3D Printing and EBM (Electron Beam Melting):
The future for aerospace and defense, according to PwC.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest professional services firm and the largest of the "Big Four" accountancy firms measured by 2012 revenues, made some very bullish statements about Electron Beam Melting Technology (EBM) which is patented by Arcam AB, a Swedish 3D printing company that few seem to know about yet.
In this 2013 report by PwC: "3D Printing: A Potential Game-Changer For Aerospace and Defense, the limitations of 3d printing technologies particularly in the defense and aerospace industries are pointed out. More importantly for investors in Arcam AB (OTCPK:AMAVF), is what PwC believes is the future of 3D Printing technology.
That future, (according to PwC), looks like EBM (Electron Beam Melting) technology developed and patented by Arcam AB (OTCPK:AMAVF).
The following is quoted from this report:
If 3D printing remains confined to prototypes, demo units, and spacecraft, then it won't be much of a game changer for industry.
Does 3D printing have the potential to significantly change the A&D value chain? Perhaps, but it ultimately will depend on how far 3D printing can improve its quality and its speed.
Product quality is the Achilles' heel of every production technology. Laser melting has improved significantly over the past several years, but it still produces parts with micro-voids and heat-induced stress. Equipment manufacturers are continuing to improve the deposition quality of this technology, but it will probably never be void-free, thus limiting its use to non-critical load-bearing parts.
Electron Beam Melting (EBM) has emerged as a higher quality alternative to laser melting. The very high-energy density of the electron beam technology enables it to produce fully dense,void-free parts.
Electron Beam Melting technology is increasingly being used in the manufacture and repair of turbine blades.
The biggest hurdle to mass adoption is processing speed. Because of its intricate, layer-by-layer nature, current 3D printing technology takes hours to days to complete jobs. This cycle time is sufficient for prototypes and very small production quantities, but it quickly becomes untenable at higher production volumes.
However, advances in electron beam and powder feedstock technologies may enable higher speeds, making EBM a viable production technology suitable for many more applications, including those for most aerospace and defense programs.
In a recent interview I conducted with Magnus Rene, the CEO of Arcam AB, subscribers to 3DPrintingStocks.com were made aware that Arcam AB holds some 30 global patents (mostly in the US) for EBM technology and that Arcam AB "has secured the intellectual property rights" to both the Fast EBM Project as well as the HiRes EBM Project, both financed by governments in the European Union.
I don't have anything to add here. PricewaterhouseCoopers said it all for me.
Here are some links to due diligence I've done on Arcam and some relevant news/financial reports:
- Arcam AB (OTCPK:AMAVF)- Small 3D Printing Company with Big Growth Projections
- Arcam AB (OTCPK:AMAVF) Nears Completion of Fast EBM 3D Printing Research
- ExOne and Arcam: A Tale of Two 3D Printing Companies
- Arcam Annual Review 2012
- Interim report January - June 2013
- Arcam Q10, a New EBM Generation
- Strategic alliance between Arcam and DiSanto Technology 2013
- Arcam expands production facilities to meet increasing demand
Disclosure: I am long OTCPK:AMAVF.