Led by our Intellectual Property Attorney, Dr. Michael Ram, as well as the team at Koppel, Patrick, Heybl & Philpott, Orange Maker is proud to announce that the patent on our unique process for forming 3D objects using a rotational spiral build has been granted by the USPTO.
The Heliolithography patent describes methods, procedures and devices for forming three-dimensional (3D) objects from a wide variety of media, such as a polymeric, biological or metallic materials. The methods, procedures and devices are programmed to produce desired three dimensional (3D) structures using polymerization, crosslinking, curing, sintering, melting or solidification and similar techniques in a manner constituting improvements over conventional stereolithographic, photocurable, or other 3D object forming techniques.
Following our company’s announcement toward the end of 2014, we made a calculated choice with our path to market to ensure that we would be delivering a truly advanced tool that accurately demonstrates the advantages of the Heliolithographic process. In building and testing a number of HL prototypes and also interviewing a range of different companies and users, we feel more certain than ever that the tools that we are creating are going to answer some of the fundamental needs of the market. We have watched many new companies come into the market in 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Their innovations, however, have focused primarily on improving upon only one main factor: printing speed. Many of these systems demonstrate the ability to print single-material non-dense areas of objects very quickly (such as an Eiffel tower, or a hollow structures of 3D geometric shapes), but their print speeds suffer dramatically as prints become denser.
While speed is certainly an important element in the process, we at Orange Maker view it as simply one piece of a much greater puzzle. Companies who seek to utilize 3D printers long-term or as a means to replace traditional methods, require the ability to achieve greater output and the capability to utilize the broadest range of materials to achieve high-quality, application specific, functional parts that are comparable to, or better than, the similar parts manufactured by other techniques.
Current additive manufacturing technology is functionally and economically limited in comparison to traditional manufacturing techniques. Solutions are still needed for the complete actualization and adoption of the technology beyond its current pace of acceptance through emerging fields. If 3D printing technology is to be the solution, it has to provide the ability to produce the next generation of products and tools which require greater complexity, durability, and precision, while being less wasteful and more versatile. In addition, the technology must keep pace with the increasing scale and progressively competitive economic landscape of a growing global manufacturing industry. Our patented process will allow for the production of functional 3D printed parts in scale, not just short runs of prototypes.
Critical needs of commercial and industrial users include:
- Ability to print functional products and parts rather than simply prototypes
- A system that achieves large format, high-resolution printing
- Greater throughput for short-run production
- Advanced resin formulations for application-specific materials
Simply put, the next generation of 3D printing systems needs to be able to empower cost-effective, mass customization at scale, and not simply rapid prototypes. The true magnitude of the future opportunity for 3D printing is still ahead of us, but this patented technology unlocks that potential.
Regarding the substantive similarities and differences of SLA and HL, both systems harness the ability to control light to achieve the highest resolutions and speeds attainable by 3D printing. HL is a variation on SLA that incorporates a new process with specific hardware and software necessary to create a continuous method for solidification while dispensing of photopolymer materials. All three steps are combined into one seamless motion of continuous printing. While our initial product will use a high-resolution UV curing process, Heliolithography is also capable of employing a broader range of light sources including photonic and electromagnetic radiation sources to induce solidification of a broad range of solidifiable materials.