Liquidmetal Technologies filing outlines its $20 million agreement with Apple

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Comments

  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,717member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by copeland View Post


    I know amorphous metals from academic studies but I am not sure if it is really ready for mass production.

    The process of producing amorphous metals is pretty expensive as it involves the special recipes and a super fast cooling

    to prevent the metal from crystalizing. This means the original junk of metal is small because of the need of super fast cooling.

    You then have to merge these really small junks of metal to a bigger one during the process.



    When I looked at amorphous metals in Q4 2010 these plates the are using in the video was the absolute maximum the could make (I was not in contact with LiquidMetals).



    Now you have to shape the metal to your desired design. But you are limited because you can not heat it too much

    because then it would crystalize again. Shaping it by cold deformation at high deformation rates might include the risk

    of some recrystalizion as it does with regular metal. Maybe even milling is inducing too much heat locally to form some

    thin layer of crystalized metal.



    I am no expert in amorphous metal but I believe there is still some work left to be done.



    I have faith something made of LM is coming this way ....



    Just remember back to the uni body design requiring a slow, mechanical process to litterally carve out the insides. Back then it was stated over and over by experts in the field (Soli could pull up some gems from AI, I am sure) that this was too expensive and slow to ever be used for mass production ... Look where we are now!



    This is Apple we are discussing
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,717member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Check their history. They've made golf clubs,skis and tennis rackets.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidmetal





    Early versions had brittleness problems and some of the golf clubs shattered. But those have apparently been resolved (or they have found applications where brittleness doesn't matter) as they have lined up new customers.



    It is important to keep in mind that Liquidmetal is a technology, not a product. They have many different alloys and the alloys can be tweaked for a given application. Some of the alloys are over a thousand dollars a pound, while others are far, far less. For example, Liquidmetal tennis rackets are on the market and they're not ridiculously priced:

    http://www.nextag.com/head-liquidmet.../products-html



    Since tennis rackets are competitively priced, I don't believe that a Liquidmetal Macbook Pro would be horrendously out of line. I'd be confident that the price premium would be $50 or less. Keep in mind that:

    1. A liquidmetal case would use far less material than the current aluminum case.

    2. The cost of expensive machining would be eliminated. Instead, the parts would be simply cast or pressed.

    3. Recovery of aluminum fines (and the resulting explosion risk) would be eliminated.

    4. The weight saved could reduce the size and weight of the MBP or it could allow for a larger battery.

    5. Apple has a history of leading the way with new technologies and might well do something like this.



    You can learn more at their web site:

    liquidmetal.com



    Any info on the recyclability? I am excited about this as hell but wonder what the green aspect is as of course aluminum and glass are very reusable.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,717member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    It would be nice if it bounced back up into your hand.







    Brings a whole new meaning to:



    A return call ....



    Dropped call ...



    Bouncing a message ...



    There must be more ....
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Check their history. They've made golf clubs,skis and tennis rackets.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidmetal



    Early versions had brittleness problems and some of the golf clubs shattered. But those have apparently been resolved (or they have found applications where brittleness doesn't matter) as they have lined up new customers.




    After watching that video, I thought the same thing: make golf clubs! Would be a wicked driver.
  • ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    A look at Liquidmetal's website, they list Samsung and Motorola as 2 of their many customers.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,717member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ruel24 View Post


    A look at Liquidmetal's website, they list Samsung and Motorola as 2 of their many customers.



    Is that in the past tense or present? That will be interesting to watch.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Any info on the recyclability? I am excited about this as hell but wonder what the green aspect is as of course aluminum and glass are very reusable.



    I haven't found anything. In principle, any metal can be recycled, but I don't know whether it's easy with liquidmetal or not.



    Interestingly, while searching for recycling info, I found this:

    http://www.cultofmac.com/54673/apple...xec-exclusive/



    A former lqmt executive agrees with me that the iPhone will probably be the first item made from liquidmetal.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In 2011 the $972,000 in revenue came from a combination of $572,000 in product sales and $400,000 in other licensing and royalty payments, a steep drop from the previous year's $20.6 million that largely came from Apple.








    Wowww. Less them 1M in revenue? I thought that they were something big.



    Why do they have so little in sales?
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post


    The promise of Liquidmetal is a strength similar to CNCing from a solid block of metal (like unibody enclosures) with the "processing efficiency of plastics" (presumably injection molding).



    Surely Liquidmetal must have proven this processing method before making any such claims.

    And plastics processing is a fairly well understood production method. Yet if it turns out that such a process for Liquidmetal still has to be invented, then it perhaps is not as simple as for plastics. Somehow this statement seemingly doesn't match reality.





    But perhaps Apple is still deliberately not using it, milking the unibody designs.





    Entirely possible. The current products use the current production methods.



    Maybe the new form factor MacBooks will use a new new production method?



    We can't know. but we can assume that Liquidmetal is not good for much, as of now, considering that they only sold a half-million dollars worth of product in a year.



    I wonder who accounts for the other 400 thousand in licensing over the past year? A fishing lure company? Something equally low-volume?
  • boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post






    Brings a whole new meaning to:



    A return call ....



    Dropped call ...



    Bouncing a message ...



    There must be more ....



    "Your call has been terminated..."
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post


    The promise of Liquidmetal is a strength similar to CNCing from a solid block of metal (like unibody enclosures) with the "processing efficiency of plastics" (presumably injection molding).



    Surely Liquidmetal must have proven this processing method before making any such claims.

    And plastics processing is a fairly well understood production method. Yet if it turns out that such a process for Liquidmetal still has to be invented, then it perhaps is not as simple as for plastics. Somehow this statement seemingly doesn't match reality.





    But perhaps Apple is still deliberately not using it, milking the unibody designs.



    There's the little matter of scale. The claimed you cited could easily be proven on equipment that would fit in a small office. It doesn't take much to prove that it works on a pilot scale or even a small production scale. And for that scale, it's not a big deal to have to rely on materials that are only available in limited quantities.



    But to scale up to the volume Apple would need - even if it were just the amount needed to make the metal framework for an iPhone - they would have to operate on an entirely different scale. The entire operation would be different - from supply chain to manufacturing process to quality check to finances. It sounds like that's what LQMT has been doing for the past year. It would have been insane for Apple to announce a liquidmetal product before the supplier could support the quantities needed.
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,713member
    1. Same-size enclosure as current iPhone, but with with edge-to edge 3.8" screen.



    2. MagSafe dock connector.



    3. iPod touch-like form factor with LiquidMetal back.



    4. LTE capability.
  • maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    Happy speculating folks. There is more to this than we know.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    Happy speculating folks. There is more to this than we know.



    Of course there is. But my post indicates what we DO know - based on public statements from LQMT executives.
  • atashiatashi Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    It would be nice if it bounced back up into your hand.



    That's the secret new RubberMetal technology. It won't be out till 2013 though.
  • touch1touch1 Posts: 22member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    Wowww. Less them 1M in revenue? I thought that they were something big.



    Why do they have so little in sales?



    Apple does not do much for a couple of years ...

    LM company's revenue goes way down ...

    .... then Apple gets the entire company for pennies on the dollar?
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,387member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Touch1 View Post


    Apple does not do much for a couple of years ...

    LM company's revenue goes way down ...

    .... then Apple gets the entire company for pennies on the dollar?



    I'm not sure if this is just a troll post. It seems like they already licensed what they wanted. What would be the point of buying such a company just to close doors?
  • palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,154member
    Perhaps a new Mac Pro line based around this?
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    Perhaps a new Mac Pro line based around this?



    What advantages would liquidmetal give to a desktop machine? where would it be used? The frame?
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    What advantages would liquidmetal give to a desktop machine? where would it be used? The frame?



    I can't see it having any significant advantages for a desktop machine.
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