January 2016 turned out to be a gainful month for Liquidmetal Technologies and its partner, ENGEL. Over 200 guests were hosted at ENGEL’s state-of-the-art technology forum in Stuttgart, Germany, for an event focused on educating participants on the science and technology behind the Liquidmetal manufacturing process. As a new process that breaks traditional expectations for metal manufacturing, Liquidmetal technology draws plenty of attention, but requires a new level of understanding for it to be fully leveraged.
In order to tap into the full potential of the immensely engineered Liquidmetal alloy, high-performance equipment and material are required. This means using the best molds, injection molding machines, and feedstock the world has to offer. In addition to partnering with the industries’ leading injection molding machine manufacturer, Liquidmetal Technologies works side-by-side with Materion, a world-class material supplier. The three partners presented the unique technology to every guest during the event, which was extended an additional day due to an unexpectedly high number of registrations.
Presenting a united front to potential customers – backed by cutting-edge, powerful technology – instilled confidence in the technology for attendees. “Now it is all about the question of how we can make the best possible use of these characteristics,” says Heinz Rasinger, Vice President ENGEL teletronics. “We have discussed some very concrete ideas together with the participants at our forum. The results have shown that it will be less a question of substituting the material in existing products, but much rather how we can design components in a way that can take full advantage of the potential of the material. What we experienced during these two days is an almost euphoric optimism, comparable with the emergence of thermoplastics.”
Utilizing Liquidmetal technology as a solution to a wide range of manufacturing problems is the goal for the three partners. This forum was an excellent opportunity for products, designs, and concepts to be discussed with experts from each side of the business, all under one roof. The Liquidmetal process provides a unique combination of material properties and incredible precision, but what could be the most impressive quality is the ability to mold complex shapes with little to no post processing.
The event was also a forum for discussing significant advancements in the technology. A prominent topic is the capability to combine Liquidmetal alloy with other metals or plastics in a multi-component process. This has already been done as a transfer procedure, but the ability to integrate this process as part of the automated system would be greatly beneficial.
As Liquidmetal Technologies, ENGEL, and Materion look forward to production in the United States and Europe, this event undoubtedly helped establish a strong footing internationally. The facility (and headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California) is prepared to supply prototype and production parts while manufacturing capacities are currently being established in Europe. The three partners are anticipating future events like this, and are excited to advance the technology. To speak with a Liquidmetal expert yourself, or to download our comprehensive design guide, click below.