Since late 2016, Sigma Labs, which provides quality assurance software under its PrintRite3D brand, has been announcing agreements with other companies left and right over the last year, from Aerojet Rocketdyne and Honeywell Aerospace, to Morf3D and Jaguar Precision Machine Corporation. The company, based in New Mexico, developed its process monitoring software a few years ago: its PrintRite3D software was specifically designed to assist manufacturers with monitoring the properties of metal parts and materials during the additive manufacturing process. Yesterday, Sigma Labs announced that it received a new contract, from Caterpillar Inc.‘s wholly-owned subsidiary, Solar Turbines Incorporated, for its In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) technology.
Solar Turbines, a leading industrial gas turbine OEM located in sunny San Diego, makes mid-size industrial turbines for pumping systems, electric power generation, and gas compression. The company has been around for over 60 years, working to design, develop, and commercialize industrial gas turbines and other turbomachinery products. Gas turbines are made up of five basic components: a compressor, a combustor, the actual turbine to convert the energy, an output shaft and gearbox, and the exhaust section.
Solar Turbines will use Sigma Labs’ IPQA to produce gas turbine components through metal additive manufacturing. The PrintRite3D software will first be installed on a ProX DMP 300 3D printer by 3D Systems, marking the first installation of this QA software on any 3D Systems machine. The high-performance, high-quality metal part manufacturing 3D printer offers a short set-up, faster production, reduced waste, dense metal parts, and a 250 x 250 x 330 mm build volume. If all goes well, the potential exists for other system orders as the company moves into full serial production.
3D Systems ProX DMP 300
“We’re excited to work with Solar Turbines and help them expand their use of additive manufacturing, particularly for power generation components. In addition, 3D Systems is one of the largest OEMs of AM equipment worldwide, and this marks a great opportunity for us to showcase our technology on a new machine as well as new industrial applications,” said Mark Cola, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sigma Labs. “By demonstrating our PrintRite3D software to Solar Turbines, we’re expanding Sigma Labs’ customer base and market penetration while continuing to validate our unique capabilities in real world environments. We look forward to working with Solar Turbines as they pursue qualification and production certification for precision metal components using additive manufacturing.”
There are over 15,300 Solar Turbines units operating in 100 countries all over the world. The company itself is organized into two customer-facing organizations: the first is oil and gas, and the second is power generation. Customer solutions include field service and training programs, along with Machinery Management Services. A provided overhaul service can restore the performance of the equipment if it runs into any problems, and a Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) management system allows for a safe working environment. Now, Solar Turbines can add PrintRite3D QA software