CM: It’s a pleasure to talk to you John. Firstly, can you give me a brief overview of Sigma Labs?

JR: Sigma Labs is a late stage start up. It’s a public company, trading under the symbol SGLB. The company’s primary product is in process quality assurance software and hardware for metal 3D printing.

The importance of that product is that metal 3D printing machines are unable to deliver the high precision of classical computer-controlled machine shop machines because you are actually formulating, or building, a product in three dimensions and the metal of that product will be existing for the first time after you have finished the 3D process. So our company is built and established on building software to solve the problem of knowing whether or not you’re making high quality metal.

CM: 3D printing in general has seen quite the expansion in the last five years. However, with metal 3D printing we’re only just starting to see it gain traction. What do you think the future holds for metal 3D printing?

JR: We think that the future of metal 3D printing is vast, complicated and will be huge. And the reasons are that there are so many different ways to take advantage of this technology. You can use it to make a one off, custom part, like, somebody’s new knee, or you can take advantage of this technology to make a mass-produced part, like a fuel nozzle for the LEAP engine manufactured by GE. Or you can take advantage of this technology to create ‘just-in-time’ emergency inventory onsite any place.

The factory of the future for 3D metal manufacturing is probably not a traditional campus of big warehouse-like factories but rather a series of remote locations with machines that can be digitally actuated, manufacture a part with digital instructions, inspect is digitally, until finally a human picks it up and pits it some place. So it’s an extraordinarily flexible technology and therefore can be applied to so many different kinds of products, industries and places.

CM: You’ve recently had some good press in that regard in terms of Deloitte’s prediction that metal additive manufacturing will overtake plastic in the near future. Would you agree?

JR: Well, we think that’s true and the reasons are just launching off the comments I just made. There are so many different kinds of metal parts that can be made advantageously with 3D manufacturing. And one of the things I should’ve mentioned is one of the huge assets of 3D metal is you can have an assembly of parts that would usually be ten or twenty parts and make them as one part with 3D manufacturing and that is a tremendous advantage in reducing weight and cost. So we see metal surpassing plastic because you can do so many different things with it and also, candidly, because metal is a good deal more expensive as a raw material than plastic is.

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