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AMS Spring 2023

Greg Morris’s Vertex Manufacturing Adds VELO3D Sapphire to Increase Productivity of 3D Printed Parts


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Industry newcomer Vertex Manufacturing continues to add some of the best 3D printing equipment to its growing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. The advanced manufacturer and full-service machining shop announced the addition of its first VELO3D Sapphire additive manufacturing (AM) solution to support the growing demand for 3D printed, production-ready metal parts. The full-stack machine will be installed in July 2021 and set up to print metal parts in Inconel 718, a nickel-based superalloy known for its superb tensile strength when subjected to extreme pressure and heat.

The Sapphire system will join Vertex’s robust lineup of advanced manufacturing systems, like GE Additive’s M2 metal printer and Stratasys’s Fortus 400mc FDM printer, as well as other CNC machining and manufacturing devices, like the Makino a61nx CNC machining center or DMG Mori CMX 1100 V. Vertex also revealed plans for additional VELO3D solutions based on feedback from existing customers, who value the quality, efficiency and productivity benefits of the production line.

VELO3D Sapphire is used to print metal parts. Image courtesy of VELO3D.

Demand for 3D printing “impossible” metal parts is on the rise. As a result, service bureaus capable of producing complex designs that cannot be made with traditional manufacturing techniques are witnessing exponential growth. This is due to an increased demand for customized production parts and on-demand services from several industries, like aerospace and defense, healthcare, oil and gas, and automotive. Moreover, adding VELO3D metal AM solutions aligns with Vertex’s vision to become the premier global supplier of additive metal printing services and capabilities.

Driven by co-founder Greg Morris, a pioneer in the metal 3D printing industry, Vertex has achieved some major milestones since its founding in 2020. However, Morris’ history with 3D printing dates as far back as 1994, when he founded Morris Technologies (MTI), also in Cincinnati. The company introduced the first metal sintering 3D printer to North America, and along with its sister company Rapid Quality Manufacturing (RQM), they were pioneers in the field of metal AM.

Driving adoption of this disruptive technology is not new to Morris. After GE Aviation acquired both MTI and RQM for their technical capabilities in 2012, they became one of the building blocks of what is now GE Additive. Morris remained with GE through 2018, where he was one of their additive technology leaders. He now serves as CEO of Vertex Manufacturing, born out of the desire of Morris, and fellow AM pioneers Steve Rengers and Tim Warden, to leverage their AM and technology backgrounds to help companies solve some of their most difficult problems.

Where Morris Technologies primarily focused on prototyping use cases, Vertex was created with a mission to help customers who need advanced manufacturing solutions for both development and production programs, offering a range of services, including advanced multi-axis CNC machining, AM, rapid castings, and final inspection of manufactured parts. Vertex’s manufacturing facilities were recently certified in record time as ISO13485 for medical device quality management systems. In addition, it had previously been awarded AS9100 aerospace quality certification and was approved for defense articles under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), ideal considering Vertex’s customers include the Department of Defense (DoD).

Greg Morris, founder of Morris Technologies and Vertex Manufacturing. Image courtesy of GE Additive.

The startup’s latest addition from VELO3D is expected to provide the capability to create production parts that would be “impractical or impossible using other methods,” said Morris. In addition, the veteran 3D printing expert believes the new AM solution from VELO3D means “customers will have even more freedom to design and engineer some of the most complex geometries imaginable.” After all, helping customers leverage the most advanced manufacturing technologies and push the boundaries of what is possible is why Morris teamed up with Rengers and Warden to create Vertex Manufacturing.

“The intent is to have this first machine fully operational by the middle of July,” said Morris. “As we move forward, we want to leverage the knowledge and experience our team has in bringing products to market or taking them to production to bring a stronger focus on pursuing production programs, whether it’s traditional manufacturing, advanced metal AM, or a combination of both.”

The VELO3D Sapphire metal 3D printer can produce the fine features and complex structures found in critical semiconductor components. Image courtesy of VELO3D.

As one of the leading AM solution providers of high-value metal parts, VELO3D is known for engineering previously impossible geometries so businesses can make mission-critical parts without compromise. Therefore, VELO3D’s metal laser powder bed fusion technology is very attractive. The California-based company has earned a good reputation with its Sapphire technology and working with high-profile customers like Honeywell Aerospace, Boom Supersonic, and Aerojet Rocketdyne. In March 2021, VELO3D announced plans to go public via a SPAC merger with JAWS Spitfire Acquisition Corporation and released the Sapphire XC large-format 8-laser 3D metal printer.

“At VELO3D we help innovators like Vertex accelerate the future of manufacturing, not just for their customers, but to benefit all of humanity,” said Benny Buller, founder and CEO, VELO3D. “This new partnership speaks to the real and transformational capabilities VELO3D is bringing to metal additive manufacturing.”

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