users. Tier-1 OEM enterprises and end-users such as Siemens, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and others are currently evaluating PrintRite3D® for production lines.
John Rice, CEO and chairman of the board of directors, has extensive experience as a CEO, lead negotiator, turnaround expert, business financier and crisis management executive/consultant. Prior to becoming chair and CEO of Sigma, he was the CEO of a successful turn-around of a Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Rice has led a variety of companies in diverse business sectors and worked on a host of products and technologies including design and manufacture of high-end jet engine test equipment for the U.S. Airforce, chaff dispensers for F16s, software for modeling naval exercises, software for controlling warehouse distribution systems, medical radioisotopes, cancer detection, and cybersecurity. He is an honor’s graduate of Harvard College.
Darren Beckett, CTO, has over 20 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, including Intel Corporation, where he held various technical and managerial positions. His expertise in process engineering for advanced manufacturing technology includes statistical process control for fabrication of semiconductor devices.
CFO Frank D. Orzechowski also serves as treasurer, principal accounting officer, principal financial officer and corporate secretary. He has more than 30 years of distinguished financial and operational experience. Orzechowski began his career at Coopers & Lybrand in 1982, received his CPA certification in 1984, and received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting from Georgetown University in 1982.
Ronald Fisher, vice president of business development, is leading the commercialization of PrintRite3D® 5.0. Fisher is a mechanical engineer with hands-on experience in quality, manufacturing and product development. He has distinguished himself as a lead sales and marketing officer as well as a chief operating officer most recently before joining Sigma in technology startup that grew from market entry to successful exit by merger-acquisition.