Apple exploring new ways of melting and feeding Liquidmetal for manufacturing

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 66
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    melgross wrote: »
    I would have to see it, not read some nebulous statement about it from someone I don't know. But Apple's agreement, which we've seen here some time ago gives Apple exclusive license to use this for just about any consumer device they want to use it for. An electronic, computerized watch fits right into that. Perhaps Swatch, if they really do have some agreement and license in place, can use this for a mechanical watch, which could be an entirely different category. But I would still need to see the license agreement. I've never heard of it.
    http://www.swatchgroup.com/en/services/archive/2011/swatch_group_signs_exclusive_license_agreement_with_liquidmetal_technologies

    I'd forget about seeing either Apple or Swatch's actual contract tho. :)
  • Reply 22 of 66

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    Even the cheapest Liquidmetal alloys are very expensive. Much more so than aluminum or stainless steel. Producing products from them is also expensive. They don't grind out aluminum parts, they CNC machine them, polish them, and anodize them, or otherwise coat them. Those costs seem to be less than producing parts from Liquidmetal.

     

    Re "expensive": hence my use of the word "recycle" in my first response.  Maybe Apple could offer better incentives to iPhone / iPad etc. owners to bring their old devices back to Apple for recycling.  And I used the term "grind" to lump together CNC machining, polishing, recycling all the shavings and aluminum filings, anodizing, and all those other steps.  The process still requires many more steps (and more time) than Liquidmetal injection-molding.  Apparently.

     


    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    Liquidmetal is liquid when injected into the mold, or at least in a high plastic state. It then must be cooled down very rapidly (a tiny fraction of a second), or it crystallizes. Depending on the quality of the mold, it might not have to be polished. But it might still need machining, which is difficult on these alloys.


     

    Aha.  That's the real secret.  Flash-cooling.  I wondered how the crystallization was prevented.

    In some ways a similar concept to that of flash-freezing food.  Freeze food so fast that the ice crystal structure is extremely small.

    This prevents the ice crystals from cutting through cell membranes etc. and making a mess when you thaw the food.

    Frozen peas etc. have been dropped into liquid nitrogen.  Hard to freeze anything faster than that.

     

    So presumably that Liquidmetal rapid cooling requires a lot of energy.  Which might offset some of the savings gained by

    not having to melt the Liquidmetal to a fully liquid state before molding it.  (Liquid nitrogen-filled jackets maybe?)

  • Reply 23 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    melgross wrote: »
    I would have to see it, not read some nebulous statement about it from someone I don't know. But Apple's agreement, which we've seen here some time ago gives Apple exclusive license to use this for just about any consumer device they want to use it for. An electronic, computerized watch fits right into that. Perhaps Swatch, if they really do have some agreement and license in place, can use this for a mechanical watch, which could be an entirely different category. But I would still need to see the license agreement. I've never heard of it.

    gatorguy wrote: »

    The first one I will link to. There are others. Note that it states "electronic". That covers everything electronic, as this is an exclusive license.

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2014/05/apple-extends-master-agreement-with-liquidmetal-technologies.html

    I'll add others as I have time.

    Here it the AI article I was referring to.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/10/08/09/apple_obtains_exclusive_rights_to_custom_super_durable_metal_alloy.html

    Again, an exclusive license to all of their technologies to Apple for producing electronic products. That would include any electronic products related to watches, bar none, including Swatch. As I said, that license obviously is for a line of mechanical watches. Expensive mechanical watches. Nothing to do with Apple. Apple can produce these watches.
  • Reply 24 of 66
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    melgross wrote: »

    The first one I will link to. There are others. Note that it states "electronic". That covers everything electronic, as this is an exclusive license.

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2014/05/apple-extends-master-agreement-with-liquidmetal-technologies.html

    I'll add others as I have time.

    Here it the AI article I was referring to.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/10/08/09/apple_obtains_exclusive_rights_to_custom_super_durable_metal_alloy.html

    Again, an exclusive license to all of their technologies to Apple for producing electronic products. That would include any electronic products related to watches, bar none, including Swatch.

    That's not the actual contract pertaining to production rights Mel. Apple may well be able to produce electonic "watches" while being restricted from manufacturing mechanical watches (that may be exclusive to Swatch) as you believe. I do too. But Apple's contract spelling out their rights and obligations has not been published to the best of my knowledge. The best we have is an SEC filing with limited details, only reporting what was required and no more.
  • Reply 25 of 66
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    [B][SIZE=4]Whoa!! Someone isn't being very careful with "confidential information!! [/SIZE][/B]

    Expect this one to disappear as soon as Apple gets wind of it.

    http://contracts.onecle.com/liquidmetal/apple-transaction-2010-08-05.shtml
  • Reply 26 of 66

    oh dear where to start ....

     

    the aluminium weighs the less compared to other aluminium alloys

     

    liquidmetal, any metal can be tempered, 

     

    so swatch has patent rights until march 2015, apple extended capture agreement with liquidmetal llc until february 2015.

    maybe thats why no attention was drawn to liquidmetal, yes i know its a conspiracy theory.

     

    ask yourself this ..... how much 18kt gold material would have to be cmc'd to make the watch? about 85% of the 18kt gold would be lost in manuufacturing if it was milled, much much cheaper to inject mould it, much less waste,

     

    and soon an edition watch made out of 75% platinum, so that would be a "18kt" Pt watch. now thats no more expensive than an 18kt gold alloy ... twice as hard too :)

     

    edit, reply to melgross

  • Reply 27 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    Re "expensive": hence my use of the word "recycle" in my first response.  Maybe Apple could offer better incentives to iPhone / iPad etc. owners to bring their old devices back to Apple for recycling.  And I used the term "grind" to lump together CNC machining, polishing, recycling all the shavings and aluminum filings, anodizing, and all those other steps.  The process still requires many more steps (and more time) than Liquidmetal injection-molding.  Apparently.

    Aha.  That's the real secret.  Flash-cooling.  I wondered how the crystallization was prevented.
    In some ways a similar concept to that of flash-freezing food.  Freeze food so fast that the ice crystal structure is extremely small.
    This prevents the ice crystals from cutting through cell membranes etc. and making a mess when you thaw the food.
    Frozen peas etc. have been dropped into liquid nitrogen.  Hard to freeze anything faster than that.

    So presumably that Liquidmetal rapid cooling requires a lot of energy.  Which might offset some of the savings gained by
    not having to <span style="line-height:1.4em;">melt the Liquidmetal to a fully liquid state before molding it.  (Liquid nitrogen-filled jackets maybe?)</span>
    I prefer the proper terminology when describing processes. Otherwise it's difficult to tell if someone has any idea at all about what they're talking about. Often, they don't. These processes are all well known, well developed, and are used for just about every mechanically made part in existence. The costs are low because they are so standardized. Liquidmetal has been used in very limited form for short run products that have been high cost. We're talking about tens of millions of even fairly complex parts, possibly, in the case of iPhones, a couple of hundred million.

    The problem is that while Crucible and Apple have lots of process patents, real mass production machinery hasn't yet been built. People who have never been involved in design and production don't realize how long it can take between theorizing, conceptualizing, early design, prototyping, and manufacturing of the manufacturing equipment itself. Then, and only then, after all the bugs are worked out, and there will be plenty, can they begin the process all over again with parts for products. This takes years. The average time from invention to production is seven years. More complex processes take longer.

    People often think this is science fiction, where you're losing the war on Monday, new weapons are designed on Tuesday, production starts on Wednesday, they begin using them on Thursday, Friday the war is won, and Saturday they are relaxing. Sunday, a new war begins, and the whole thing begins again.
  • Reply 28 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    gatorguy wrote: »

    That's not the actual contract pertaining to production rights Mel. Apple may well be able to produce electonic "watches" while being restricted from manufacturing mechanical watches (that may be exclusive to Swatch) as you believe. I do too. But Apple's contract spelling out their rights and obligations has not been published to the best of my knowledge. The best we have is an SEC filing with limited details, only reporting what was required and no more.

    It's been out there for some time now, and as the article in AI showed, there is indeed published information as to what this entails. If you read the link, you would see that it's Liquidmetal executives that stated, public ally, what the license entails. There is no question about this. It's a done deal.

    In fact, in liquidmetal's financial report, they told of this as well.

    And if you looked at the other link, you would see the first part of the license, where it explicitly states that.
  • Reply 29 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     



    You want there to be liquid metal so you see liquid metal where there clearly isn't any.


     

    so the "custom cold forged alloys" from apple are what exactly? 

  • Reply 30 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Whoa!! Someone isn't being very careful with "confidential information!!

    Expect this one to disappear as soon as Apple gets wind of it.

    http://contracts.onecle.com/liquidmetal/apple-transaction-2010-08-05.shtml

    You can be sure that Apple is well aware of this as it's been out for some time, and quoted from numerous times in many web sites.
  • Reply 31 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    hngfr wrote: »
    oh dear where to start ....

    the aluminium weighs the less compared to other aluminium alloys

    liquidmetal, any metal can be tempered, 

    so swatch has patent rights until march 2015, <span style="line-height:1.4em;">apple extended capture agreement with liquidmetal llc until february 2015.</span>

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">maybe thats why no attention was drawn to liquidmetal, yes i know its a conspiracy theory.</span>


    ask yourself this ..... how much 18kt gold material would have to be cmc'd to make the watch? about 85% of the 18kt gold would be lost in manuufacturing if it was milled, much much cheaper to inject mould it, much less waste,

    and soon an edition watch made out of 75% platinum, so that would be a "18kt" Pt watch. now thats no more expensive than an 18kt gold alloy ... twice as hard too :)

    edit, reply to melgross

    There are differing alloys of aluminum. They all weigh different amounts. Nothing new there. As I mentioned, there are ways of strengthening in them.

    There is a process for Liquidmetal that so e call tempering, but is exactly. It takes place in the mould. But it's not what you think of when you say tempering.

    Do you think that watch case now have 85% of the gold lost during the manufacturing process? Seriously? I can assure you that it isn't so.

    Platinum is more expensive than gold.
  • Reply 32 of 66
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    melgross wrote: »
    You can be sure that Apple is well aware of this as it's been out for some time, and quoted from numerous times in many web sites.

    Cite? The actual contract itself has never been revealed to the best of my knowledge. the only things known and reported were the limited details from SEC filings. I'll nearly guarantee that Apple is not aware the actual contract details are accessible by the public.
  • Reply 33 of 66
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    melgross wrote: »
    It's been out there for some time now, and as the article in AI showed, there is indeed published information as to what this entails. If you read the link, you would see that it's Liquidmetal executives that stated, public ally, what the license entails. There is no question about this. It's a done deal.

    In fact, in liquidmetal's financial report, they told of this as well.

    And if you looked at the other link, you would see the first part of the license, where it explicitly states that.

    The items marked "confidential" per Apple have never been reported Mel, and there's a lot of 'em.

    and here ya go, from the contract:


    "Consumer Electronic Products" means personal computers (portable and desktop); tablet or slate style computing devices; handheld electronic and/or communication devices (e.g., smartphones, digital music players, multi-function devices, etc.); any device whose function includes the creation, storage or consumption of digital media; any component or sub-component in any Consumer Electronic Product; and any accessory that is the same or similar (in Apple's sole discretion) to an accessory made or sold by or on behalf of Apple (regardless of when Apple sold or started to sell such accessory, including after the Closing Date) that is suitable for use with any Consumer Electronic Product. Notwithstanding the foregoing, "Consumer Electronic Products" shall not include:

    (i)
    products (except for any product that is capable of interacting or interfacing with a Consumer Electronic Product) that are powered by electricity or batteries but that do not in any way involve the creation, storage, consumption, use, viewing, transmission, or processing of digital media or digital information and do not involve the use of wireless communication networks. Products that fall into this category include, without limitation, electric-powered and/or battery-powered drills, hand tools and watches (i.e. a wrist-worn device whose sole function is to display the time of day);

    (ii)
    medical devices and other products that are not the same or similar to any Apple product (regardless of when Apple sold or started to sell such product, including after the Closing Date) and that are used exclusively for the diagnosis and/or treatment of human or animal health conditions; or

    (iii)
    products or components thereof that are not the same as or similar to any Apple product (regardless of when Apple sold or started to sell such product, including after the Closing Date) or component of any Apple product and that are made solely for, and sold solely into, the defense/military, automotive, medical, or industrial markets.
  • Reply 34 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Carson O'Genic View Post

     

    If Liquid Metal were used in any of the new products, wouldn't there at least be a press release from the company?  It would be a very big deal for a small company, so I imagine that as soon as the product is unveiled they would take credit.

     

    My guess is that there is no use of LM yet in Apple products, but I'm still hopeful for something in the future.


     

    Liquidmetal are not allowed to claim if apple is or isn't using liquidmetal.

     

    it was stated as such by the ceo Thomas Seipp at the gateway confreance held thursday september 4th at Palace hotel in san francisco.

  • Reply 35 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    hngfr wrote: »
    so the "custom cold forged alloys" from apple are what exactly? 

    Aluminum, stainless steel, possibly even the gold.

    Why do you want to believe that Apple would want to keep this a secret? This is the part that really makes no sense. If Apple were using this, they would be touting it, not keeping it a secret.
  • Reply 36 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    The items marked "confidential" per Apple have never been reported Mel, and there's a lot of 'em.

    It doesn't matter. These contracts are obviously out there, and that's all that does matter. And Apple is obviously aware of it.
  • Reply 37 of 66
    hydr wrote: »
    I´m sure Apple have perfected Liquidmetal production a long time ago.
    But why not milk the market with aluminium products for a while longer? I bet we´ll see at least 5-6 product cycles with the same old before they feel pressured enough to start pushing new materials.

    It´s all about making it better than the competition. No need to push too far ahead when you can incrementally improve your products.
    Also called the 'Sergey Bubka' method.
  • Reply 38 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    There are differing alloys of aluminum. They all weigh different amounts. Nothing new there. As I mentioned, there are ways of strengthening in them.



    There is a process for Liquidmetal that so e call tempering, but is exactly. It takes place in the mould. But it's not what you think of when you say tempering.



    Do you think that watch case now have 85% of the gold lost during the manufacturing process? Seriously? I can assure you that it isn't so.



    Platinum is more expensive than gold.

     

    cold forged relate to BMG, strengthening aluminum and ALSO lighter. .. lighter suggests BMG.

     

    if the 18kt gold was milled form a block of 18kt gold, then yes at least 85% would have to be recycled, injection moulding is more economical.

     

    yes platinum is more 15% more expense than gold ... this week. but my point was that Pt is a part of the original liquidmetal formula. 

  • Reply 39 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    Aluminum, stainless steel, possibly even the gold.



    Why do you want to believe that Apple would want to keep this a secret? This is the part that really makes no sense. If Apple were using this, they would be touting it, not keeping it a secret.

     

    swatch has rights to use liquidmetal in watches until march 20145.

    as i said it is a conspiracy theory on my part,

    but it would seem apple jumped the gun launching a product that is not available for several months.

     

    edit: *march 2015

  • Reply 40 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,895member
    hngfr wrote: »
    cold forged relate to BMG, strengthening aluminum and ALSO lighter. .. lighter suggests BMG.

    if the 18kt gold was milled form a block of 18kt gold, then yes at least 85% would have to be recycled, injection moulding is more economical.

    yes platinum is more 15% more expense than gold ... this week. but my point was that Pt is a part of the original liquidmetal formula. 

    Since there are literally thousands of gold watch case designs, I have a couple, it's obvious that losing gold isn't an issue. Gold cases have been made for centuries. They don't need to machine them from scratch. They often start the process from a casting. I used to do centrifical jewelry casting and lost wax casting.

    Platinum has always been more expensive than gold. But there are a fair number of Liquidmetal alloys. Most don't require platinum. But if Apple were able to use a platinum based Liquidmetal alloy, that would be a high end selling point. It would be unique.
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