(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a series introducing the innovators in Cohort 5 of “Innovation Crossroads.” Each founder will have an article focused on his or her company. Cohort 5 started “Innovation Crossroads” on June 21. Look for the rest of the series in the coming weeks.)
By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
Shuchi “SK” Khurana is no stranger to the process of advanced manufacturing.
He used additive manufacturing to build the prototype in his first start-up and has 20 years of experience in predictive analysis and commercializing products, has more than five patents to his name, and holds both a Master of Science and a Master of Business Administration, both from Ohio State University. Now he’s working in monitoring the 3D printing process.
Khurana said he spent six years working on a start-up from 2010 to 2016, which was developing a new medical device. But when they took it to clinical trials, it did not produce the results they wanted.
“That happens in medical devices, it’s much higher risk,” he said.
After leaving that start-up and working in the field, Khurana said he noticed a gap in the way people approach the monitoring process in 3D printing.
“Either you can monitor each and every micro-second of the process, or you can monitor each and every layer,” Khurana said. “Monitoring each and every layer is more practical and affordable for the user.”
This gap led Khurana to his new start-up idea, Addiguru. Because 3D printing works in a layer-by-layer process, it can be more cost effective to monitor it that way. Khurana founded Addiguru in 2019 and is also the Chief Executive Officer. In June, he joined Cohort 5 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program through Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Department of Energy.
Addiguru currently uses optical cameras to monitor the printing process. An analysis is done using artificial intelligence to notify the user if there are any errors in a layer. This is all done in real-time.
Currently, Khurana said he is focused on metal (laser powderbed fusion) and polymer extrusion processes of 3D printing.
In addition to the monitoring process, Khurana said Addiguru is a platform. It includes a user interface, machine learning, and artificial intelligence models. Through his work at “Innovation Crossroads,” Khurana said he is hoping to develop their technology further to include other sensor modalities like infra-red and near infra-red sensors so the Addiguru platform can be used throughout the advanced manufacturing industry.
“This technology that we’ll create here can be transferred over to other processes,” he said. “In the long run, that platform can be really, really helpful to the entire manufacturing industry.”
Part of the reason Khurana applied to “Innovation Crossroads” was because of access to equipment at ORNL. The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility provides Addiguru with almost every type of 3D printing and manufacturing equipment that’s available on the market. This makes it easy to test the monitoring process, Khurana said.
Addiguru is focused on using low-cost and off-the-self sensors to collect data with the intelligence built into the start-up’s software. He wants to make sure the solution is affordable and practical for the 3D printing service bureaus to take advantage of.
“Expensive sensors are good for research purposes, but it’s not a practical and affordable thing,” he said. “The technology that we have is affordable and practical.”
Right now, Khurana said 3D printing is used regularly in the aerospace and medical industries. Nuclear, advanced energy, and oil and gas companies have also started to look into the space.
“As it gets adopted by more and more industries, we will expand accordingly,” Khurana said.