(Liège, Belgium) – A research grant from the regional government of Wallonia has been awarded to LASEA, a company specializing in systems for precision laser micromachining, and Aerosint, a startup company developing selective powder deposition technology for Additive Manufacturing (AM). The 2-year project, which will have a total budget of nearly €1 million, aims to lay the groundwork for building a hybrid AM system that combines metal powder laser melting with in situ laser ablation.
The two companies bring complementary expertise needed to investigate the feasibility of such a hybrid process. LASEA will investigate the powder melting and ablation process conditions. Aerosint will be focusing on powder handling and deposition control of the metal powders in the scope of the project.
This hybrid process is aimed at applications in the traditional markets of LASEA, namely the watch & jewelry, electronics, and medical devices industries. For these industries, the part surface quality and dimensional tolerances obtained with existing metal AM technologies are often insufficient. Through its customers’ requests, LASEA sees a clear advantage in a process that combines the geometrical freedom offered by L-PBF with the fine details and surface finish quality possible using laser ablation.
We always seek synergies with other companies in our market niches and we are convinced that the collaboration with Aerosint will be pleasant and fruitful. At LASEA, we have been developing subtractive laser systems for many years for applications such as cutting, drilling, engraving, marking… based on ablation with ultrashort pulse lasers, a technology in great expansion and for which the advantages have been demonstrated over the past decades.
At the same time, we are seeing attraction around laser additive manufacturing. As a laser integrator, we are seeing this as an opportunity to enter this domain in an innovative way. Thanks to the collaboration with Aerosint and its innovative powder management system, we are convinced that their approach combined with LASEA knowhow on ultrafast laser micromachining will lead us to promising results.Axel Kupisiewicz, Founder and CEO LASEA
In the context of the target applications for the hybrid process, Aerosint’s powder recoater brings a number of advantages over traditional roller or blade recoaters used in powder bed process. The advantages mainly concern material flexibility offered by the recoater, localized deposition of expensive materials and the ability to produce multi-metal components. The unique powder handling is also what differentiates this research from other research that has been done in the past on similar topics.
LASEA is a company we look up to in the Liège area. They have been extremely successful in the last couple of years showing double-digit growth year after year. Working on such an innovative process with LASEA is in line with our strategy to demonstrate how selective powder deposition can unlock a range of very unique use cases in AM and beyond. We look forward to supporting LASEA in this project which we are convinced will yield very interesting results.Matthias Hick, Co-founder and CTO Aerosint
If the hybrid process proves to be feasible and commercially viable, further developments will be aimed at building a commercial system.
Founded in 1999, LASEA supplies production lines to the most prestigious companies in the world including the top Swiss watchmakers, leading glasses manufacturers, the pharmaceutical and medical industry (intra-ocular and cochlear implants), as well as several big names of Silicon Valley. Active in 27 countries and on 4 continents, it has already installed more than 300 machines worldwide (production systems and lines operating 24 hours a day). In addition to its headquarters in Belgium (Liège Science Park), it has subsidiaries in Bordeaux, San Diego and Biel. It employs 80 people and owns a 25% stake in CISEO (formerly WOW group) with CITIUS and UNISENSOR.
www.lasea.com / email@example.com