3dpbm Pulse Podcast Ep. 3: James DeMuth of Seurat Technologies
The special guest for this third episode of the 3dpbm Pulse Podcast 2022 is James DeMuth, CEO of Seurat Technologies, one of the most exciting new companies to emerge, targeting metal additive mass production, with its unique Area Printing process.
DeMuth holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University with a focus on energy systems and high-temperature gas dynamics and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. He has co-authored 83 patents and 13 academic publications in the fields of additive manufacturing and power generation.
Prior to founding Seurat, James DeMuth was at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he worked on the Laser Inertial Fusion Energy project. Working on one of the most advanced machines ever created by humans, he co-invented and developed the core of Seurat’s breakthrough Additive Manufacturing technology, Area Printing.
Seurat Technologies recently closed a $21M Series B extension with investments Xerox Ventures and SIP Global Partners, bringing total funding for the company to $79M. What makes Seurat’s vision for massively scaling metal AM even more credible is that James’s background focuses on how to efficiently handle and precisely direct huge amounts of energy.
In this great episode, we speak with James to understand more about the company’s unique proposition for highly scalable metal AM via Area Printing technology and how this could lead to more sustainable mass manufacturing of metal parts.
“We now have a prototype machine ready and we can print with material quality exceeding ASTM standards,” De Muth told 3dpbm, “and with that are in the process of engaging with large OEMs to begin to qualify their parts and their materials to map out how we scale into series production at price points that compete with casting”. Seurat has nearly 130 patents, granted and pending and giants like Siemens Energy, Volkswagen, Xerox and Porsche that are either interested or directly invested in its Area Printing technology.
One way to understand the unique proposition offered by Seurat is to envision its Area Printing technology in a way that is similar to the transition in polymer AM from single-point laser SLA to high-speed processes such as planar, continuous DLP. Only, in metal, this requires the ability to handle a much larger amount of energy (to use a euphemism). “The patterning devices that you need to use need to withstand more power than the sun,” explains De Muth whose background is at the NIF (the National Ignition Facility) at Lawrence Livermore National Labs, one of the most advanced structures for the ignition of commercial nuclear fusion technology.
In polymers, you can use a micromirror but those systems can only handle small quantities of energy. Seurat developed a pattern that could survive a huge amount of energy and that is what the NIF had been working on to concentrate the huge laser power needed to start the fusion reaction. “This is the enabling technology behind Area Printing,” De Muth explains.
Seurat has already secured seven letters of intent to join its commercialization program from the world’s largest automotive, aerospace, energy, consumer electronics, and industrial companies, and expects to launch its first commercial programs this year. The additional funding will be used towards building Seurat’s production-grade system which is targeted to produce parts at $300/kilogram — comparable to parts produced by machining. By 2025, Seurat anticipates lowering manufacturing cost to $150/kilogram, which is comparable to castings. As Seurat grows, its tech will make the $1 trillion metal manufacturing market fully accessible to additive manufacturing.