Here‘s what happened in the Additive Manufacturing industry last week. Read about 3D printing from metal to plastic, from industry to small businesses, from production to bleeding-edge innovations.
The 3D printing industry may not always be keeping calm during these uncertain times, but it is certainly carrying on. Business continues as 3D printing companies both respond to the current pandemic with ever-growing initiatives (follow All3DP’s coverage here for some of those efforts) and roll out planned product introductions and new partnerships.
It may not be quite business-as-normal, but the industry remains a point of strength in the global manufacturing field. This week we examine some of the latest announcements in industry, from new executive appointments to new 3D printers, from milestones to regulatory details.
Australia-based Aurora Labs is shuffling its executive structure.
This week, the metal 3D printing company has announced (pdf) a change at the top for its leadership. Company Founder and Managing Director David Budge is stepping down from his role as CEO and will instead take on the mantle of CTO. The Board made the announcement this week, as a search for a new Chief Executive Officer kicks off.
Until a permanent CEO is appointed, COO Peter Snowsill will be acting as interim CEO. In addition to its executive structuring, the company is shaking up its Board structure. Continuing what it calls its Board Refresh Strategy — “aimed at enhancing the Company’s capability to deliver the final stages of commercialization of Aurora’s 3D metal printing technology” — a transition is beginning to move toward a “majority independent, non-executive appointment.”
That push toward commercialization of their large-scale, high-speed metal 3D printing technology will inform the search for the new CEO, as the company seeks someone “who will ideally bring experience in late-stage commercialization”; in contrast, much of Budge’s experience is on the technology side (as evidenced by his new role as Chief Technology Officer). On the Board side, Chairman Paul Kristensen will be retiring from his position, as will Executive Directors David Budge and Nathan Henry. New non-executive Board appointments include Non-Executive Chairman Grant Mooney and Non-Executive Director Ashley Zimpel. They join the recently appointed Non-Executive Director Terry Stinson and Non-Executive Director Mel Ashton, who has been in place for two years.
Long-time 3D printing service bureau Shapeways has announced a new certification.
As 3D printing continues to prove that it can as a technology stand up to the needs and quality of traditional manufacturing, industry certifications mark important milestones in outside acknowledgment of that quality. So it’s great news for the industry every time a participant gains such certification, and this week it’s Shapeways’ turn. The New York-based company has received ISO9001 certification. Shapeways points readers to the ISO’s website for full understanding of just how comprehensive that certification is; as a brief introduction, the ISO states:
“Conformity assessment involves a set of processes that show your product, service or system meets the requirements of a standard.
Undergoing the conformity assessment process has a number of benefits:
Two European companies have introduced new 3D printers focused on large-scale operation.
Netherlands-based Tractus3D has introduced its large delta-style FFF T2000 3D printer. Large-volume yet also office-friendly, the T2000 is notably taller than it is wide, lessening its footprint a bit. It can fit through “every door” at just 82cm wide, and stands 2m tall, rather than some of their other machines’ 3+ meter height. Designed for applications in signage and retail, education, automotive, engineering, and manufacturing, Tractus3D’s systems are aimed at versatility. The newest addition to their LARGE VOLUME series, the T2000 offers one-meter-tall 3D printing for objects up to 68cm in diameter — and uses what Tractus3D calls “the fastest print head in the world, the F033L, which ensures print speeds up to 300 mm/s.”
“Not every company has a room or space to fit a 3D printer of 3,5 meters high or 2 meters in width”, said Daniel van Mourik, CTO of Tractus3D. “That’s why we’ve developed the T2000. Capable of printing real large volume prints, but designed to fit in every office.”
Mimaki Europe is also on board with large-volume 3D printing with its latest introduction, the 3DGD-1800. Claiming print speeds of a 1.8-meter-tall print made in seven hours, the new system is geared toward large-scale displays, signage, and other big needs, including vacuum forming molds. The 3DGD-1800 is notably faster than FFF-style 3D printing, Mimaki Europe notes, as it uses Gel Dispensing Printing technology. The system will be commercially available as of April 1.
“Part of what makes our approach unique here at Mimaki is our dedication to being a Total Solutions Provider, and as such we have ensured that even beyond the 3D printing stage, our Mimaki inkjet printers can then be utilised to add colour and décor, making created objects even more impressive and immensely versatile,” comments Bert Benckhuysen, Senior Product Manager at Mimaki Europe.
As a side note, many in the industry have noted the 3DGD-1800’s striking similarity to the Massivit 1800 system. It is currently unclear if this is a rebranding of that machine, or if there is a relationship between the companies.
Lithuanian model marketplace marks a milestone.
CGTrader, which offers 3D content through its marketplace, this week celebrated reaching one million models available. Ramping up to the million-model mark took nine years, and now CGTrader notes that the models require “a whopping 85 terabytes of storage space.” The milestone makes sense, as the company notes that over its tenure, 21 million 3D models have been downloaded in a community now 2.5 million members strong. Of CGTrader’s million 3D models, they say that 266,000 are optimized for 3D printing.
“There were existing marketplace platforms that I had used myself as a designer but they were taking very high commissions and the designers didn’t feel appreciated. So I thought, ‘the designers deserve better’,” said Founder Marius Kalytis of deciding to launch the platform in 2011.
3D printing safety is in focus with a newly released research study from UL.
UL has published an independent study “detailing the effects of 3D printing on safety-critical polymer performance properties.” Focused on risk mitigation and quality evaluation, the study examined flammability, ignition, and electrical properties of 3D printed versus conventionally injection molded sample parts. Notably, significant variations were found, and the researchers say that “performance ratings from traditional manufacturing techniques cannot be applied when the same material is used in a 3D printing process to print a 3D part.”
UL has, in turn, introduced the Blue Card, a certification program for plastics to be 3D printed. That Blue Card will be issued when a 3D printing material receives a UL Recognized Component Mark. The Blue Card differs from the Yellow Card issued for traditional manufacturing technologies; UL notes that “None of the performance properties/ratings from a UL Recognized material (Yellow Card) can be applied when that material is used in a 3D printing process to print a 3D part.”
“Our Plastics for Additive Manufacturing Program (Blue Card Program) provides you with data that facilitates preselection of 3D printed materials and components for use in various end products. It defines the requirements necessary to recognize plastics intended for 3D printing, helping prove the safety, integrity and usefulness of those materials,” says UL. “Essentially, our Blue Card Program provides third-party certification that you are using a tested and certified material and that your materials are being monitored at regular intervals to ensure ongoing compliance.”
UL’s white paper regarding certifying plastics for additive manufacturing is available here.
First in today’s news-as-normal segment, a much-anticipated annual release of a valuable industry resource.
The 25th annual edition of the Wohlers Report has been released this week. Wohlers Report 2020 includes 380 pages full of detailed information on the state of the global additive manufacturing industry. With information from hundreds of contributors in dozens of countries, details on applications, hardware, software, materials, and workflow has been compiled into the latest data set — thoughtfully analyzed by the Wohlers Associates team, led by industry expert Terry Wohlers. This year’s report is larger than ever and highlights the realities of today’s 3D printing industry, including hundreds (250, to be precise) of real-world applications of the technology. Attributes like lightweighting, part reduction, and on-demand manufacturing are seeing adoption picking up worldwide. The release notes:
“Wohlers Report 2020 builds upon input from a record ensemble of 129 service providers, 114 manufacturers of industrial AM systems, and 40 producers of third-party materials and desktop 3D printers. The report documents government-sponsored research and development, collaborations and consortia, and the activities of 139 academic and research institutes around the world. Seventy-nine co-authors and contributors in 33 countries provided expert views and opinions in the report.
New and expanded features of the 2020 edition include:
The 380-page Wohlers Report 2020 includes 42 charts and graphs, 168 tables, and 377 images and illustrations. It also includes more than 145 pages of supplemental online content available exclusively to the buyers of the report.”
Initially planned as an announcement at a trade show, Fortify is introducing its new Continuous Kinetic Mixing system.
The CKM system is designed to “ the need for advanced material properties in additive manufacturing.” Materials are pivotal in the success of advanced manufacturing, and getting just the right blend — and blended in just the right way — is key to that process. Fortify explains:
“The CKM process incorporates additives to enhance mechanical performance (strength, stiffness, toughness, wear, and heat deflection temperature) as well as thermal and electrical properties. Fortify’s platform combines the scalability, resolution, and surface quality of photopolymers with the performance expectations of traditional high-performance polymers.”
Company CEO and Co-Founder Josh Martin describes CKM as “integral” to the strategy at hand in making functional parts. Functional materials often require additives, and CKM “ensures that additives stay uniformly distributed throughout the material while mitigating sedimentation and aggregation.” Fortify is ramping up, with plans remaining on track to start shipping its first machines this summer to select customers.
Another major industry event has wisely chosen to postpone.
RAPID + TCT, the largest additive manufacturing event in North America, will not take place in 2020. Despite efforts to postpone to later in the year, no new date worked out; the next edition of RAPID — its 30th event — will take place April 26-29, 2021 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The 2020 event had been planned for Anaheim, California.
The choice to call off was certainly difficult for organizers including SME, but was undoubtedly the right one in the face of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. The decision does impact an anticipated 400+ exhibitors and 10,000+ attendees. Many of the announcements slated for RAPID + TCT (as well as the AMUG Conference, which last week announced its own postponement to 2021) are being released virtually this week and will continue to emerge over coming weeks, as business continues off the trade show floor.
The 3D printing community around the world is gathering its resources to help offer made-on-demand solutions to help the fight against COVID-19.
All3DP has been updating its coverage regularly to include efforts from the community; we look at several more initiatives.
Each of the links below can point those with 3D printers — or those in need of their work — to initiatives to bring them together. Many projects are emerging all the time.
Words of caution: please be sure anything you might make is well vetted by medical teams that might use them. Face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are in high demand, and it’s critical that any supplies meet standards. Subpar quality will not help anyone. Keep in mind IP protections, as well, when it comes to proprietary designs for which the original manufacturers have not released files. Pay attention to the materials used and any finishing techniques employed. Print safely. Follow the guidelines of medical professionals at all times.
A new 3D printing event has been announced, and a well-established event has been canceled for 2020.
Women in 3D Printing has announced its first annual conference, set to take place in January 2021. The event, TIPE 3D Printing, is set to explore four tracks: Technology, Industry, People, and Economics.
It will be the first event in the additive manufacturing industry to host an all-female expert speakers’ agenda. The call for speakers is open now. TIPE is set to be a global conference, located in a different city each year; the inaugural two-day event is slated for Denver, Colorado. In addition to presentations on the four focal tracks, TIPE will feature un-conference events, workshops, a partners pavilion, and significant opportunities to network. (*Full disclosure: the author is on the Board of Directors of Women in 3D Printing and on the executive planning committee for TIPE 3D Printing.) “With a mission of ‘Promoting, supporting, and inspiring women using Additive Manufacturing technologies,’ Women in 3D Printing seeks to foster a more diverse industry.
Within five years of existence, Women in 3D Printing managed to grow from a simple blog to one of the largest Additive Manufacturing community worldwide, with over 60 chapters in 23 countries. The TIPE 3D Printing conference is built by and for this community of 10,000+, and features an inspirational all-female agenda of speakers over a 2-day global conference, which is a world’s premiere for the industry. A series of workshops and two un-conferences will also be provided during this event.
“TIPE | 2021 welcomes everyone and we certainly hope to see you at the premiere of this global annual meeting,” says Women in 3D Printing Founder Nora Touré.
Other event news is also for a conference in 2021: the 32nd annual AMUG Conference and business meeting. This week, event organizers officially canceled the 2020 event and have announced the next dates for March 2021. Earlier this month, the AMUG team had announced their intent to continue on as scheduled. Following the upgrade of the COVID-19 outbreak to pandemic status as additional cases have been reported worldwide, however, organizers of AMUG joined many others in postponing their planned event.
“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the user’s group, their patience and their understanding. There are a lot of details to work out, and we will be reaching out to our members, sponsors and exhibitors shortly with more information,” said Carl Dekker, AMUG President.
The announcement further notes: “Funds that have been remitted to AMUG to attend, exhibit or sponsor the 2020 AMUG Conference will be applied towards participation in 2021.”
Several new 3D printers have been introduced with industrial polymer SLS, desktop SLA, and bioprinting technologies.
EOS North America has announced the industrial INTEGRA P 450 3D printer. The system was developed with deep consideration of customers’ needs in mind, responding to stated desires. It works with mid-to-high-temperature polymer materials, with processing temperatures up to 300°C. The INTEGRA P 450 has an 8-zone quartz heating system for individualized control over different areas of each print job and enabling improved thermal uniformity. The design is modular and “future-proof” and integrates a thermal imaging camera for real-time thermal analysis. The system is available now for order in North America. EOS explains:
“Developed to meet the demand for additive manufacturing of polymers, the new INTEGRA P 450 empowers designers, production engineers and material makers alike. With an impressive array of new user-friendly features that offer unprecedented productivity, material compatibility, and simple serviceability, the INTEGRA P 450 is truly the most flexible and accommodating SLS industrial 3D printer on the market.”
On the SLA side, Hong Kong-based Peopoly has expanded its Phenom line with not one but two new 3D printers. The Phenom L and Phenom Noir 3D printers offer, respectively, larger-scale and faster MSLA 3D printing. Read more about the details and specs of both systems.
Outside of its normal FFF-based polymer 3D printers, Netherlands-based FELIXprinters has launched its new BIOprinter. First introduced at Formnext a few months back, the BIOprinter has been a much-anticipated release. Now on the market, the BIOprinter builds on the basis of FELIXprinters’ current line of 3D printers to offer a stable option for bioprinting.
Ultimaker has announced an interesting new customer for its desktop 3D printers.
Netherlands-based ERIKS, which offers technical components and services, has increased its investment in and use of 3D printing. Adding “multiple Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundles” into its operations, ERIKS is deploying them to “co-engineer with customers and offer them full support in identifying, designing and printing applications.” The company is working toward “food-safe FDA compliances and certifications for 3D printing as well” as its EC1935/2004 manufacturing compliance and ISO Class 6 cleanroom and European food-safe compliance, noted ERIKS’ Job van de Sande, Head of Technology Sealing & Polymer Technology.
“We see enormous potential in 3D printing for industrial purposes. By combining our industry, product and application knowledge with the accessible and reliable 3D printing solutions from Ultimaker, we can fully support our customers in co-engineering parts with more speed and design freedom when using injection moulding. In 2019, we managed to save over 350,000 € only by implementing 3D printed production aids and eliminating safety hazards in our own facilities. We are now gradually helping our customers to benefit from 3D printing, by advising them based on data analysis on which parts are suitable to print, but also through site-scans at their facilities. Based on these visits we can co-engineer and print the identified applications on the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, guaranteeing quality, reproducibility and reliability of the parts according to their specific industry standards,” said Sander Splinter, Managing Director at ERIKS Netherlands.
Germany-based BigRep has recently hit a big milestone.
The company that spearheaded large-format 3D printing has now announced its 500th industrial 3D printer delivery. The landmark 3D printer was a BigRep ONE, one of the best-known of the company’s systems. BigRep Managing Director Martin Back describes the shipment as “more than just a figure,” as it also indicates the company’s place among trusted providers of quality equipment. BigRep has been dedicated to large-format 3D printing since its founding in 2014, and has consistently rolled out high-quality systems printing on the large scale ever since. Delivery of the 500th system went to JAMADE Germany, an e-mobility tech company that has put 3D printing to use in creating end-use parts for its AMAZEA underwater scooter. The scooter features three-quarters custom 3D printed features made in serial production, underscoring the viability of the technology for consumer-acceptable end-use applications.
“We are very excited about this delivery because it represents a new dimension of industrial AM in end-consumer products, both for us as a company and the industry. The new BigRep ONE will enable us to launch the serial production of AMAZEA as planned, completing our existing fleet of four BigRep ONE printers,” says JAMADE Managing Partner and Technical Director, Detlef Klages. “We greatly value the printers’ cost efficiency, accuracy and quality when compared to the extremely high investment for traditional tools.”
A bioprinting breakthrough may lead to capabilities in viable 3D printed living structures.
The University of Nottingham recently shared the news of its study in which “researchers have developed a way to 3D print graphene oxide with a protein which can organize into tubular structures that replicate some properties of vascular tissue.” At the crux of the research is bioprinting and self-assembly. These small-scale happenings are creating “capillary-like fluidic structures” that “have the capacity to withstand flow,” as Professor Alvaro Mata at the University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University London, who led the study, says. Bioprinting relies on 3D printing structures with living cells that can, critically, stay alive. Fluid flow — think blood in the veins — is obviously an important aspect of living structures. Work with this new biomaterial can lead to bioprinting elaborate geometries.
“There is a great interest to develop materials and fabrication processes that emulate those from nature. However, the ability to build robust functional materials and devices through the self-assembly of molecular components has until now been limited. This research introduces a new method to integrate proteins with graphene oxide by self-assembly in a way that can be easily integrated with additive manufacturing to easily fabricate biofluidic devices that allow us to replicate key parts of human tissues and organs in the lab,” said Dr. Yuanhao Wu, the lead researcher on the project.
Relativity Space has moved to Long Beach.
The company, already famed for its approach to 3D print an entire space launch vehicle, announced late last week its new headquarters. The 120,000-square-foot HQ joins other advanced aerospace companies with the new southern California location. The HQ is moving toward operability already and is set to house both the company’s autonomous factory operations and business offices. Manufacturing encompasses software, avionics, and materials development labs in addition to production and assembly for the Terran 1 rocket.
“Relativity is disrupting nearly sixty years of prior aerospace technology by building a new manufacturing platform using robotics, 3D printing, and AI. With no fixed tooling, Relativity has enabled a massive part count and risk reduction, increased iteration speed and created an entirely new value chain,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity Space. “I’m confident our autonomous factory will become the future technology stack for the entire aerospace industry.”
We’ll be hearing a lot about coronavirus in this week’s digest, and it begins with efforts to fight the viral spread.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has introduced efforts to 3D print personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. PPE is intended to shield individuals from contaminants and is in high demand. PolyU is collaborating with Queen Elizabeth Hospital to create 3D printed eye shields, and with the Hospital Authority to 3D print face shields. Using all of the 3D printers it has at its disposal, including a fleet in its University Research Facility in 3D Printing (U3DP), PolyU has been ramping up productivity from hundreds to tens of thousands of the shields. 3D printing offers the capability to create single-use PPE such as these shields on-demand and potentially near the sites of such demand in low-cost PLA filament, responding to the ever-rising demand.
“Since the face shield is a one-off disposable item, we chose a less expensive PLA filament material to develop the 3D printed frame and attached it with a plastic clear film. We also leveraged the studies of our School of Design in the comparison of head size between Asians and Westerners in order to design a face shield that better fits Chinese wearers. Designed by PolyU and made in Hong Kong, this is a testament to the competence and capability of the Hong Kong manufacturing industry. We can do it and we must do it. I am especially heartened by our friends in the industry who have pledged their support without a second thought,” said Professor HC Man, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Director of University Research Facility in 3D Printing, PolyU.
Several 3D printing events around the world have been postponed, canceled, and digitized, while others are set to remain as scheduled.
The event, initially slated for March 11-14 in Lossburg, Germany, has been canceled. While no coronavirus outbreaks have so far been reported in the direct area, ARBURG’s management is acting out of an abundance of caution and notes that “on the basis of the information currently available, the decision was made not to take any risks” for the event, which tends to draw 6,000 international guests. An associated event, though, the Training Center opening slated for March 6, is unchanged for its operations and VIP guests.
At the end of January, TCT Asia announced the postponement of its 2020 event in Shanghai, scheduled originally for February 19-21. After careful analysis, the TCT Asia team at VNU Rapid News rescheduled the event for July 8-10. The show is closer than many others on this list to the original outbreak in Wuhan, and is among many events in China to have been impacted. The decision to postpone followed “studying and evaluating the announcements, guidance and news released by relevant national departments” and was made “in order to protect the health and safety of our exhibitors and visitors.”
Materialise this week rescheduled its Brussels-based 2020 World Summit. Planned for May, the organizers announced the decision to “ the date due to reduced travel in the spring following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” The most recent Materialise World Summit was held in the spring of 2017. The latest edition will now be held November 5-6, moved to the week before this year’s (planned) Formnext in Frankfurt.
The eighth annual Additive World Conference, hosted by Netherlands-based Additive Industries, was originally planned for the beginning of April to be held in Eindhoven. The dates have not changed, but this week organizers announced that the format has. Additive World 2020 will now be digital — which has the added bonus of becoming free for attendees. Additive Industries explains, “In order to facilitate everyone that would like to attend the 8th edition of the Additive World Conference to do so, we have decided to move the conference to the digital space. You, therefore, don’t have to book a flight, nor hotel, just stay at your desk or at home in your lazy chair and sit back and relax to view the presentations online. This way you don’t have to miss the conference while still adhering to the company policies and regulations and stay safe!” The high-profile speakers list remains intact, offering attendees the same caliber of content as always intended. Organizers add: “Because of the virtual nature of this 8th Additive World Conference, we will be able to make it free. As you know, it is not a commercial set-up and our normal entrance fee is only to cover the location and catering cost and since in a virtual conference you bring your own desk, chair and drinks, we can host it for free.”
At the start of this month, AMUG released a statement that the event would go on as planned March 22-26 in Chicago, Illinois. Citing a lack of “federal restrictions…in place to prevent meetings and travel in the United States,” organizers are optimistic about AMUG’s ability to go on as intended again this year. They do naturally note a word of caution, recommending that all attendees keep an eye on CDC and other global health organizations’ most recent indications.
Another major upcoming US-based event, RAPID + TCT, is planned for April 20-23 in Anaheim, California. A recent announcement from organizing body SME notes that “[in] line with current CDC guidance, we have determined that all SME business activities will continue as planned. Our member meetings, student programs, fundraisers, conferences and events are all continuing with the same commitment and effort that SME always brings to our work.” Again, the organizers note awareness of the situation and the need to “continue to closely monitor guidance from the CDC and WHO.” They also explain of their decision to continue with all SME-hosted events (including RAPID + TCT) that “ manufacturing needs right now is a calm, reasoned approach – and it’s important for leading organizations to take all necessary precautions but also to contain unnecessary panic over coronavirus.”
Well into 2020 now, many full-year financial results are being released for 2019.
For the full year 2019, the company reported GAAP revenue of $629.1 million compared to $687.7 million for the prior year. Printer revenue decreased 24.3 percent, again due to the delay in factory metals printing shipments, timing of large enterprise customer orders and the softer macro industrial environment. Materials revenue decreased 0.6 percent, healthcare solutions revenue decreased 3.5 percent including a large enterprise customer and increased 9.8 percent excluding this same customer, on-demand services revenue decreased 13.5 percent and software revenue decreased 2.7 percent. The company reported full year 2019 GAAP loss of $0.61 per share compared to a GAAP loss of $0.41 per share in the prior year, and non-GAAP loss of $0.08 per share compared to non-GAAP earnings of $0.15 per share in the prior year.
“In 2019 we demonstrated how our digital manufacturing strategy has come alive, with customers realizing the benefits of our production solutions across a range of industries and creating over 200 million production parts using 3D Systems’ solutions. Despite macroeconomic headwinds, I’m pleased with the growth in materials in the second half and our continued focus on cost structure,” commented Vyomesh Joshi (“VJ”), president and chief executive officer, 3D Systems. “Now in 2020, we believe we have the right products and solutions, including our planned shipment of factory metals printers in the second quarter, to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing technology and drive profitable revenue growth.”
Chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff highlighted the following points: “After a record year in 2018, we experienced a more difficult economic climate in 2019, marked by downturns in some markets, such as the automotive and electronics sectors, as well as a general lack of visibility. In this context, the Group’s performance remained at a high level and its resilience compared favorably with the sector average. I would like to sincerely thank all our employees for their efforts and their ongoing commitment. Beyond those very solid financial results, the Group continued its strategy of strengthening its specialty businesses by carrying out high-quality bolt-on acquisitions and capacity increases for high value-added products, and stepping up its innovation drive in High Performance Materials. The Group has also recently defined an ambitious climate plan to contain global warming to well below 2°C.”
Executive Chairman Peter Leys commented, “In 2019 we increased our revenues by almost 12 million EUR and grew our deferred revenues from software license and maintenance fees by an additional 5 million EUR. Our Adjusted EBITDA rose by more than 13% to 26,7 million EUR. Materialise Software and Materialise Medical both achieved record quarterly revenues while Materialise Manufacturing experienced headwinds from a difficult macro-environment. We closed 2019 with cash and cash equivalents on our balance sheet totaling almost 129 million EUR, an increase of 13 million EUR compared to year-end 2018. We believe our continued solid and profitable growth and financial strength position us well to expand our existing business and capture new growth opportunities as our company enters its fourth decade and the additive manufacturing market continues to develop.”
“Since joining Stratasys I have taken the opportunity to begin an in-depth review of the business and am already impressed by the deep level of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication exhibited at all levels of the organization. I strongly believe in the solid foundation for growth that has been created at Stratasys, including an innovative and expanding product portfolio, disciplined financial management, and the industry’s leading distribution partners,” said Yoav Zeif, Chief Executive Officer of Stratasys. “Starting in the back half of this year we expect to introduce our next phase of growth with a notable step-change in our portfolio as we begin to launch a series of new products for both manufacturing and design prototyping solutions. I am extremely optimistic regarding the outlook of the business, and I believe that there is tremendous potential to drive significant near-term and long-term value for all of our stakeholders.”
Having operated in stealth mode since 2017, London-based software company Additive Flow announced its multi-functional optimization front end software for additive manufacturing.
The modular FormFlow software wants to address many challenges faced by designers and engineers working with 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes for product development and production applications.
FormFlow is a multi-functional software which can apply multiple user-defined parameters for simultaneous geometry, process parameter, and material optimization. The dedicated, physics-driven algorithms within FormFlow do all of the complex work and produce comprehensive and tangible results that deliver optimally performing parts cost-effectively, sustainably and rapidly.
According to the manufacturer, FormFlow:
FormFlow is also AM-process / system-agnostic with specialist solvers that account for the unique properties in AM materials and can be tailored to work with single- and/or multi-material designs.
COBOD, a Danish startup working in the 3D construction business, gave a showcase of their BOD2 machines at Bautec trade show in Berlin, Germany. Very few providers actually show up with a large 3D construction printer for the visitors to see.
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, CEO of COBOD explained: “We set out to print 4 small houses in 4 days and we achieved almost that. Each of the first 3 days we printed a small house, but the last day on request of the exhibition we chose to print a couple of their logos in large scale and consequently could only print half a house.”
The printer has a modular build and can be extended in any direction with modules of 2,5 meter, to a maximum of 15 meters in the width and 10 meters in the height. In the length of the printer can be as long as desired.
For Bautec, COBOD brought a relatively small BOD2 printer measuring 5m*5m*5m. It can print with a speed of 100 cm/second, but materials and pumping equipment limitations have meant that the maximum speed so far has “only” been 40 cm/second. Even with the relatively limited speed of 25 cm/sec (due to security restrictions on the show floor), it managed approximately 64 m2 meters of walls in total during the 8 hours opening time of the exhibition.
In an interview with Fabbaloo, Teton Simulation gave a glimpse of their upcoming analysis software. It tackles a problem in developing products in an interesting new way.
If you iterate products, you’ll need to analyze its physical properties via the popular Finite Element Analysis. This means switching between different software packages several times: First, the part must will be analyzed in an FEA software. Once a problem is found and corrected, the changes have to be implemented manually in the slicing tool, which – according to the company – can take up to 50 iterations to get things right.
Teton Simulation wants to speed up the process by integrating Finite Element Analysis directly into the slicer software. Once configured, the data will be crunched in Teton’s Simulation cloud. It’ll take 5-10 minutes for simple parts analysis, more complex geometries can take up to several hours. You’ll get a part that’s optimized for strength and printing time.
No price and release date gave been given yet.
Renowned for its metal and composite 3D printing technology, the Massachusetts-based additive manufacturing startup Markforged has had little trouble getting investors and manufacturers lined up at the door. Past financing rounds have included the likes of Microsoft Ventures and Porsche SE.
But this past week, Markforged received its most interesting and top-secret investment yet, pulling in a strategic investment from In-Q-Tel, Inc., a non-profit investor that identifies and accelerates technologies in support of U.S. intelligence agencies like the CIA.
This investment will likely lead to certain intelligence organizations adopting the Markforged Metal X 3D printer, which is able to print metal parts from materials like copper, tool steel, and superalloys. This groundbreaking system employs a technology called Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing (ADAM), using an FDM-like process that builds up metal parts layer by layer.
Markforged has also been praised for its industrial composite 3D printing systems like the Mark Two, which can produce parts made from continuous carbon fiber, Kevlar, and more.
The Metal X and Mark Two have already been adopted in government and defense sectors across the United States. For example, the U.S. military already has hundreds of machines operating in three different contents to support combat operations, using the 3D printer for machinery repair, tool creation, and field operations.
“Markforged stands out as a leading innovator in additive manufacturing,” said Clayton Williams, Technical Staff, Field Technologies at IQT. “We’re excited to begin this partnership with them to further our mission to support our government partners.”
In other news, GE Research was awarded access to the Summit Supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). One of the world’s top supercomputers, GE researchers plan to use in order to optimize the efficiency of jet engines and power generation equipment.
The access comes in lieu of the U.S. Department of Energy choosing the GE project as one of the 47 winners of the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The competitive program awards various science and engineering projects with access to some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.
This competitive and peer-reviewed program grants time for advanced science and engineering projects to harness the power of some of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers. Through the INCITE program, GE Research’s computational fluid dynamics division is receiving 590,000 node-hours to use on the Summit Supercomputer.
The team intends to improve jet engine and power generation design by using newly-advanced Large Eddy Simulations (LES) to examine how complex flow characteristics impact gas turbine performance. This time will also be used to focus on finding new ways to incorporate 3D printed components that will make these engine systems more efficient and improve performance.
“We’re able to conduct experiments at unprecedented levels of speed, depth and specificity that allow us to perceive previously unobservable phenomena in how complex industrial systems operate,” said Michal Osusky, the project’s leader from GE Research’s Thermosciences group. “Through these studies, we hope to innovate new designs that enable us to propel the state of the art in turbomachinery efficiency and performance.”
In this new project focused on jet engine and power generation design, the GE Research team will analyze a number of factors, including flow mixing, boundary layer transition, separated flows, multiscale flow structures and coupling between high pressure turbine components. In the past, researchers from GE have leveraged the power of the Summit Supercomputer to improve cycle power plant efficiency, wind energy output, jet engine performance, and more.
Following the release of the Form 3B dental 3D printer and launch of its very own Dental Business Unit, the Massachusetts 3D printing unicorn Formlabs has continued its crusade into the dental industry. This week, Formlabs announced a partnership with BEGO, a German manufacturer of prosthodontics and dental implants.
Through the new collaboration, the two companies intended to bring both temporary and permanent 3D printed crowns and bridges to the dental market. Formlabs will be able to offer dental customers to BEGO’s wide range of dental materials, providing them with the ability to 3D print crowns for patients right on the spot.
Founded back in 1890, BEGO has been developing 3D printing materials for over 20 years. Utilizing these resins, dental professionals using the Formlabs 3B or Form 2 will be able to 3D print temporary crowns and bridges as well as permanent single crows, inlays, onlays, and veneers.
“Directly printing temporary crowns and bridges are one of the most sought after applications from Formlabs customers,” explained Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs. “By partnering with BEGO and leveraging their 130 years of dental experience, we will be able to not only address this need, but take it a step further by offering materials for permanent crowns.”
By enabling customers to 3D print dental restorations within Formlabs’ digital workflow, this partnership will lead to reduced production costs, faster turnaround time, and improved patient care. The 3D printing materials developed by BEGO offer unique benefits such as low discoloration and aging rates, low plaque accumulation, and high comfort because of minimal temperature sensitivity.
Both Formlabs and BEGO will be presenting their joint dental 3D printing collaboration at LMT Lab Day this weekend in Chicago, Illinois.
With the ability to 3D print custom circuit boards in just a matter of hours, the Israeli 3D printing company Nano Dimensions has raised a lot of eager eyebrows with its DragonFly Pro 3D Printer.
This week, Nano Dimension revealed that it would be further expanding its operations into the United States, announcing the opening of a new headquarters in South Florida. Located in the city of Boca Raton, the new office will help the company support its growing customer base in the U.S.
The headquarters will serve as Nano Dimension’s main center for sales, customer support, logistics, and training. It will also function as a demonstration center to showcase the technology to prospective American customers.
Last month, co-founder and former CEO Amit Dror was replaced by Yoav Stern. The new headquarters in South Florida demonstrates Stern’s intention to scale the growth of the company and expand into new markets.
With the opening of this office, Nano Dimension will also employ additional team members to accelerate the production of High Performance Electronic Devices (Hi-PEDs), which signifies a positive turnaround following news that the company cut 20% of its workforce back in 2019.
“From here the company will launch our AME Service Bureau,” said Stern. “There we shall convert digital electronic CAD/CAM files into sophisticated Hi-PEDs, ready to be installed in electronic assemblies and connected to electrical power.”
Nano Dimension’s new headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida will officially open on March 19, 2020. The company already has two other main offices located in Israel and Hong Kong.
While Stratasys has offered customers access to full-color PolyJet 3D printing technology for quite some time, the additive manufacturing pioneer is now focused on making this incredible industrial-grade technology more affordable. This past week, at 3DEXPERIENCE World in Nashville, Tennesee, the company unveiled its new J826 3D printer, which is approximately half the cost of other J8-series machines.
Offering a build volume of 255 x 255 x 200mm build volume, the J826 3D printer utilizes the same PolyJet materials as other 3D printers in its class. This machine is compatible with a full range of textures, VeroUltraClear transparency, and PANTONE-Validated color1, providing a wide array of realistic colors to improve the prototyping stage and overall design process.
Engineered to provide designers and enterprises with the ability to speed up the design cycle and produce highly realistic prototypes. Of course, the real selling point here is the reduced price tag, lowering the entry point for professionals that want to incorporate full-color 3D printing into their production workflow. According to Stratasys, the J826 is ideal for customers with mid-volume modeling requirements, especially for those working in the fields of consumer goods, electronics, automotive, and educational institutions.
Aside from the full-color capabilities and lower cost, the J826 3D printer has some other perks too, such as full GrabCAD Print software support and multiple print modes that makes it easy for users to set the speed and quality of the printing process. Overall, the Stratasys J826 enables same-day printing and simple post-processing while ensuring the same high resolution and impeccable detail expected from other J8-series 3D printers that cost double the price.
“We believe that exceptional resolution, full color, multiple materials, and high productivity should not be the province of the few,” said Shamir Shoham, Vice President, PolyJet Business Unit at Stratasys. “That’s why we extended the power of our world-class J8-series 3D printers to the new J826 – addressing the needs of mid-volume enterprise shops and educational institutions at a lower price.”
The J826 3D printer is already being leveraged by the UK-based medical company BiologIC Technologies, which is developing advanced medical instrumentation. Its first flagship product architecture will be fully 3D printed using the J826, enabling them to produce an ultra-realistic prototype and personalize medicine once the product is manufactured. On top of that, BiologIC Technologies Co-Founder Nick Rollings, stated in a press release that the newly acquired 3D printer saved the company both time and costs.
Most recent headlines involving the 3D printing unicorn Formlabs have centered around the startup’s expansion into the dental market with the specialized Form 3B 3D printer. But this past week, the Massachusetts-based SLA technology pioneer returned its attention to the Form 2 and Form 3 with the release of Tough 1500 Resin.
Resilient and highly durable, Tough 1500 Resin is capable of producing parts that bend and spring back quickly under cyclic loading. This material is ideal for functional prototypes, jigs and fixtures, as well as connectors that will need to return to shape after bending, such as springs, hinges, snap fits, and more.
Formlabs claims that its new resin is the most resilient of the entire Tough and Durable Resin line. In fact, it’s engineered to replicate the strength and stiffness of polypropylene, a thermoplastic material commonly used in several consumer packaged goods products. Striking a balance between elongation and modulus, the “1500” in Tough 1500 Resin stands of the tensile modulus of this material.
Tough 1500 Resin is already being used by Unplugged Performances, a company specializing in performance upgrades for Tesla vehicles, such as customized car bumpers. Using a Formlabs 3D printer, Unplugged Performance is 3D printing new sensor mounts in batches of 30, greatly reducing the time it took to remove sensor mounts from the bumper.
Prior to the incorporation of this new resin, it took the company around 45 minutes to remove each sensor, increasing its throughput from one car per 1.5 days to three cars per day. Because Tough 1500 Resin offers the ability to clip mounts onto various sensors in a secure way. Plus, leveraging the grey color of the new resin, Unplugged Performance has been able to create customized visible parts that blend with the interior of the car.
We’ve all taken an Uber or used another rideshare app to get around at one point or another, and perhaps in the future, you’ll be getting dropped off at a 3D printed hotel! This week, it was revealed that Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, was investing in a 3D printed hotel concept called Habitas.
Along with other investors, such as Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen and Indian ad-tech billionaire Div Turakhia, the hospitality startup has raised $20 million to expand its concept into Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The influx of tech money demonstrates some excitement for this sustainable and high-tech hotel, which co-founder Oliver Ripley calls the “Club Med for our generation.”
Founded back in 2014, Habitas was conceived at the renowned arts festival Burning Man. The startup will leverage an unspecified 3D printing technology to build hotels, which has already manifested in Tulum, Mexico.
Habitas is capable of constructing modular hotels like Legos in just six to nine months, much faster than traditional hotels, which take between four to five years to build. The startup plans to open a Namibian hotel this month, as well as eight locations by the end of 2020.
Rooms at the hotel cost between $200 to $400 per night. In the future, the company may expand its concept to tackle issues like social housing. All in all, Habitas aims to offer more than a place to rest your head, but instead takes a note from Burning Man and allow human beings to connect with one another.
Back in 2017, the Massachusetts-based startup Markforged released its groundbreaking 3D printer: the Markforged Metal X. Using a technology coined as Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing (ADAM), the process builds up metal parts layer-by-layer, embedding a metal powder rod inside of plastic filament. Markforged already offers a wide assortment of materials, including aluminum, different grades of stainless steel, and nickel.
This past week, Markforged unveiled a new material for its metal 3D printing system: Markforged Copper. Made with more than 99.8% copper, this material offers incredible thermal and electric conductivity, as well as high ductility. In fact, it provides nearly double the amount of electric conductivity than the aluminum material.
Markforged has developed this material for customers who typically avoid copper because of the difficult processing challenges that come with this material. Surprisingly enough, Markforged Copper is as easy to print with as any other metal materials engineered for the Metal X.
With Markforged Copper, customers will be able to produce parts that require a high degree of thermal or electrical conductivity, including heat sinks, welding shanks, and bus bars.
This groundbreaking material will eliminate the need for brazed or welded assemblies, effectively reducing production costs and improving part consistency. The manufacturer also states that Metal X users will be able to experiment with copper parts that have complex internal cooling channels.
All in all, Markforged Copper aims to satisfy low-volume production lines looking to manufacture complex copper parts without the overhead costs of tooling. It’s also well-suited for functional prototypes that can be tested before sending off designs for production.
When MakerBot rolled out the industrial-grade MakerBot Method 3D printer back in 2019, it signified a notable shift from consumer to professional 3D printing. But the well-established 3D printer manufacturer hasn’t forgotten how it earned its stripes, through its unrivaled leadership in the educational setting.
This week, MakerBot launched SKETCH Classroom, a 3D printing ecosystem tailored for specific classroom environments. The new program utilizes MakerBot 3D printers and a full-fledged educational solution, providing students with better access to 3D printing tools and resources. Aiming to help teachers better prepare their students for the job market, MakerBot intends to make 3D printing training a key part of the educational curriculum, particularly by improving the 3D printer-to-student ratio and overall workflow.
That’s where MakerBot SKETCH Classroom comes in. At the center of this educational package is the new MakerBot Sketch 3D printer, a new machine specifically designed for the classroom setting. But it isn’t just the hardware that is engineered for students and teachers, SKETCH offers a workflow solution to ensure that all students have easy and efficient access to the 3D printer. This includes printer management software that provides out-of-the-box access to print design, preparation, and management.
This educational package includes the following:
“With SKETCH, we are changing the way 3D printing is used in schools and advancing the possibilities of learning to boost student innovation. We believe that SKETCH Classroom is the best 3D printing setup for the classroom, with an ideal student-to-printer ratio, making 3D printing more accessible to students, and setting educators up for 3D printing success,” said Nadav Goshen, CEO, MakerBot.
For teachers, the selling point for MakerBot SKETCH is the ease of use and tinker-free setup, giving them more time to educate students with their 3D printing curriculum. The built-in filter and enclosed chamber also make the 3D printer exceptionally safe for the classroom setting. According to MakerBot, its team has tested the SKETCH 3D printer for over 46,000 hours to ensure system reliability and print quality testing.
Features like full integration of SKETCH into the MakerBot Cloud are expected in the coming months. The SKETCH Classroom 3D printer and ecosystem will make its way in classrooms in North America starting this month and will be available in other regions shortly thereafter.
As models will strut the runway at London Fashion Week starting next week, the female-led additive manufacturing organization Women in 3D Printing will kick-off the week-long extravaganza by co-hosting an event called FUTURE FASHION TEXTILE TECHNOLOGY.
Working alongside the London-based 3D printing and architectural firm Hobs 3D, the co-working space The Trampery, and The Stratford Hotel London, the FUTURE FASHION TEXTILE TECHNOLOGY will highlight the ever-evolving intersection between 3D printing technology and fashion. The day-long event, which takes place on Tuesday, February 11, at The Stratford Hotel London, will focus exclusively on 3D printed fashion, including a pop-up exhibition and a panel discussion.
Designers presenting at the event include Ganit Goldstein, Annie Foo, Mingjing Lin, Petit Pli, Lucy Wheeler, and Mark Bloomfield. Visitors can take a gander through the exhibitions during the day, while the panel will take place in the evening. Additionally, Hobs 3D will be demonstrating how technologies like 3D printing are being used in fashion design. Kadine Hames, Hobs3D creative director and a chair of Women in 3D Printing UK, will be at the event.
Another exhibitor at the FUTURE FASHION TEXTILE TECHNOLOGY will be HOT:SECOND, a concept store that trades physical garments for digital experiences. This unique storefront will be showcasing its virtual reality digital tailoring solution.
At the panel, which will discuss the duality and interdependence of technology and fashion, speakers will include Karinna Nobbs, the founder of HOT:SECOND, designer Ganit Goldstein, designer Martina Spetlova, and David Leigh, the CEO and strategy director of SWIM XYZ. It will be chaired by Patrick Scally, House Manager of The Trampery, Fish Island Village.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen a few shake-ups on the executive level of several additive manufacturing companies, from Stratasys to Voxel8. This week, the established 3D printing veteran 3D Systems announced that president and CEO Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi had notified the Board of Directors that he would be retiring.
Joshi will remain in his executive role until a new CEO is appointed. From there, the 65-year-old will transition to a strategic advisor for the company. 3D Systems is working with the executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a successor. After joining 3D Systems as CEO back in April 2016, Joshi helped the company achieve financial stability, bolster product quality, and expand the portfolio of 3D printing hardware, materials, software, and services.
Speaking on his decision to step down, Joshi released said:
“A lot of personal reflection and discussion with the Board have gone into my decision. The deciding factor was our full confidence that 3D Systems is ready for the next level. “We are poised for growth and we have built a great team, a strong culture and a powerful portfolio. I am honored to have led 3D Systems through such a pivotal stage and position the company for profitable growth in its next chapter.”
The executive announcement comes as the company planned to discuss its 2019 fourth quarter financial results over a conference call with shareholders in the coming weeks. During that quarter, 3D Systems anticipates revenue ranging between $163 million to $165 million.
One of the most glaring issues surrounding the National Football League and American Football at large is player safety. The sports equipment manufacturer Ridell is using 3D scanning and 3D printing to improve helmet safety, and now, the NFL has awarded three students from the Duke Engineering school in support of their 3D printing startup.
What started as undergraduate students producing a customized 3D printed collarbone brace for an injured Duke football player (and current New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones), the successful result led the three students to form Protect3D.
During the NFL’s 1st and Future Innovations challenge, which was held in Miami during the festivities surrounding Super Bowl LIV, Protect3D was awarded a $50,000 grand prize and two tickers to the big game. The competition asked groups to present innovative solutions for player health, safety, and performance. Protect3D presented its business model and technology, showcasing how 3D scanning and 3D printing was used to create customized protective devices optimized for each individual athlete’s comfort.
The team of undergraduate students was mentored by Ken Gall, associate dean for entrepreneurship at Duke Engineering. They also received guidance and support from the Due Innovation CoLab, which offered access to 3D printers, as well as the Pratt Student Shop, which lent the students a 3D scanner to conduct the scan of Daniel Jones. Protect3D has been operating out of a startup incubator called the Breakthrough Research Initiative to Develop Global Entrepreneurs (BRiDGE).
Courtesy of a grant, two of the students were able to focus on Protect3D full-time after they graduated, while the other continued to work on the startup while enrolled at Duke. After a full pilot program with North Carolina State’s football team, Protect3D has created 61 3D printed protective devices for nearly 30 athletes.
They’ve also streamlined the process by creating an app that allows trainers to use an iPad and 3D sensor attachment to scan the athlete’s body in 30 seconds. Once the scan is complete, the startup creates a digital prototype and 3D prints the custom medical device to fit the athlete’s body. The ultimate goal is to be able to deliver personalized protective devices to football players across the country in just two to three days.
“We hope this event helps spring our business forward so we are able to support NFL and college football teams across the country this coming season,” said Kevin Gehsmann, co-founder of Protect3D. “Most of the money will be used to expand our manufacturing facility in Durham to prepare to scale up to meet that challenge.”
Additive manufacturing history was made this past week, as a Boeing aircraft equipped with 3D printed engine parts took flight for the very first time. Said to be the world’s largest twin-engine jetliner and passenger plane, the Boeing 777X took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington last weekend.
The Boeing 777X aircraft has two GE9X engines that are composed of over 300 3D printed parts, resulting in seven main components. Each engine measures out to 134 inches in diameter and features 16 carbon fiber composite fan blades. By using additive manufacturing technology from GE, engineers were able to manufacture parts with complex geometries.
Originally produced at Avio Aero in Cameri, Italy and GE’s Additive Technology Center (ATC) in West Chester, Ohio, GE Aviation has been developing the 3D printed engine since 2013. Prior to the flight of the Boeing 777X, GE Aviation conducted 72 test flights of the engine, completing more than 4,100 hours of ground and air testing.
GE Aviation is currently finishing certification testing for the 3D printed engine, which is expected to be done sometime this year. Engineers from GE have manufactured eight GE9X engines and two spares for the Boeing 777X test program.
“Today’s massive milestone is a testament to the outstanding work and dedication of both companies,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “We are proud to be the power under the wings of the 777X and provide this state-of-the-art aircraft with GE’s advanced technology.”
The wheels on Ford vehicles are now safe from theft, all thanks to fully customized 3D printed locking nuts. Working with the German additive manufacturing leader EOS, engineers from Ford have designed locking nuts for wheels that are 3D printed from acid and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
This isn’t just any old car security system that uses a special adapter or key, the 3D printed locking wheel nuts are completely one-of-a-kind, designed according to the contours of the sound of the driver’s voice.
To design the security mechanism, the engineers record the driver’s voice for a few seconds as they utter a unique phrase, and this soundwave is converted into a physical pattern using special software. From there, the pattern is turned integrated into a circle and used as the design for the locking nut’s indentation and key.
The nut and key are then 3D printed as a single part, separated, and processed to make them ready for use. In the design, there are also spaced ribs and deep indentations inside of the nut that prevents a potential thief from being able to clone or copy the pattern. Thieves often try to copy the pattern of a lock nut by creating a wax imprint, but the specialized pattern in the 3D printed nut causes the wax to break apart when it’s removed.
Aside from using the soundwave of the driver’s voice, the engineers can also implement a logo, initials, or another personalized pattern into the design. All in all, this project marks an impressive innovation as automotive manufacturers continue to thwart thieves and improve car security systems, while also showcasing how Ford engineers can use 3D printing technology to come up with novel solutions.
“It’s one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone. Some alloy wheels can cost thousands to replace, but these unique rim nuts will stop thieves in their tracks,” Raphael Koch, research engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe. “Making wheels more secure and offering more product personalization are further proof that 3D printing is a game-changer for car production.”
One of the most prestigious names in the world of fine-art museums, the Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums spread out across the United States. This past week, the Smithsonian Exhibits’ (SIE) studios, which is a part of the Smithsonian Institution, announced that it has added a Mimaki 3DUJ-553 full-color 3D printer into its facility in Landover, Maryland.
The Japanese-made 3D printer, which utilizes UV curing inkjet to print with full-color ink, is capable of producing over 10 million different colors and has a 508 × 508 × 305 mm build volume.
SIE works with various museums and offices that are a part of the Smithsonian Institute to plan, develop, and design museum exhibits, as well as models for research and public programs. With the Mimaki 3DUJ-553, the studio is planning to 3D print models from Smithsonian collections that can be used for hands-on educational activities. The 3D printer will also be used to produce tactile display elements for blind visitors, such as raised-line maps.
“We are pleased to be a part of the Smithsonian Institution’s efforts to engage and inspire audiences through the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” said Josh Hope, Sr. Manager, 3D Printing & Engineering Projects at Mimaki USA. “This printer will enable the Smithsonian to use new technologies to produce exhibits in new ways, particularly for creating models and tactile elements that help bring exhibits to life for all visitors.”
The SIE has already utilized the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 printer for its first project, 3D printing full-color, highly detailed models of viruses. Created for the “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” exhibition on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, the 3D printed models were made for hands-on engagement for visitors.
For example, in the photo above, you can see a 3D printed model of the influenza virus model in an opened position. In this incredibly detailed 3D model, the clear part of the model contains eight purple capsids and eight yellow RNA strands.
After entering the 3D printing industry back in 2016 with filaments and powders, the German chemical producer Henkel is expanding further into the additive manufacturing realm. This past week, Henkel partnered with the Vancouver-based NewPro3D, a 3D printing company specializing in digital light processing (DLP), to use its technology to serve the medical industry.
After recently joining Henkel’s Open Materials Platform, NewPro3D is working with the chemical producer to 3D print patient-specific anatomical models, custom prosthetics, and other medical devices.
Combining Henkel’s 3D printing resin and NewPro3D’s Intelligent Liquid Interface (ILI) ultra-fast technology to produce patient-specific models from hard and soft materials. The ILI DLP process utilizes a transparent wettable membrane that enables faster movement between cured layers.
The collaboration has already yielded some life-saving results. Henkel and NewPro3D have produced an anatomical model of an infant’s skull, which was used by surgeons to prepare for surgery on a child with a misaligned anterior mandible. The surgical team was able to develop a treatment plan and identify where to situate a device to lengthen the mandible.
“Our goal with additive manufacturing is to drive production at scale. While that’s a potential game-changer in all the markets we serve, perhaps nowhere is it more important than in the medical industry, where lives are literally at stake,” explained Sean Dsvila, Head of 3D Printing Materials at Henkel. “It’s very gratifying for our team to play a small role in improving the outcome for those in need.”
Originally announced in October 2018, the 3D printing wing of the tech titan HP and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) revealed plans to construct a new facility in Singapore. This week, the collaborators celebrated the grand opening of HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab by showcasing projects that will lead to the development of new digital manufacturing technologies.
Researchers from the facility unveiled intelligent design software tools capable of automating advanced customization and supply chain models, reducing time to market and the overall carbon footprint. This software will enable engineers to customize and optimize the mechanical properties of materials. Through automation, designers can combine certain material properties to find the ideal strength, flexibility, and weight for their products or components.
Another project launched at the Corporate Lab is focused on optimization end-to-end supply chain operations. By incorporating advanced business models and analytics to supply chains, researchers plan to reduce the time manufacturers need to identify which parts are suitable for 3D printing as well as the impact of the carbon footprint.
Finally, the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab also announced the SkillsFuture development program, which aims to train Singaporean workers in the fields of additive manufacturing and digital design. At the opening, there were six 3D printing courses launched. Over time, the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab plans to train approximately 120 working professionals every year. The facility itself is already made up of a team of more than 60 scientists, engineers, and researchers focused on digital manufacturing.
“Our joint work in 3D printing, AI, machine learning, security and sustainability will produce disruptive technologies that define the future of manufacturing,” said Shane Wall, Chief Technology Officer and Head of HP Labs, HP Inc. “Working together, we can create the workforce of the future and ensure the 4th Industrial Revolution is also a sustainable revolution.”
A true trio of additive manufacturing pioneers, GE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Xerox-owned company PARC have recently received a $1.3 million grant to reduce the timeline for designing and validating 3D printed components for energy systems.
Awarded through ARPA-E’s DIFFERENTIATE program, the partnership will aim to make 3D printing more efficient for a vast array of power generation products, including wind and gas turbines. The team will utilize ORNL’s Summit, known as the world’s most powerful supercomputer, in order to develop AI and machine learning technologies that will help create and validate millions of design iterations at a much faster speed than currently possible.
Researchers from GE, ORNL, and PARC will attempt to reduce the overall timeline for turbomachinery product design in half, making 3D printing faster than traditional manufacturing methods like casting. traditionally, components for products like jet engines and turbines must go through a gauntlet of experts to ensure that the structural, thermal, and fluid properties are properly accounted for. This part validation process could last two to five years.
“One of the keys to enabling the widespread use and benefits of 3D printing is the reduction of the time it takes to create and validate defect-free 3D component designs,” said Brent Brunell, leader of GE Research’s Additive. “Using multi-physics enabled tools and AI, we think we can beat the timeline for some traditional manufacturing processes by automating the entire process.”
While optimizations have already been made to validate structural characteristics, the team is working to automate the same process for thermal and fluid properties. In addition to using the Summit supercomputer, the team will also leverage ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor to analyze 3D printed parts and generate data needed to train and evaluate AI-based models.
All in all, the grant will enable GE, ORNL, and PARC to develop systems that could lead to multi-functional and high-performance 3D printed components that are free of defects, capable of handling high temperatures and stresses, and can also be validated in a much shorter span of time.
While not exactly a direct development in the professional sector of additive manufacturing, a new project showcased by researchers from the University of Seville and the University of Nottingham could have a major impact on the pharmaceutical industry in the near future. This past week, a joint team successfully 3D printed stabilized gold nanoparticles for biocompatible and biodegradable systems.
Utilizing inkjet 3D printing, the research team 3D printed an image of the University of Seville’s logo using the gold nanoparticle material. While gold inks already exist for inkjet 3D printing systems, these materials are highly unstable and difficult to print with.
The research team developed polymers with a comb structure to create tiny gold nanoparticles with a high degree of stability. The polymers were created using a natural sugar called arabinose, making the material biocompatible, biodegradable, and also completely free from polluting residues that are found in oil-derived polymers.
The gold nanoparticles were derived from three chemically functionalized polymers that were extremely small and proved to be stable for at least six months after being 3D printed. After testing out each ink, the best formulation was used to print the logo of the University of Seville.
According to the research team, this development could potentially be used for various applications in the pharmaceutical industry, including the creation of biocompatible and patient-specific biosensors made from nanoparticle gold, which have proven effective in detecting carcinogenic cells and tumor biomarkers.
Back in 2017, the tech giant HP unveiled FitStation, a 3D printing platform that leverages the groundbreaking Multi Jet Fusion technology to produce custom-fitted footwear. This week, Superfeet, a leading producer of insoles for active people, obtained a license from New Balance to use HP’s FitStation to produce the footwear company’s insoles.
The new line of insoles, which will be sold under the brand New Balance Stride 3D insoles, includes three designs from the Superfeet line: Casual, Running, and Sport. Using Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers, HP and Superfeet will produce customized 3D printed insoles based on the biometric data of the customers.
The FitStation platform utilizes 3D scanning and gait analysis technology to create individualized footwear designs, which are 3D printed using flexible materials like TPU. New Balance custom insoles will have 3D printed caps integrated into the design, which will be assembled into the final insole at the Flowbuilt Manufacturing facility in Washington state.
This isn’t the first time HP and Superfeet have worked together. Back in 2017, the two companies worked with Brooks Running Company to create tailored sneakers via the FitStation platform. The new line of custom insoles is already available online, in New Balance stores, and in select retailers. In 2020, Superfeet plans to expand its New Balance insole offerings in North America and certain parts of Asia.
“Together with partners like Superfeet we are helping the world’s leading footwear companies take full advantage of digital manufacturing, create innovative designs, improve workflows, and deliver individualized products,” said Philipp Jung, General Manager & Global Head of Vertical Industries & End-to-End Applications, 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing, HP Inc.
From smart wearables to 3D printed hair, there’s no shortage of innovation coming out of the MIT Media Lab. This week, Associate Professor Neri Oxman and a group of graduate students unveiled a new 3D printing technique capable of producing objects that can control living organisms.
Developed alongside researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the method is able to integrate living cells into 3D printed materials, using selectively placed chemicals to activate cells. According to MIT, this technology could be used to 3D print biomedical tools that contain living cells to produce therapeutic compounds like painkillers and topical treatments.
At the moment, the team is just in the early stages of experimentation. Thus far, they have integrated chemicals that act as signals to activate predictable responses in biologically engineered microbes that have been spray-coated onto the 3D printed object. These microbes emit specific colors as a reaction to the chemical signals.
With the success of their proof-of-concept experiment, the team claims that these colored patterns showcase the ability to integrate living cells into the surface of 3D printed objects.
To accomplish this, the research team utilized multi-material inkjet 3D printing technology, utilizing combinations of resins and chemicals to create the materials. In one case, they found that a resin typically used to 3D print support structures was able to absorb and retain the incorporated chemical signals used to control the behavior of living organisms. The living layer, which is made up of a hydrogel infused with biologically engineered bacteria, is added onto the surface of the object after the fact.
Additionally, the inkjet 3D printing platform allowed the researchers to control material properties in certain areas of the structures, making some parts more stiff, flexible, absorbent, or liquid-repellant. This capability could be especially helpful for the production of biomedical devices that require varying degrees of strength and softness. In the test case, the MIT Media Lab used genetically modified E. coli bacteria, but other organisms could also be used.
“There are exciting practical applications with this approach, since designers are now able to control and pattern the growth of living systems through a computational algorithm,” Oxman says. “Combining computational design, additive manufacturing, and synthetic biology, the HLM platform points toward the far-reaching impact these technologies may have across seemingly disparate fields, ‘enlivening’ design and the object space.”
The additive manufacturing behemoth 3D Systems is getting into the bioprinting game through a partnership with CollPlant, a regenerative medicine company focused on 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs. This week, the two companies signed a joint agreement to develop tissue and scaffold bioprinting processes that can be leveraged by third-party collaborators.
Already a pioneer in the medical 3D printing realm, 3D Systems will utilize a proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) BioInk technology developed by CollPlant, which is already used to bioprint tissues and organs. Together, 3D Systems and CollPlant will aim to create groundbreaking 3D bioprinters and BioInks to produce scaffolds and tissues for regenerative medicine applications.
Through the agreement, both companies will have access to 3D Systems’ 3D printing technology, as well as CollPlant’s existing BioInks and new rhCollagen-based materials created via the partnership. For instance, the photo above features a soft tissue implant with vascularization channels produced with an SLA bioprinter from 3D Systems using CollPalnt’s BioInk material.
“We believe 3D printing to be a key technology for regenerative medicine, and this collaboration is one of many we are entering to play an integral role in this exciting field,” Chuck Hull, co-founder and CTO, 3D Systems. “Combining our innovative 3D printing technologies with CollPlant’s rhCollagen based BioInks has the potential to make a significant impact in bioprinting and regenerative medicine.”
Smart International, the global brand licensee for the KODAK Portrait 3D Printer, has launched its new Materials Partnership Program that will provide customers with an array of professional-grade 3D printing materials. New material profiles for BASF, Clariant, and DSM will make it easier for industrial customers to successfully 3D print functional parts with the KODAK Portrait 3D Printer.
Each of the materials produced by the three partners has been rigorously tested and calibrated by Smart International to find the optimal printing temperature, flow values, and print bed temperature. Using this data, highly accurate printing profiles were developed specifically for the KODAK Portrait. These profiles can already be accessed on the Smart3D website or the KODAK 3D Cloud.
Each material producer has joined the program with a wide variety of materials. Here’s a quick overview of each one:
“Partnering with top filament companies like BASF, Clariant and DSM gives the customer the opportunity to choose the material that best fits their project, and gives them confidence to use these high-quality 3rd party materials with the KODAK Portrait 3D Printer,” said Roberto Gawianski, CEO, Smart International. “We are pleased to be able to assist in the development and evolution of 3D printing filaments, and will continue to support progress in this area.”
We often talk about 3D printing on land or in outer space, but the maritime industry is also benefiting from this technology. This past week, the offshore rig design specialist Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) received certification from Lloyd’s Register that enables them to produce offshore-grade steel with Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) technology.
With this newly acquired certification, Keppel O&M can speed up offshore production using LAAM 3D printing system, which is a high energy laser beam-based technology developed by the Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech). Not only can the LAAM process 3D print entire parts from metal, but it’s also capable of fixing or modifying existing components.
This technique will enable the offshore rig design specialist to 3D print components for offshore products in a faster and more cost-effective way. It can also help Keppel O&M reduce its carbon footprint and thwart potential resource constraints.
The LAAM technology underwent stringent mechanical testing and an audit in order to receive certification. Over 50 sample parts made from 3D printed offshore-grade steel were tested based on material yield, tensile strength, elongation, fatigue, and toughness. Ultimately, the parts surpassed ASTM A131 standards.
“This certification is the first step for us to produce high-value components essential to the offshore and marine structures,” said Aziz Merchant, Executive Director of Keppel Marine & Deepwater Technology. “Additive manufacturing or 3D printing as it is more commonly known will speed up production times which in turn can help bring projects to completion much quicker.”
Already established as a manufacturing leader for custom, high-volume silicone prototypes and parts, the Massachusetts-based Albright Silicone has recently announced that it would bring its silicone material to the 3D printing stage. The silicone molder company has integrated 3D printing capabilities into its portfolio by developing a special 3D silicone molding process for rapid prototyping.
The offering is tailored towards customers that need small-volume production of parts but are not prepared to invest in metal tooling. Instead, they can benefit from a silicone molder with 3D printed tooling.
Albright Silicone will offer customers several ways to benefit from different 3D printing options, including molding with commercial grades of Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) between 10 and 80 Shore A durometer, color matching, mold components with complex shapes and undercuts, small-volume part production, and more.
With its new 3D printing options in place, the company is now capable of producing an assortment of rigid and high-temperature thermoplastic components for an assembly or overmolding substrate component in the 3D printing casting process or LSR product molding, slitting, and assembly processes.
“This capability of 3D printing and molding LSR is a helpful solution to customers’ problems when trying to develop and prove a concept before investing in metal tooling,” said Mr. Matt Bont, Product Manager at Albright Silicone.
This past week, over 4,500 companies gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center for CES 2020, the world’s largest consumer tech conference and trade show. Each year, organizers recognize a wide range of remarkable products in the field of consumer electronics with the coveted CES 2020 Innovation Awards.
While there was only a single product honored in the 3D printing category last year – a 3D printed titanium hearing aid – there was a total of four additive manufacturing marvels named at the 2020 edition of the CES 2020 Innovation Awards.
Created by the Korean beauty company Amorepacific and Lincsolution, a 3D printing system producer, this 3D printer is capable of printing a custom hydrogel mask that fits specific facial features and skin conditions.
The system uses a smartphone app to capture the dimensions of the customer’s face, including the eyes, nose, mouth, forehead, cheeks, and chin, to create a bespoke mask. Each mask takes less than five minutes to 3D print and is lined with hydrogel formulas with various skincare effects that are implanted for certain areas of the face.
At the CES 2020 Innovation Awards, the 3D printing system was recognized for its compatibility with breakthrough materials like silicon and liquid hydrogel. It was mentioned for providing excellent temperature control and its ability to maintain hygienic and effective use of the hydrogel for skincare products.
After working on the prototype system over the last few years, these 3D printed masks will be available as a part of IOPE’s Tailored Solution in April 2020.
Back in May 2019, the Snapmaker 2.0 raised over $7 million from 7,388 backers on Kickstarter, a record-breaking haul on the crowdfunding platform. This past week, the new Snapmaker 3D printer was honored with a CES Innovation Award, yet another milestone for the young-and-upcoming 3D printer manufacturer.
Building off the multi-faceted design of the original model, the new and improved Snapmaker 2.0 has garnered attention for offering 3D printing, laser engraving, and CNC carving all in one machine. The modular design makes it easy to swap out the different modes and harness the power of various technologies.
Read more: Snapmaker 2.0 Review: Our First Impressions
The Snapmaker 2.0 has a sturdy frame made of aerospace-grade aluminum and an intuitive touchscreen. There are three different models available, the largest (A350) offering a build area of 320 x 350 x 330 mm. This all-in-one 3D printer has set itself apart as a module machine of every maker’s dream – and CES has clearly recognized this achievement.
“We were proud to see that not only was the Snapmaker 2.0 the most funded technology project on Kickstarter, but we are honored with the CES 2020 Innovation Award now,” said Daniel Chen, CEO, Snapmaker. “We are excited to show the Snapmaker 2.0 at CES, expanding the reach of the Snapmaker 2.0 even further.”
Another honoree lauded at the CES 2020 Innovation Awards was the ULTRA Supercharged 3D printer, manufactured by the French company Volumic. This professional-grade FDM 3D printer is said to offer print speeds that are “three times faster” than other machines.
According to Volumic, the ULTRA Supercharged 3D printer is compatible with more than 50 types of 3D printing materials, from flexibles like TPU to high-strength plastics like PEKK. This boastful claim is backed up by the dual drive print head that can reach up to 420 °C and a heated bed that maxes out at 170 °C.
Another unique aspect of the ULTRA Supercharged 3D printer is the assortment of safety features, such as the full enclosure, ABEK filet, and password protected that prevents unwanted access to the machine. This 3D printer also has a modest 300 x 200 x 300 mm build volume and 7-inch touchscreen display.
Starting at 5980 Euros, the Ultra Supercharged 3D printer has been recognized by CES in the 3D Printing and Sustainability and Eco-design categories.
Lastly, another 3D printer honored in the CES 2020 Innovation Awards was the da Vinci Color 5D 3D printer from XYZprinting.
Officially introduced during the Las Vegas trade show, this 3D printer is much more than your average FDM machine. It’s a multi-faceted full-color 3D printer that’s also capable of laser engraving and 2D printing onto inkjet paper.
The 5D has better CMYK inks and a new color-absorbing PLA filament, which reportedly makes for three times better color saturation than the previous da Vinci model. XYZprinting has also integrated a quick-release extruder that makes it easy to swap out new nozzles or the laser engraver module.
“The da Vinci Color 5D can be used by a wide range of people, but will be particularly useful to small businesses and designers, thanks to its high-quality printing and ease of use,” said Fernando Hernandez, EMEA MD of XYZprinting. “The 2D printing and laser engraver features make the da Vinci Color 5D a world first, and the most complete and user-friendly desktop 3D printing unit developed.”
The da Vinci 5D is priced at $3,999, while the CMYK ink is sold separately at $69.95
In a couple of weeks, leaders and innovators from across the globe will gather at the mountainous Swiss town of Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
This past week, the World Economic Forum published a white paper entitled “3D Printing: A Guide for Decision-Makers,” indicating that the technology will be on the docket during the upcoming conference. The report aims to address potential policy changes that will affect 3D printing and offer guidance to governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to adjust to potential shifts in international trade agreements.
The white paper is primarily focused on how a digital border tax would impact 3D printing files transferred across borders. Currently, 3D printing files are not subject to customs duties, but this could change if duties for electronic transmissions are eventually implemented. Outside of 3D printing files, a digital border tax would also include streaming content, e-books, online courses, and more.
In 1998, the World Trade Organization (WTO) put a moratorium on these electronic transmissions, which has since been extended until June 2020. The World Economic Forum discusses several arguments both in favor and against electronic duties. While this tax will likely stymie digital and offline trade, it could also increase customs revenue.
Moreover, the World Economic Forum also states that holding off on the digital tax could also encourage more innovation and collaboration between the international additive manufacturing industry. It could also help level the playing field for 3D printing companies in different parts of the world.
The organization also touches on how to define the value of 3D printing files, whether these files should be considered goods or services, the possibility of using a VAT or sales tax instead of customs duties, and more. You can read more about the discussion on the World Economic Forum website.
Regularly making headlines for developing novel additive manufacturing materials and solutions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is once again walking the walk – in rubbery 3D printed shoes!
MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab is collaborating with Native Shoes, a Vancouver-based footwear company, and Emily Carr University, to develop Liquid Printed Natives. Using a breakthrough 3D printing technique, the flexible shoes are produced from a liquid rubber material that resembles black patent leather.
Native Shoes has reimagined its two most popular footwear styles: the Audrey flats and the Croc-like Jefferson. The 3D printing technique employs a clear water-based gel bath, where the liquid rubber material is dispersed into the liquid medium. The model remains suspended in the gel bath, allowing the 3D printed shoes to be produced in a single piece.
This liquid 3D printing method enables the production of completely customizable shoes with no support structures required. Native Shoes is currently developing technology so that customers can scan their feet through a smartphone app or in-store. From there, the captured data can be sent directly to the liquid 3D printing program. That way, the footwear company doesn’t have to worry about inventory and overstocking products.
The flexible and rubbery material used to produce the shoes is partially made of recycled ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). In fact, the shoes can feasibly be made from 50% EVA, making this method much more sustainable than traditional methods like injection molding. Each pair of shoes take about two hours to emerge from the liquid bath.
While there’s no release date on these shoes, the company is currently testing them out and plan to make further improvements to the material.
Aside from the collection of honorees at CES 2020, a unique electric vehicle with 3D printed parts almost whizzed right by us. On the trade show floor, the automotive manufacturer Rinspeed showcased its latest concept vehicle: the MetroSnap.
Over 30 of the components included in this electric and modular vehicle were 3D printed using FDM and PolyJet technologies from the additive manufacturing titan Stratasys. Both the interior and exterior of the MetroSnap featured 3D printed parts, such as the interior consoles, plug socket fixtures, air vents, display frames, and even the license plates.
The vehicle itself follows a unique design concept found in Rinspeed’s previous concepts. The chassis and body are completely separated, so the body can be swapped out to serve different purposes, whether that be transporting goods or people.
Rinspeed believes its MetroSnap concept could be especially useful for parcel delivery. For instance, it could be used to drop off entire parcel stations (the body) in a neighborhood while the chassis leaves to run other tasks. Another interesting aspect of this electric vehicle is that batteries are divided between the body and chassis, so the vehicle can be charged while the body is being loaded with cargo or cleaned.
There’s no telling whether this concept will be whipping through your neighborhood anytime soon, but it certainly generated some electricity in Las Vegas this past week.
At the start of 2020, the 3D printing veteran Stratasys will have a fresh face at the very top of the leadership chain, as the company recently announced the appointment of Yoav Zeif (pictured above) as its new CEO.
Starting the position on February 18, 2020, Zeif will utilize his experience in global operations and leadership to steer Stratasys into its next phase of growth. Until then, interim CEO Elchanan Jaglom will continue to run the company and will maintain his role as chairman once the new CEO begins his tenure.
While Zeif is new to the world of additive manufacturing, he has an extensive resume and expertise is in sales, product, R&D, and manufacturing operations. Stratasys is hoping that the new CEO will leverage this experience to help bolster the company’s success in the industrial additive manufacturing market.
Most recently, Zeif served as a partner at McKinsey & Company’s New York office. Prior to that, he worked at Netafilm, which is the world’s largest micro-irrigation company, where he held the titles of President of the Americas, Head of Product Offering and Chief Commercial Officer. He was also the Senior Vice President of Products and Marketing at the crop production company Makhteshim, now named Adama Ltd.
“Stratasys pioneered and continues to power the additive manufacturing landscape, enabling companies across virtually all industries to build and improve their businesses through 3D printing technology,” commented Zeif.
“In particular, thanks to its outstanding innovations and application engineering, it is clear that Stratasys is poised not only to reshape product development and prototyping but also to transform supply chains and manufacturing through efficiency and personalization. I am excited to be joining the company and its talented and dedicated teams around the world at such a pivotal time.”
Stratasys wasn’t the only additive manufacturing company to shake up its executive structure. Voxel8, the Massachusetts-based multi-material 3D printing company, has appointed Dr. Friedrich von Gottberg as its new President and CEO.
With a Ph.D. and MS from MIT, Dr. von Gottberg accumulated leadership experience as Senior Vice President of the chemicals company Cabot Corporation. From April to December 2019, he also served as Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard University. He will replace former CEO and co-founder Travis Busbee, who will take up the role of Chief Technology Officer and focus on R&D.
“I’m excited to join Voxel8, and look forward to working with Travis and the rest of the team as the company positions itself for the next stage of growth,” said Dr. von Gottberg.
This past week, the 3D printing wing of the global tech giant HP announced that it was strengthening its partnership with Oakley, the popular sportswear sunglasses brand. The two trailblazing companies will utilize HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to improve Oakley’s product design process and prototyping.
Acquired by the eyewear giant Luxottica in 2007, Oakley has been a leader in the performance sunglasses space for over 40 years. Although the company has employed 3D printing technology in its product design process for decades, HP’s Jet Fusion 580 system will allow Oakley to further transform and streamline the production process.
With this groundbreaking 3D printing technology, designers will be able to speed up design iterations and produce prototypes in less than 24 hours. Not only with HP’s system make the product development process quicker, but it will also enable Oakley to produce detailed, full-color prototypes for its eyewear products.
Using HP’s 3D High Reusability CB PA 12 material, Oakley will produce functional prototypes that can be properly tested, and will also be able to make use of the Multi Jet Fusion machine’s system to create several prototypes at once.
“World-class athletes around the globe depend on Oakley to compete at the highest level,” said Nicolas Garfias, Head of Design at Oakley. “With HP’s breakthrough 3D printing technology, we will not only accelerate our design to production timeline, but we will also re-conceptualize the way our products are made, pushing the boundaries of sports performance to new heights.”
Not many additive manufacturing companies have managed to achieve the speedy success of the Silicon Valley-based startup Carbon, which has managed to score partnerships with big-name companies like Adidas and Riddell. Carbon also started working with the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Lamborghini back in February, and now that collaboration is shifting into a higher gear.
Carbon and Lamborghini have recently fortified its partnership, working to produce 3D printed use-end parts for the Sián FKP 37, which is Lamborghini’s first hybrid production car. The luxury car manufacturer will use Carbon’s 3D printing technology to manufacture central and lateral dashboard air vents for the new vehicle.
Combining Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis platform and Lamborghini’s high-end craftsmanship, the 3D printed air vents in the Sián FKP 37 are designed to provide comfort and elevate the driving experience with a look that reflects the need for speed. By 3D printing these air vents, Lamborghini was able to reduce its part lead time by 12 weeks, while also eliminating expensive tooling steps that came with traditional manufacturing processes.
“With the Carbon Digital Manufacturing Platform, we were able to go from an initial concept to showing the final part on a show car in only three weeks, passing through many different design iterations to get the best result. Just three months later, we were able to move into production,” said Maurizio Reggiani, Chief Technical Officer at Automobili Lamborghini.
The air vents were 3D printed with Carbon EPX 82 material, which was used to meet stringent standards. It passed several tests regarding Interiors Flammability, Volatile Organic Compounds, Thermal Cycling, and Heat Aging. Earlier this year, Lamborghini used Carbon 3D printing to create a textured Fuel Cap and a clip component for an air duct in its Urus SUV.
Now, with the 3D printed air vents being integrated into the Sián FKP 37, the two companies have reached yet another milestone together.
Finally, we have a couple of major updates regarding 3D bioprinting in…that’s right…outer space.
Firstly, the US-based 3D-printing-in-microgravity company Made in Space is teaming up with the Swedish startup CELLINK to create a 3D bioprinter for use in outer space. Leveraging its expertise of 3D printing in zero-gravity environments, Made in Space will use the bioprinting company’s technological prowess to identify opportunities for bioprinting both on Earth and on the International Space Station (ISS).
Using the microgravity environment, the two companies hope to gain insights that could provide benefits on planet Earth, namely when it comes to drug screening and cancer research. As for bioprinting on the ISS, it could potentially be used to reduce health and safety risks for crews on long-duration spaceflight missions. Bioprinting could also enable astronauts to someday develop skin and bone patches to help heal wounds in space.
“CELLINK supports space programs in the United States with our deep commitment to cutting-edge innovation, extensive portfolio of technologies and world-class team of scientists and engineers,” said CELLINK co-founder and CEO Erik Gatenholm. “We are excited to partner with Made In Space to refine bioprinting technologies that can support and enhance future missions in spaceflight and space exploration.”
Despite the exciting news from Made in Space and CELLINK, there appear to be some bioprinting endeavors already taking place aboard the ISS. After experimenting inside of the ISS, Russian scientists from 3D Bioprinting Solutions, also known as 3dbio, successfully 3D printed bone tissue by growing fragments in zero-gravity conditions.
Made from calcium phosphate ceramics, these tissue samples were populated with living cells, proving that the technology could be used to create bone implants for astronauts on long-distance missions in outer space. The samples are currently being studied back on Earth.
The scientists hope that, in the future, these bioprinted tissues can be transplanted to astronauts if they are injured, fall ill, or if their bone structure degenerates in micro-gravity. After sending cellular materials to the ISS back in August, the Organ.Aut magnetic bioprinter was used to produce tissue structures in micro-gravity.
Because it’s stationed in a zero-gravity environment, this unique 3D printer uses magnetic levitation to produce objects volumetrically instead of a layer-by-layer fashion. The Russian astronauts aboard the ISS were able to produce a spheroid-shaped fragment of bone tissue, which were able to form stable chemical bonds with one another. Then, live osteogenic cells were distributed evenly on the surface of the fragments, leading to the creation of the engineered tissue structure.
Next summer, the world’s greatest athletes will gather in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics to compete for gold medals and national pride. But for those of us who prefer 3D printing innovation over pole-vaulting, the U.S. Air Force is kicking off an event that will probably better suit your interests.
The Air Force’s Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) has announced the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, a weekend-long event focusing specifically on additive manufacturing innovation. It will take place next year in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 7 to 10. A number of additive manufacturing companies, defense contractors, tech startups, and university groups will be invited to partake in several different design challenges.
Outside of the competition, the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics will also feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and more. On the event’s website, the RSO states that “approximately 60% of the Air Force supply chain comes from a single source,” and this event is being hosted in an attempt to prove the viability of 3D printing technology, while also bringing more innovations into the fold.
At the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, participants will compete in various competitions. One challenge will be to replicate parts that meet the stringent regulations at the Air Force without using design specifications. There will also be a “supply chain marathon” where contestants will try to figure out the logistics of delivering a 3D printed part to a specified location.
All in all, the U.S. Department of Defense, specifically the Air Force, has made it a clear mission to integrate 3D printing technology into military production. Last week, the Ohio-based national accelerator for additive manufacturing America Makes signed a seven-year Cooperative Agreement (CA) with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that included a total funding value of up to $322 million. Furthermore, we’ve already seen the Air Force install 3D printed parts on their fighter aircrafts, and with the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics on the horizon, we only expect the military branch’s affiliation with 3D printing to continue soaring.
Speaking of the Air Force, another aerospace-centric organization that has seen its use of 3D printing “lift-off” in recent years is NASA. Whether we’re talking about 3D printing spacecraft parts in low-Earth orbit or producing structures on Mars, NASA continues to drive innovation on the additive manufacturing front –working with an assorted universe of partners to bring this technology into space.
This past week, Fabrisonic, a specialist in solid-state metal 3D printing, and Luna Innovations showcased its groundbreaking collaborative Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) through its partnership with NASA. Employed by NASA to gather data from cryogenic fuel pipes for rocket test stands, the UAM process was used to 3D print sensors into the wall of the rocket fuel pipe.
Fabrisonics’ UAM process is capable of embedding sensors, fibers, and wires into a metallic substrate. It’s been used to insert microphones, thermocouples, and ultrasonic inspection sensors into solid metal components. In his case, the sensors, which were provided by Luna Innovations, were embedded in order to provide NASA with precise and accurate readings of thermal and pressure gradients, enabling NASA to monitor how the engine is behaving.
Prior to embedding the 3D printed sensor into the pipe, NASA tried to gather data by mounting sensors on the outside of the part, but the external placement made it an ineffective way to gather data. And so, the UAM process was used to place the sensors directly inside of the wall of the fuel pipe.
Believe it or not, only a small portion of the pipe was actually 3D printed by Fabrisonic. The project started with a pipe structure and use CNC milling to carve out a “small grove” for the embedded sensors. Once the fiberoptic sensors were embedded, the UAM process 3D printed metal over the groove until the outer diameter of the pipe was restored. With the ability to embed sensors directly into metal parts, Fabrisonic believes its technology offers several advantages, allowing customers to place sensors exactly where they need to go, which in turn helps sensors function for a longer time in more challenging environments.
In other news, the additive manufacturing veteran Stratasys is continuing to expand its customer base throughout the world – this time in the Oceania region. This week, Stratasys AP, the subsidiary company of Stratasys, announced the appointment of TCL Hoffman and TCL Hunt as the latest authorized channel partners.
Aiming to expand its market outreach in both Australia and New Zealand, the new partners will leverage their long-built understanding of local manufacturing and customer needs to increase the presence of Stratasys technology in the region. Both TCL Hofmann and TCL Hunt will sell the complete suite of additive manufacturing solutions, including Stratasys 3D printers, engineering-grade materials, 3D printing software, as well as post-sale service.
“3D printing has changed the ways that many things are created and as an innovator and partner of our customers, Stratasys continues to push the boundaries to ensure needs are matched with the most fitted solution, whether our customer requires 3D printed replica of a patient’s heart for pre-surgical analysis, or a customized masking jig in shop floor,” said Ben Darling, Senior Territory Manager of Stratasys Australia and New Zealand Region.
Joining Stratasys’ reseller network, the new partners will serve the manufacturing sector and other businesses looking to integrate Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing into their production workflow. TCL Hofmann, based in Australia, and TCL Hunt, which services New Zealand, are a known supplier of raw materials, products, and machinery for a wide range of industries. With the Stratasys becoming a part of the portfolio, more companies in the Oceania region will have access to industrial-grade additive manufacturing solutions.
In other news, EvoBus GmbH, a subsidiary of the German automotive corporation Daimler, is using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology to produce end-use interior parts for its line of buses. The bus manufacturer has announced that it has installed the Sintratec S2 3D printer at its manufacturing facility in Neu-Ulm.
By bringing this SLS 3D printer into the production workflow, EvoBus and Daimler plan to achieve faster turnaround times, lower logistical costs, and a reduction in waste. Prior to the addition of the S2, the manufacturer was depending on external service providers to handle the production of spare parts.
Created by the Swiss 3D printer manufacturer Sintratec, the S2 will be used for small-to-medium-sized production and training purposes. In 2020, Daimler Buses is planning to launch its first service bases, which will act as hubs where 3D printed spare parts and small components can be quickly produced.
Daimler will also use the S2 3D printer to focus on 3D printing material advancements, using the S2’s easy material change system to improve the development process. This workbench-sized 3D printer features semi-automated processes for laser sintering, de-powdering, material preparation, and surface treatment, making the entire SLS 3D printing process easier to manage.
“With 3D printing the Daimler bus division can respond quickly, flexibly, economically and environmentally friendly to urgent customer needs,” said Ralf Anderhofstadt, Head of Center of Competence Additive Manufacturing at Daimler Buses. “The advantages of additive technologies, especially with regards to spare parts, are evident.”
License: The text of "3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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