Aurora Labs and WorleyParsons’ 50/50 joint venture, AdditiveNow, emerges today.
Years in the making, the joint venture (JV) is designed “to provide additive manufacturing services to the oil & gas, mining and major infrastructure sectors.”
About a year ago, we took a look at what work between Aurora Labs and WorleyParsons might mean, with an interesting significance in the mining industry. The ambitious undertaking sought to explore the idea of a metal 3D printer for individual mines, that they might produce spare parts on-site rather than await costly downtime for parts not stored on-hand to be shipped over.
Spare parts 3D printing is emerging rapidly, as digital inventory solutions address such problems -- and hold particular promise in the heavy industries AdditiveNow is targeting.
Aurora Labs has been working on technology to rapidly 3D print large volumes of metal parts, and leveraging this know-how together with WorleyParsons’ data science and digital technology business, Advisian Digital, creates a solutions-driven enterprise set to bring advanced manufacturing to heavy industry.
The joint venture has been in the works as the market has anticipated the new offering and was finalized today.
“The finalisation of this joint venture is a significant step forward for Aurora and for the 3D printing industry as a whole,” David Budge, Managing Director of Aurora Labs, said. “We look forward to helping our new broader network of customers to find business advantage through 3D printing solutions, especially across the mining, oil & gas and major infrastructure sectors. We are looking forward to finding more commercial applications of the technology through this joint venture.”
As previously announced, AdditiveNow will focus on a broad outline of three service offerings, which the JV describes:
Consultation: Assisting clients with additive manufacturing plans and conducting optimisation studies to improve efficiency, operability and manufacturability.
Engineering: Providing clients with additive manufacturing related engineering services, such as parts design, bespoke metal 3D printing, parts optimisation and parts certification services.
Agile Manufacturing – Short Run Productions: Providing clients with parts design/analysis services through to final production and deployment of those parts, allowing for optimal part design to reduce costs and improve overall performance.
In our most recent conversation, Budge explained that Aurora Labs is “nothing if not ambitious” -- and today’s announcement certainly backs that up.
“The real focus is on replaceable parts, which is largely because we’re based in Perth. It’s a large mining area, where companies have millions of parts on the shelf, which can lead to holding a lot of inventory or waiting 18 months for the right part to come in. But you can print that part in a day,” Budge said last month in our discussion of Aurora Labs’ high-speed metal technology.
“The potential cost savings are drawing attention. It’s very competitive to traditional manufacturing, and the goal is to beat that. We’re already seeing significant applications where this will be more competitive with traditional processes -- and the speed is why. Amortization is increasing exponentially, whereas if you have a slow, expensive machine it means anything produced will be expensive.”
Offering additive manufacturing services for the targeted heavy industry sectors marks a bold step forward for metal 3D printing.
Partner Advisian Digital brings an extensive network to bear with Aurora Labs’ products and technology, which will enable real-world adoption. A trusted name familiar with oil and gas, mining, and infrastructure operations will add greatly to the confidence of established industry clients who may be a bit wary of a new approach to operations.
No set timing for first implementation cases is immediately available as all offerings are still being fine-tuned.
“As our technology comes to market, Aurora is optimistic that interest in 3D printing technology across these industries increase, and Aurora will follow any growth opportunities,” Budge said. “We have already identified and initiated discussions with specific customers for efficiency opportunities to reduce their capital committed to spare parts and inventory, potentially replacing aspects of traditional supply chain with 3D metal printing technology. This has the potential to result in reducing inventory holding costs, freight and manufacturing lead times.”
The formal launch of AdditiveNow signifies a tangible step forward, and leaves us confident there will be more to hear soon about additive manufacturing in heavy industry.