Liquidmetal's Manufacturing Process Promises Rapid, Low-Cost Fabrication

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this month, it was revealed that Apple had acquired the rights to use technology owned by Liquidmetal that would allow the company to build its products out of metal alloys carrying high strength and corrosion-resistance that can also be easily cast into any number of forms.

    Cult of Mac, which reported last week that the iPhone 3G's SIM card removal tool was made out of the technology as a test of Liquidmetal's capabilities, now takes a look at some of the company's manufacturing capabilities.
    While only a single prototype of the machine used by Liquidmetal is in existence and currently in use in Korea, Apple is obviously expected to order more of the machines to ramp up production for any products requiring the technology.


    Sample part cast in a single step with Liquidmetal's injection molding machine
    As an example of what the injection molding machine can do with Liquidmetal's alloys, the report points to a small metal part used in the aerospace industry, which can be fabricated in a single step with Liquidmetal's technology as opposed to the numerous steps required in a traditional manufacturing process.
    The report also notes that Liquidmetal has been making prototypes for Apple "for a long time", hoping to catch the company's eye and strike a deal. Merkel, a former steel and plastics industry executive and major investor in Liquidmetal, notes that the company's technology must have been extremely enticing to Apple for it to pursue a deal with Liquidmetal. Merkel calls the company "flaky" and "broke for years", as it has struggled to meet its payroll obligations while producing prototypes free-of-charge in attempts to land major deals with other companies.

    Article Link: Liquidmetal's Manufacturing Process Promises Rapid, Low-Cost Fabrication
  2. mabaker macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2008
    So HTC and co are ramping up their Xerox production so that they can keep up with copying I hope?
  3. DylanLikesPorn macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2010
  4. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Time to market is everything for phones. If Apple can get from prototype to finished product weeks faster than everyone else using LM's technology, they will have a significant competitive advantage in addition to having the name brand advantage.
  5. Salacion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2010
    I've been saying this, and I'll say it once more. iPhone 5 will BE the end-all iPhone. I think.
  6. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    Faster AND lower cost fabrication. So how much of the cost savings will be passed on to the customers? Oh, who am I kidding. We'll pay because it will be marketed as a state of the art manufacturing.:(

    Okay, let the early adopters pay more (those fancy new machines ain't free). After the first 10 million or so iPhones/iPods/iPads I'll expect lower prices.:D
  7. mr.steevo macrumors 65816


    Jul 21, 2004
    But given that Apple releases a phone only once a year...

  8. SSDGUY macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2009
    "… with holographic logos cast right into the metal"

    Oh man, that's just what I've been waiting for. :rolleyes:
  9. O and A macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    New York City
    lol but what will iphone 6 be?
  10. FFArchitect macrumors regular


    Mar 14, 2010
    Well, the video was impressive to say the least.
  11. tgildred macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2007
    Turn it one way and it's a shiny Apple logo. Turn it another and it says, "Eat it, Schmidt."
  12. kaisdaddy macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2008
    Glad to see...

    ...that giving out all those free samples finally gave them a nice return! It's great that they were able to get out of debt because of this deal. Apple gets the exclusive (for electronics) on a cutting edge material and Liquid Metal gets caught up on their bills. Sounds like a win - win! :)
  13. schaabie macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2010
    You will see this stuff on a new unibody Macbook Pro within 12 months
  14. Salacion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2010
    Hopefully this product is as good as it sounds. Hopefully we can have a unibody iPhone. Hopefully we ca...
  15. CyberBob859 macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2007
    Very cool, but not quite unique

    Metal alloys which can be injection molded are starting to come out of the lab and into production. Here's another company making a similar product:

    I think we're going to see a lot more of this in the coming years.
  16. RawBert macrumors 68000


    Jan 19, 2010
    North Hollywood, CA
    I've seen some YouTube vids on this alloy... man, cool stuff. There's one that compares the hardness of Liquidmetal with regular Titanium using a couple of metal spheres. It's crazy how long the Liquidmetal keeps the ball bouncing.
  17. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    I am guessing if they can mould iPhone parts in this way they can make them far faster than the current cad milling and with far less waste, also they can get it more detailed as with cad details take a long time to mill
  18. happyduck42 macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    Sticks and stones? :rolleyes:
  19. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
  20. machomer macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2007
    is this the stuff that the Terminator is made from?

    How will this material handle heat transfer?
  21. shartypants macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2010
  22. JaSuS macrumors regular


    Jul 22, 2010
    ....sen on the good stuff

    About time :apple: capture more hearts:p
  23. JaSuS macrumors regular


    Jul 22, 2010
    may break your bones:D
  24. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    Unlikely as the article states there is currently only a single prototype machine to manufacture. It will take some time to mass produce the prototype, roll them out the manufacturers, test the outputs etc. Maybe if it were a small component such as the hinges on the MBP's they could at least advertise their state-of-the-art technology as an improvement, etc. but it will be awhile. I would guess that the IP5 antennae will be made of this stuff first, imagine a bouncing iphone.
  25. SockRolid macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2010
    Almost Rock Solid
    2012 - real 4G

    But, but, but... The real all-singing all-dancing all-IP all-packet-switched 4G won't be rolled out until 2012, in the iPhone 6 time frame. Pay no attention to LTE - it's 3.9G. 4G will use either the LTE Advanced or the 801.16m spec (and it looks like LTE Advanced will be chosen.)

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