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Liquidmetal announces it is now shipping commercial parts to unnamed customers


Apple partner Liquidmetal Technologies, maker of a unique metal alloy, announced on Wednesday it has begun shipping commercial parts to "several" customers, but declined to name any specifically.

Liquidmetal revealed that delivery parts actually began to customers in December. But the company announced on Wednesday that its manufacturing operations are now shipping parts to a number of worldwide customers, and shipments are expected to continue into the months ahead.

"We are very excited about the use of amorphous metal alloy technology to deliver stronger, lighter and more corrosion resistant pats to our customers in varying industries globally," Liquidmetal President and CEO Tom Steipp said. "These initial shipments represent a significant milestone in our efforts to provide a new class of materials for our customers to consider when designing complex parts."

Whether it's simply a coincidence or not, the timing of the announcement on Wednesday is interesting because it comes just a few hours before Apple is expected to show off its third-generation iPad. In 2010, Apple purchased the exclusive rights to utilize the company's amorphous metal alloys in consumer electronics.

Liquidmetal revealed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 that it had granted all of its intellectual property assets to Apple, giving the company "a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercial such intellectual property in the field of electronic products in exchange for a license fee."

Though its arrangement with Apple is exclusive for electronic products, Liquidmetal can still license its metal alloy to other companies for use in markets where Apple does not compete. It has previously inked deals with defense contractors, sports equipment manufacturers and medical suppliers.

In September of 2010, AppleInsider was first to discover that Apple was looking to hire a number of experts on amorphous metal alloys to build products out of Liquidmetal's technology. The first product Apple created out of Liquidmetal's material was an iPhone SIM card ejector tool, but since then there has been no indication that any other products have been crafted from the Liquidmetal alloy.