Precision engineering group VEEM will look at using 3D printers to make marine propellers and gyrostabilisers as part of a new industry partnership with fellow listed Perth company Aurora Labs.
The five-year pact, if finalised, would see VEEM explore the potential to incorporate Aurora’s technology into its Canning Vale workshops and could culminate in the engineering firm taking an equity stake in Aurora.
Aurora described the partnership as “a significant opportunity”.
VEEM “would be looking to implement the company’s medium and large-format printers when fully developed in its production of both ship propellers and gyrostabilisers, therefore making VEEM one of Aurora’s first potential customers for its large-format technology”, Aurora said.
“VEEM currently casts more than five tonnes a day worth of product and is potentially looking to upgrade this process with the use of Aurora’s 3D printing technology, aiming for ultra-high printing speeds.”
VEEM managing director Mark Miocevich, who is also a major shareholder, told the thewest.com.au the company had been dabbling with 3D printing in plastics while undertaking research into metal printing for five or six years with groups including the CSIRO.
“There are limitations on what can be done globally (in metal printing) in general industry … it’s not affordable or the materials are not suitable,” Mr Miocevich said.
“The traditional metals don’t seem to survive the process or meet our performance requirements.”
However, Aurora appeared to have established a means of successfully using more traditional alloys in 3D printing,” Mr Miocevich said.
“It’s obviously very early days but we want to work together because we can trial a lot of their printing in products and do testing and prototyping.
“So we are quite a valuable add-on for them because they get real world feedback, and from our perspective it allows us to work with them and be on the cutting edge of this new technology.”
Shares in VEEM closed 2¢ higher yesterday at 49¢, while Aurora dipped half a cent to 51¢.