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.
As we inch past the mid-way point of January 2020, 3D printing technology has already captured the spotlight at major events like CES 2020 and organizations like the World Economic Forum. This week, the news continued rolling in, showcasing just how expansive the additive manufacturing industry will become throughout the year.
From medical innovation to metal materials, there’s a lot of intriguing stories rolling down the newswire. We’re here to keep you up-to-speed with the happenings throughout the 3D printing industry.
In this week’s 3D printing industry digest: 3D Systems gets into the bioprinting game through a partnership with CollPlant, the KODAK Portrait 3D printer gains compatibility with new industrial filaments, Keppel Offshore & Marine receives certification to 3D print offshore-grade steel, and a silicone molding company gets into 3D printing!
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.”
Following its well-established success in the domain of SLA 3D printing, the Massachusetts-based company Formlabs has recently focused in on the medical industry. Shortly after releasing the Form 3 3D printer, Formlabs unveiled the application-specific version of its new machine designed for dental professionals: the Form 3B.
This week, the 3D printing unicorn announced it was entering a new collaboration with GE Healthcare that will enable clinicians to make patient-specific 3D printed models directly from imaging data. By improving access and reducing costs of these anatomical models, this partnership will allow medical professionals in North America and Europe to visually communicate and coordinate with each other and their patients.
Both Formlabs and GE Healthcare are bringing innovative products to the table. Radiologists and biomedical engineers will be able to leverage the Formlabs 3D printing ecosystem, including the new Form 3B, as well as a treasure trove of proprietary resins that offer medically beneficial properties. On the other hand, GE Healthcare will utilize its own Advantage Workstation (AW) advanced visualization tools, which are specifically tailored toward medical professionals.
Through this collaboration, radiologists will be able to use AW’s workflow to produce models of normal and pathological anatomy using automation techniques, reducing the time it takes to create STL and OBJ files from hours to minutes. From there, utilizing Formlabs 3D printers and PreForm print preparation software, medical professionals will be able to serve various surgical specialties with a single workflow while also saving time and money.
“Formlabs is proud to collaborate with GE Healthcare, a true pioneer and leader in medical imaging, as both organizations share an aim to support the practice of medicine and the pursuit of precision health,” said Gaurav Manchanda, Director of Healthcare at Formlabs. “This collaboration represents an important milestone for the medical 3D printing community and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for its growth. Our clinical customers should be able to serve more patients, more efficiently, with trusted, reliable, and intuitive technologies.”
America Makes, the Ohio-based national accelerator for additive manufacturing, announced a major partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) this past week, striking a new seven-year Cooperative Agreement (CA) with a total funding value of up to $322 million, which will be shared between the government and America Makes.
This Cost-Reimbursement/Cost Share agreement will enable America Makes to continue advancing the adoption of additive manufacturing, and will focus on the areas of materials, design, education, and community in additive manufacturing. Through this new CA, America Makes will bolster its public-private model and will establish a more robust manufacturing base to provide additive manufacturing solutions to the defense industry.
The new agreement between America Makes and the AFRL will also provide support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense(OSD)’s Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program. This program directly sponsors America Makes and specifically focuses on the manufacturing needs of the defense industry. The institute will help improve manufacturing technology for the OSD’s Research & Engineering’s priorities, which include hypersonics, cyber, and AI/machine learning.
According to America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynsk, the new CA “signifies a high level of confidence by AFRL in America Makes,” and will expand its already established collaborations and improve R&D projects involving additive manufacturing.
“For America Makes, this new CA with AFRL marks a monumental milestone,” said Wilczynski. “We have worked tirelessly together with the America Makes membership community during the last seven years and two previous Cooperative Agreements with AFRL to execute our mission of advancing the adoption of additive manufacturing.”
This week in 3D printing was also marked by a number of companies announcing plans to construct additive manufacturing facilities throughout the world.
To start, the German industrial giant thyssenkrupp is investing several million euros into a new metal additive manufacturing center in Israel. The company’s Marine Division will work with the Israeli Impact Labs in a joint venture called Metal Point. This metal 3D printing center will work directly with companies in Israel to produce customized metal parts.
Aiming to increase productivity across the country’s manufacturing sector, Metal Point will be supported by the Ministry of Economy, the Israeli Institute of Metals at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Manufacturers Association of Israel, among other agencies.
In the United Kingdom, the global manufacturer Gardner Aerospace acquired the additive manufacturing service provider FDM Digital Solutions and announced the creation of the Gardner Technology Centre. Through the acquisition of FDM Digital Solutions, the new business model will be integrated into the Gardner Technology Centre, which will focus primarily on advanced technology, innovative solutions, and R&D initiatives.
Already capable of producing metal parts and sub-assemblies, Gardner Aerospace is planning to bring FDM’s additive layer manufacturing into the fold, allowing them to expand its offerings to customers. Prior to the acquisition, FDM Digital Solutions had already proven value in serving customers in the automotive, medical, motorsport, F1 and aerospace industries.
“Gardner Aerospace is breaking new ground in terms of technology,” said Dominic Cartwright, Chief Executive Officer at Gardner Aerospace. “The acquisition of FDM and the creation of our new Technology Centre business unit provides us with the perfect opportunity to expand our technical knowledge, R&D capability and product offering, and aligns us with our customers’ growing expectations on innovative solutions, continuous improvement and cost competitiveness.”
Finally, the medical training center AdventHealth Nicholson Center announced the launch of its Prototype Lab, which will serve as an innovative space for health care professionals to use state-of-the-art CAD and 3D printing technology to develop ideas for medical devices.
The center will utilize a full-fledged development process to take medical products from concept to working prototype. In the Prototype Lab, engineers will first take initial concepts and complete a preliminary art and patent search. From there, CAD modeling will be used to design the prototype before its send to the in-house Objet350 Connex3 Polyjet 3D printer by Stratasys.
Following the evaluation of the 3D printed prototype, the creator of the device can test it out on tissue in the same location, and can even have the product validated if it’s ready to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Prototype Lab can also help with personalized medicine. Engineers can 3D print patient-specific anatomical models using imaging data from CT or MRI scans. These models can be used for patient consultation, surgical planning, and reference during the procedure.
“Our expert team can help bring an idea from ‘napkin sketch’ to reality, and our 3D printing capabilities allow inventors to hold an actual version of their device in their hands for evaluation,” said Jodi Fails, B.S., Biomedical Engineer and Prototype Lab lead at AdventHealth Nicholson Center. “Most product developers assist with creation but have to look externally for lab testing. However, with Nicholson Center’s Prototype Lab, we have the unique ability to take inventions straight from the printer to the lab for immediate testing on high-quality tissue.”
This week, a couple of industrial pioneers announced new simulation solutions to optimize industrial-level design. After rolling out a bunch of major announcements at Formnext 2019, the global tech giant Siemens signed an agreement to acquire MultiMechanics, Inc., a simulation software developer.
As a part of the acquisition, Siemens will incorporate MultiMech finite element software into Siemens Digital Industries Software and offered to customers. The MultiMech software is used to simulate functions and predict failures in advanced materials.
Through this integration, companies working with Siemens will be able to rapidly predict material properties and behavior, including failure at the microstructural level, all with impeccable speed and accuracy. For instance, customers can use MultiMech software to create a digital twin of materials engineered with part design and performance engineering in tact.
“Customers will have the ability to fully exploit the potential of advanced materials to optimize weight and performance in an efficient way that is not possible with classical, test-based, approaches,” said Jan Leuridan, Senior Vice President, Simulation & Test Solutions, Siemens Digital Industries Software.
In other news, the global tech company Altair also launched its new manufacturing simulation solution, called Inspire Print3D. Designed exclusively for additive manufacturing, the new software aims to provide an accurate toolset to design and simulate the 3D printing process for selective laser melting (SLM).
With Inspire Print3D, designers and engineers will be able to generate 3D models that are optimized to meet stringent performance requirements, and can also simulate performance to quickly modify critical process variables before sending the designs off for manufacturing.
Features of this software include part build simulation, cooling, cutting, and springback, as well as optimized part orientation, defect detection, and minimal support structure generation. Put simply, Inspire Print3D will allow engineers to make the most of SLM 3D printing, offering advanced simulation that will ultimately reduce the time and costs that go into post-processing and trial-and-error.
“With Inspire Print3D, companies can now reduce development and manufacturing costs by minimizing part supports and reducing material usage, print times, and post-processing,” said James Dagg, Altair chief technology officer, design and simulation solutions.
This past week, on social media, the Greek machine shop Extreme Tuners showed off 3D printed carbon composite connector rods that were made for use in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
According to a recent post on the shop’s Facebook page, which revealed the new 3D printed parts, the rods weigh just 77 grams, which is 10 times lighter than steel and 6.5 times lighter than aluminum. The tensile strength of this 3D printed rod is over 2600mpa, and is designed to handle over 15,000 rpm and 3000 horsepower.
For certain parts, such as pistons and rods, Extreme Tuners went on to state that it would be replacing CNC machining with 3D printed ceramics and titanium. In order to ensure high strength and lightweight properties, these parts are being designed using topology optimization.
3D printed rods and pistons are currently being tested in the Extreme Tuners facility, but all signs point to these parts as being suitable for functional use. All in all, the machine shop has demonstrated how 3D printing technology can be used beyond basic prototyping and implemented as end-use parts for automotive and aerospace applications.
Developed by the Warsaw University of Technology, researchers have recently created an atomizer capable of turning any metal scrap or part into material for metal powder bed fusion technologies. This solution, called the rePowder system, is being commercialized by the Polish company Amazement.
No matter what form the initial feed material comes in, the rePowder system is able to churn out high-quality powder. This feed can range from previously produced alloys to failed prints. This system can complete the entire powder production cycle, providing a closed-loop system that goes straight to the DMLS printer.
According to Łukasz Żrodowski, the inventor of the rePowder device and CEO of the Amazemet, the device will first be used to develop new 3D printed alloys by three groups within the university faculty, including a Biomaterials Group, a Group researching Aerospace Materials, and a Structural and Functional Materials Division.
While experimenting with DMLS 3D printing systems, the researchers realized that a system like the rePowder would be much more effective than having to wait weeks and pay thousands for a limited selection of materials. All in all, the Warsaw University of Technology research team is hoping to address the current lack of metal powder materials on the market by producing new materials on the rePowder system.
As the Oakland Raiders plan to move from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, the NFL team will be greeted by an 85-foot-tall 3D printed memorial to their former owner Al Davis. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week, the interior of the new Allegiant Stadium will boast an 85-foot-tall Al Davis Memorial Torch.
According to Las Vegas Stadium Co. Chief Operating Officer Don Webb, the memorial will be the largest 3D printed object in the world, emerging through a giant hole that encompasses two levels of the stadium.
In the Las Vegas Review-Journal article, Webb said that the torch was 3D printed in order to achieve the complex geometry of the design.
“It’s complex geometry, it’s not a cylinder, it’s a swooping kind of thing. It’s a sculpture,” he explained. “In order to have that so it’s absolutely perfect you just can’t manipulate materials by hand without having some imperfections. So that’s why it’s being 3D printed.”
The frame of the torch is currently in place, while the final pieces are still being 3D printed in Kansas City. With a carbon fiber and aluminum structure, the torch will be a premier hangout spot for fans, surrounded by a circular bar.
As for the stadium itself, construction will cost around $2 billion and will be able to hold approximately 65,000 fans at any given game.
The Massachusetts-based company Desktop Metal had several announcements at Formnext 2019, including the release 4140 chromoly steel material for its flagship desktop-sized Studio System. But the most exciting news to come from the metal 3D printing pioneer during the trade show was the creation of a new metal binder jetting system: the Shop System.
Aiming to satisfy the market for mid-volume production, Desktop Metal is calling its latest 3D printer “the world’s first metal binder jetting system designed for machine shops.” There will be four different versions of the Shop System (4L, 8L, 12L, 16L), each of which will have different dimensions. The 4L, for example, has a build volume of 350 x 220 x 50 mm, while the 16L has a build volume of 350 x 220 x 200 mm.
While the Studio System was made for low-volume production and the Production System targeted mass production, the Shop System fits right in between the two, designed for shop owners looking for the middle ground in terms of production runs.
Starting at $150,000, the Shop System is surprisingly affordable for a 3D printing system of its caliber. The binder jetting technology enables this machine to pump out parts at ten times the speed of other metal production techniques. According to Desktop Metal, the Shop System can complete a batch of complex parts every 6-12 hours, which makes it possible to print hundreds of near-net-shape metal parts in a single day.
This high-speed production is possible due in part to the built-in support structure that the powder bed provides, as well as removable sintering setters. The Shop System reportedly produces parts with remarkable print resolution, around 33% higher resolution compared to other binder jetting systems.
According to Desktop Metal, this new system is the “highest resolution single-pass binder jetting printing system on the market”, providing a spot size of 16 microns per drop, 1600 native single pass DPI, and the ability to distribute up to 670 million drops per second.
“The Shop System offers users the same fully-dense metal parts at an affordable price that works in harmony with machining on the shop floor,” said Jonah Myerberg, co-founder and CTO of Desktop Metal. “What’s more, the system enables owners to both save and make money by eliminating tooling costs, lowering lead times, and bringing in new business because of an improved part-cost equation.”
During the first day of Formnext, GE Additive pulled the curtain to reveal two new metal 3D printing systems: the Arcam EBM Spectra L and Concept Laser M2 Series 5. Aiming to meet the evolving demands of industrial partners, the new machines show enhancements in both build volume and production capabilities. Both systems were on display in GE Additive’s booth at Formnext.
Already available to GE Additive customers, the Arcam EBM Spectra L offers double the build volume of the EBM Spectra H, while also providing a larger print area and more speed than the Q20plus. Equipped with a 4.5kW, the new EBM machine is currently compatible with grade 5 Ti6AI4V and grade 23 Ti6AI4V, and will work with pure copper sometime next year.
According to GE Additive, the Arcam EBM Spectra L platform can be used with newly unveiled Arcam EBM PRS 30, an automated powder retrieval system that makes powder handing both safer and more efficient. This system was developed with the aerospace industry in mind, providing a high degree of reliability, repeatability, and automation.
To complement the EBM portfolio, GE Additive also showcased the Arcam EBM Build Performance Analyzer, a suite of machine health data analytics that will be released throughout the next year.
The Concept Laser M2 Series 5, which is scheduled to be released early in 2020, was developed in collaboration with the GE Aviation. Utilizing a dual laser system, the latest Concept Laser system has a build volume of 350 x 245 x 245 mm and faster production speed.
According to GE Additive, this metal 3D printing system also aims to reduce surface roughness, provide greater consistency from build to build, and also contains hardware enhancements like an improved gas flow system and optical cooling with more than ten internal sensors.
The German additive manufacturing mogul EOS rolled up to Formnext 2019 with a brand-new 3D printing process called Fine Detail Resolution (FDR) technology. Demonstrated live during the trade show, the CO laser solution processes polymers in a way that creates delicate yet robust parts. According to EOS, FDR technology is able to produce intricate details and wall thicknesses as low as 0.22 mm.
“The new technology will combine the best of two worlds: the detailed resolution of stereolithography (SLA) with the durability and quality of selective laser sintering (SLS),” said Dr. Tim Rüttermann, Senior Vice President, Polymer Division, EOS.
At the heart of this technology is a 50-watt CO laser that is capable of producing an ultra-fine laser beam with a focus diameter that is half the size of what most SLS 3D printers are equipped with. While this increased precision can tackle complex details, it does come at a slight cost, as the exposure parameters can lead to superfine surfaces.
According to EOS, this super high-resolution technology is suitable for a wide range of applications, such as the production of filter units and fluid channels, plugs, electronic components, as well as consumer products like eyeglasses. Currently, the new process has been tested with a renewable PA 1101 material, which offers high impact resistance and elongation at break.
Customers can leverage the FDR technology through a variety of EOS configurations, including the EOS P 500 3D printer. Compared to EOS LaserProFusion, which was unveiled at last year’s Formnext, the new technique is positioned on the other end of the spectrum, giving users the ability to choose the technology the best suits their needs. While FDR technology is ideal for manufacturing delicate components, EOS LaserProFusion is better-suited for those seeking maximum productivity with dedicated application materials.
There were plenty of other noteworthy product releases and partnerships announced during Formnext 2019. While it’d be impossible to cover everything that happened in this digest, we’ll try to provide a quick recap of the other happenings to come out of Frankfurt this past week.
One of the most thrilling displays on the trade show floor was LOCI, a 3D printed “pod car” created by the German 3D printer manufacturer BigRep. Using large-scale FDM 3D printers and BigRep Part DNA technology, this autonomous electric car has NFC chips embedded into the 3D printed parts.
By embedded NFC chips into 3D printed components, BigRep wanted to demonstrate how engineers could use this technology to scan and identify unique parts using a mobile device. Designed by BigRep’s in-house consultant NOWLAB, LOCI is intended to serve as a “last mile transportation solution” for urban environments, such as airports and train stations.
“LOCI is more than a vehicle, it’s the evolution of personalized mobility,” said NOWLAB co-founder and BigRep CIO Daniel Buening. “LOCI is an affordable solution for urban transportation, harnessing the agility of AM while also demonstrating the cost-efficient advantages of 3D printing for sustainable AM such as manufacturing personalized products on-site and on-demand.”
Speaking of transportation, the additive manufacturing veteran Stratasys announced its new Rail Industry Solution at Formnext 2019. The new service aims to help passenger trains become more reliable and reduce costs by allowing operators to 3D print spare parts on-demand.
The Rail Industry Solution will make use of Stratasys Fortus 3D printers, along with ULTEM 9085 resin and Antero 800NA material, both of which have passed the European Union’s Rail Standard, EN45545-2. Rail operators will be able to quickly produce unique spare parts that meet stringent government certification requirements, reducing lead times and production costs.
A number of customers and partners are already utilizing the Rail Industry Solution, including Angel Trains, Bombardier Transportation, Chiltern Railways, DB ESG, and Siemens Mobility.
In other news, the Massachusetts-based 3D printing pioneer Markforged announced Turbo Print for its X7 Carbon Fiber 3D printer. This new feature effectively doubles the system’s print speed without jeopardizing surface quality. By increasing the print speed of the Markforged X7 3D printer, customers will gain the ability to quickly replace parts, increase production volume, and ultimately receive a greater return on investment.
There was a whole lot more happening at Formnext, but these were some of the most impactful tidbits from throughout the week. Stay tuned for our next 3D Printing Industry Digest to find out what else is taking place on the industrial 3D printing stage.
Announced ahead of Formnext 2019, the global tech giant HP is continuing its triumphant journey through the additive manufacturing landscape with a new “pay-per-build” HP 3D as a Service (3DaaS) Base subscription service. Aiming to improve customer experience with its groundbreaking Multi Jet Fusion technology, HP will provide customers with automatic replenishment of HP 3D Supplies, tracking of billing and usage, as well as remote and on-site support services for its HP Jet Fusion 5200, 4200, and 500 series printers.
“The journey to digital manufacturing requires much more than just technology. Customers want integrated solutions coupled with convenient capital models providing the predictability, transparency, and flexibility to quickly scale their businesses,” said Ramon Pastor, interim President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing, HP Inc.
HP is also expanding its Service (3DaaS) Plus subscription to include the HP Jet Fusion 340, merging together hardware, supplies, and services for customers that want to bring rapid prototyping and final part production in-house. Outside of the new subscription offerings, HP is also flaunting a treasure trove of new partnerships and expansions at Formnext 2019.
Showcasing new applications for Multi Jet Fusion and its Metal Jet 3D printing technology, HP will be demonstrating use cases that stem from partnerships with Siemens and Volkswagen. In collaboration with Siemens, the company will show off two production-ready automotive parts for EDAG and Adient, one of which is an active coolant distributor for electric vehicles as well as a seat headrest.
In addition to the new subscription service and partnerships, HP has also expanded its Digital Manufacturing Network by bringing new service providers on board, including Prototal in Europe and Solize in Japan. Finally, Lubrizol is rolling out ESTANE 3D TPU M95-A, a powder-based TPU material for the HP Jet Fusion 4200, giving customers the ability to print more flexible and elastic parts.
The Massachusetts-based 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs also swooped in with several exciting announcements this week, not the least being the launch of Formlabs Dental, a new sector that will focus on providing a complete ecosystem to orthodontic professionals. Enlisting industry professionals into its growing ranks, the new business unit will comprise of a dental service plan that helps educate and aide customers.
In tandem with the new Formlabs Dental program, Formlabs also unveiled the Form 3B, a variation of the Form 3 that is specifically designed for orthodontic applications, sporting a clinical white color scheme and said to deliver “crisp and consistent dental parts.” The company is planning to roll out a large swath of dental materials, including four new hues of dental resins. In the meantime, a team of around 50 materials scientists will continue to develop new materials and profiles, all of which are to be verified by dental professionals.
“Our new Form 3B printer is uniquely tailored to seamlessly digitize, streamline and expedite workflow so dentists and technicians can focus on providing patients with the outcomes they expect and deserve,” said Max Lobovsky, CEO and Founder of co-Formlabs.
Formlabs also shared that the Form 3B will benefit from the company’s Materials Partner Program, effectively allowing dental practices to utilize third party materials. But that’s not all the SLA 3D printing pioneers announced this week.
In other news, Formlabs also acquired Spectra, a photopolymer materials provider that has been the company’s primary material supplier since 2012. Following the acquisition, which includes a one million dollar investment in R&D, the newly acquired materials supplier will start developing biocompatible polymers, which could indicate a further focus on bioprinting applications.
This past week also yielded some big news regarding advancements in the material realm of additive manufacturing. For starters, the 3D printing service bureau Shapeways struck a partnership with the coveted material provider Henkel to expand Loctite materials to be more compatible with large-scale 3D printing. The collaborative project, dubbed “Loctite powered by Shapeways,” will give Shapeways customers access to materials under the Loctite brand.
The partnership will benefit Henkel by providing their materials to a broader global audience, while Shapeways customers will have access to Loctite’s production-grade resins for large-scale manufacturing technology provided by the 3D printing service bureau. The multi-step program will allow Shapeways users to order demo parts made from Loctite materials.
“Combining Shapeways’ technology and production expertise with our materials know-how and industry access enables a powerful combination for the large-scale 3D printing of customized Loctite parts,” said Philipp Loosen, Head of 3D Printing at Henkel. “Based on the partnership, we will launch a digital platform leveraging novel opportunities to its global customers for Loctite solutions in 3D printing through Shapeways’ existing platform integration.”
There has also been some innovation on the metal 3D printing material front. The California-based material provider HRL Additive has recently developed incredibly high-strength aluminum 3D printing powder. First used by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center back in September, the company is now scaling and commercializing its 7A77 powder, which is reported to be the strongest 3D printable aluminum available to date.
HRL intends to target the automotive and aerospace industries with its new aluminum powder, as it hopes to be applicable for large-scale, high-performance applications in these fields. The material producer has reportedly started working nTopology, a 3D design software company focused on generative design, and the manufacturing service provider Morf3D to showcase the aluminum powder’s potential for heat transfer and flow applications.
“We are a new aluminum supplier and are offering a new product, 7A77 powders. We believe the current demand for aluminum powders for additive manufacturing is high and will only grow as high strength alloys like ours become available,” said Michele Durant, spokesman for HRL Laboratories.
While we’ve covered some major announcements from big industry names like HP and Formlabs, there’s also a boatload of exciting news coming from smaller, perhaps lesser-known companies on the additive manufacturing circuit. At Formnext 2019, new innovative 3D printers will be in abundance across the trade show’s expansive floor. Here are some of the most notable 3D printers that were unveiled this past week, some of which will be on display in Hamburg this coming week.
The Polish 3D printer manufacturer 3DGence is broadening its product offerings to touch on the professional 3D printing market, unveiling its new Industry F420 3D printer at Formnext 2019. This FDM machine offers an impressive 380 x 380 x 420 mm build volume and a print speed that reportedly reaches up to 400 mm/s. What separates the Industry F420 from other 3DGence printers is its ability to print with high-performance materials such as PEEK and ULTEM.
Another unique aspect of the F420 is its quick-change modular system, allowing users to seamlessly switch between three modules with pre-defined profiles for different engineering-grade materials. Furthermore, this industrial-grade machine from 3DGence is also equipped with an advanced air filtration system that filters out styrene, VOC, PM 2.5 and PM 10.
This past week, the Swedish startup WeMatter launched its new Gravity 2020, a new SLS 3D printer that intends to provide engineers with the ability to produce durable parts at a lower cost. Boasting a surprisingly sizable 300 x 300 x 300 mm build volume, the Gravity eases many of the complexities that accompany SLS 3D printing, offering an integrated powder handling system, as well as pneumatic mechanisms that assist in transporting, dosing, and evacuating powder materials in a closed system.
Users are able to monitor and control the Gravity 2020 through cloud connectivity, which utilizes built-in sensors, cameras, and electronics to keep the printing process under supervision. At the moment, this SLS 3D printer will come with a PA11 powder material, but WeMatter is reportedly in the process of developing new materials for its system.
Known for its large-format desktop 3D printers, the Barcelona-based BCN3D Technologies is also shifting toward more professional pastures with the release of its new Epsilon 3D printer. This dual-extrusion FDM machine has a 420 x 300 x 400 mm build volume along with a fully-enclosed, heated build chamber. Featuring its independent dual extrusion (IDEX) system, which comprises of two extruders that work independently of one another, the Epsilon offers duplication and mirror modes to improve production volume.
Priced just under the $8,000 mark, the Epsilon is a professional system made for designers and engineers, evident by BCN3D’s recent negotiations to integrate its new 3D printer into the production workflow of automotive manufacturers like BMW, Nissan, and Renault. In addition to unveiling the BCN3D Epsilon, the company also announced partnerships with BASF and Mitsubishi Chemical (MCPP) to develop new application-specific material for the new professional-grade 3D printer.
Both the BCN3D Epsilon and 3DGence Industry F420 will be on display at Formnext 2019.
Known for disrupting the metal additive manufacturing space with the Studio System and Production System, the Massachusetts-based startup Desktop Metal has found immense success with its affordable metal 3D printers. Late last week, the company expanded its scope (and heating up its battle with competitor Markforged) by unveiling the Desktop Metal Fiber. Using a process dubbed as micro automated fiber placement (μAFP), the Desktop Metal Fiber 3D printer is capable of printing high-strength and incredibly stiff parts with industrial-grade continuous fiber composite materials.
According to a press release shared by Desktop Metal, the new 3D printing platform produces parts that are two times stronger than steel and one-fifth of the weight. By miniaturizing a technology commonly found in million-dollar machines and combining it with FDM 3D printing, the company will offer its Fiber 3D printing platform in two forms. Equipped with a robotic tool changer architecture, the Desktop Metal Fiber line can store up to four tools, including additional FDM print heads for different materials, as well as planned enhancements such as automated in-process inspection.
“For the first time, Fiber printers combine the material properties of high-performance AFP continuous fiber materials with the affordability and speed of a desktop 3D printer,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal.
Starting at $5,495 per year, Fiber HT is designed to produce parts with continuous composites that have less than 1% porosity and up to 60% continuous fiber loading with industrial-grade matrixes, such as PEEK and PEKK. This platform is capable of producing flame retardant parts that can withstand high temperatures up to 250 degrees Celsius.
The other 3D printer, called Fiber LT, is a cheaper option that starts at $3,495. This machine utilizes continuous fiber 3D printing to manufacture high strength and non-marring parts with less than 5% porosity using PA6 thermoplastics. Both platforms offer a 310 x 240 x 270mm build volume and are engineered to be used in print farm configurations of 6 or 10 3D printers.
A partnership struck back in 2018 between Volkswagen and HP’s 3D printing wing has borne fruitful progress, as the German automotive company recently reached a milestone using the HP Metal Jet system, a metal 3D printer touted for its ability to manufacture high volumes of production-grade metal parts.
After announcing a three-phase strategic roadmap leading to the functional production of automotive parts, Volkswagen has reached an important milestone in the first stage of this plan, producing over 10,000 miniature ID.3 models ahead of the electric vehicle’s long-awaited launch event. The Volkswagen ID.3 is the company’s first fully-electric production car offering a CO2-neutral footprint.
“What better way to showcase the innovation of Volkswagen than to use our own technologies in the marketing campaign for the premiere ID.3 launch,” said Dr. Goede. “We are extremely pleased with the technical features and the speed, quality and low cost per part that HP Metal Jet has provided. The surface quality and feature resolution enabled great attention to detail and made it possible to add a special touch to this important company milestone.”
This is just the first accomplishment of the collaboration, which also includes GKN Powder Metallurgy, as Volkswagen eventually plans to use the HP Metal Jet system to 3D print structural parts for the next generation of vehicles. Aiming to increase in-part size and technical requirements, the automotive manufacturer hopes to produce between 50,000 to 100,000 soccer-size parts per year.
The HP Metal Jet could be utilized to produce higher performance functional parts with critical structural requirements, including custom gearshift knobs and mirror mounts. Volkswagen also intends to use the metal 3D printing system for other applications in the near future, including the production of lightweight metal parts that still meet stringent safety requirements.
With the esteemed additive manufacturing trade show Formnext on the horizon, a number of 3D printing companies are starting to roll out innovative products. While most of the attention is usually placed on 3D printers, this week’s spotlight is focused on new advanced materials.
For instance, the Italian 3D printer manufacturer Roboze has unveiled a new amorphous thermoplastic polyimide filament called EXTEM AMHH811F for its professional-grade ARGO 3D printer. Based on an industrial-grade resin made by the global chemical producer SABIC, this industrial-grade filament is said to be flame-retardant and highly resistant to heat, capable of deflecting up to 230 degrees Celsius.
Earning UL Blue Card recognition with V0-075 certification, this material is on par with metal parts produced with traditional manufacturing techniques, such as injection molding. According to Roboze, this thermoplastic polyimide filament can be used for electronics, consumer goods, as well as parts for aeronautics and aerospace applications.
Making its grand debut at Formnext 2019, the company 6K, previous known as Amastan Technologies, will showcase new metal additive manufacturing powders made from sustainable sources. Employing a combination of what 6K calls a UniMelt system and Alloy Reclamation technology, the company is able to produce metal powders from certified chemistry machined millings, turnings, and other recycled feedstock sources.
Finally, Kanthal, which is a heating technology brand under Sandvik, is rolling out a new 3D printing service that will focus on 3D printing custom thermal components using Kanthal AM100. This material is an advanced heat-resistant ferritic iron-chromium-aluminum alloy (FeCrAl) that offers a high degree of strength and exceptional form stability at high temperatures.
According to the company, Kanthal AM100 creates a highly protective aluminum oxide layer, providing protection in high-temperature furnace environments where oxidizing, sulphidizing, and carburizing takes place. The industrial-grade material is reportedly best-suited for the production of heating elements, burner nozzles, protective shells fittings, and more.
This past week has also marked some exciting news on the metal 3D printing front.
Widely recognized for its industrial-grade binder jetting technology, ExOne recently unveiled its new X1 160Pro, a high-volume metal binder jetting machine that is said to be the largest on the market. Boasting a whopping 800 x 500 x 400mm build volume and 10,000 cm3/hour build speed, the new ExOne system is capable of producing pure metal parts from a single alloy.
The ExOne X1 160Pro will launch with six different materials, including a variety of stainless steel and Inconel powders. Ceramic materials will also be available for the new binder jetting system. This machine will employ the company’s exclusive Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT) system, which works by dispensing, spreading, and compacting ultra-fine powders to produce dense parts with a high degree of repeatability.
“Our technology roadmap has been leading us to this machine for more than two decades,” said John Hartner, ExOne CEO. “At the same time, the X1 160PRO was also designed in response to growing demand from automotive, defense and aerospace customers. We’re incredibly proud of what this model means for the future of metal 3D printing and sustainable production of large metal parts without design limitations.”
At Formnext 2019, visitors can also stop by the booth belonging to the Vienna-based 3D printer manufacturer Incus GmbH, previous known as Lithoz GmbH. The company has recently announced the Incus Hammer Series machine, an industrial-grade metal 3D printer that uses photopolymerization to produce intricate metal parts, such as drill heads and heatsinks.
By using metal feedstock, the Incus Hammer Series eliminates the need for using protective gas atmospheres and is compatible with precious metals, iron-based alloys, and more. This 3D printing system is capable of producing finely detailed structures with high-quality surface quality in a cost-effective and speedy manner. The Incus Hammer Series will be on display at Formnext 2019.
Finally, the metal 3D printing company Velo3D, known for its Sapphire metal 3D printers, has hooked its first customer for its Assure Quality Assurance and Control System, and oh boy it’s a big one. The new metal 3D printing quality assurance system will be adopted by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, a subsidiary of the additive manufacturing titan Stratasys.
Assure was designed to provide evidence of part quality for Sapphire metal 3D printers using real-time, multi-sensor, physics-based detection algorithms. The software is capable of detecting flaws or miscues and addressing the issue to ensure that these anomalies are not repeated. As a result, customers like Stratasys Direct Manufacturing will be able to prevent variation and obtain extensive documentation to increase the speed and quality of high-volume production.
“Assure is a revolutionary quality-control system, an inherent part of the VELO3D end-to-end manufacturing solution for serial production,” says Benny Buller, founder and CEO of VELO3D. “Assure is part of our vision to provide an integrated solution to produce parts by additive manufacturing with successful outcomes.”
At the heart of many additive manufacturing innovations usually lies a collaboration, and this past week we saw several industrial 3D printing leaders announce new partnerships to push their respective technologies further.
Earlier this week, EOS North America and its engineering team Additive Minds deployed its Digital Foam program, intending to offer companies a full-fledged hub for bringing 3D print foam to the market. The platform will enable customers to speed up production of various 3D printed foam products, including protective headgear, custom orthotics, performance footwear, and much more.
“The level of engineering required to produce, say, a safer football helmet is massive, but the benefits are equally massive for end-users,” said Dr. Greg Hayes, senior vice president of applied engineering at EOS North America. “The program was designed to make those huge improvements much easier and less time-consuming for organizations.”
Employing flexible materials such as TPU and PEBA, the Digital Foam program will allow customers to products that are fine-tuned to the very voxel, enhancing comfort, safety, and performance with ease. To streamline the workflow, the Digital Foam program is utilizing the generative design software created by the New York City-based nTopology, which will help simplify engineering design, analysis and preparation for EOS customers.
One company that is already using the program is Aetrex, which specializes in foot scanning technology, orthotics, and comfort footwear. In a partnership with EOS, Aertrex is implementing 3D printed foam to manufacture customized orthotics products design to fit the needs of each individual’s foot.
In other partnership news, GE Additive announced a new five-year deal with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to help bolster development for industrial 3D printing. While a previous partnership between ORNL and GE Additive’s Arcam, signed in 2012, focused on the adoption and application of Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology, the new research and development agreement will further examine processes, materials, and software.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, the industrial 3D printing pioneer ExOne announced a collaboration with Global Tungsten & Powder Corp. to develop two metal matrix composites for binder jetting technology. The partnership will focus on creating cemental carbide, a material with high hardness and toughness that can be used to manufacture cutting tools and other wear-resistant parts, as well as copper-tungsten, which will offer high heat resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion.
The professional 3D printing powerhouse 3D Systems had some exciting news to share this week, as the South Carolina-based company was awarded a contract by America Makes and the U.S. Department of Defense to handle research and development for a Corrosion Performance Guide for Direct Metal Printing of Nickel Alloys.
3D Systems will collaborate with Newport News Shipbuilding, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, as well as corrosion experts at the University of Akron to identify the specific corrosion mechanisms that commonly hinder naval sea system platforms and high-speed weapons. Together, the companies will support 240 corrosion tests with four different surface finishes, as well as four different heat treatments evaluating crevice, stress corrosion cracking, and galvanic corrosion modes.
“We believe that post-processes for additively manufactured components can be designed to limit corrosion in a saltwater environment,” said Dr. Jared Blecher, principal, aerospace & defense engineering, 3D Systems. “Through our research and development efforts, corrosion rates will be quantified for additively manufactured parts, so end users will have better data for deciding when parts should be inspected or replaced. Additionally, we’ll explore the value of heat treatment to help improve the mechanical properties of the part and mitigate corrosion and ultimately cost.”
According to a press release announcing the deal, 3D Systems was given the contract for its ability to collect corrosion data and expertise on how it impacts parts manufactured with its direct metal printing (DMP) technology. This metal additive manufacturing process is especially useful for shipbuilding and munition fabrication because it can produce parts with low oxygen content and coveted part quality control.
Major Tom to ground control… This week, we also had some major developments regarding additive manufacturing in outer space.
Made in Space announced plans to launch the first-ever commercially developed plastic recycling facility to the International Space Station (ISS). Collaborating with the Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem, the Braskem Recycler will allow astronauts stationed aboard the ISS to turn plastic waste and expendable 3D printed parts into materials for the Additive Manufacturing Facilities (AMF)’s that are in use on the space station.
The recycler operates by breaking down all kinds of plastic waste and parts into small pieces, melting them together and extruding them into filament. Once the filament is created, the system is able to spool the recycled filament, leaving little manual work for the astronauts to do. In fact, the recycled material can be directly loaded into the Made in Space 3D printers located on the ISS.
The Braskem Recycle is expected to be launched into space by November 2nd from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility as a part of Northrup Grumman’s 12th commercial resupply mission (NG-12). The recycling system will ultimately grant astronauts with access to a closed-loop manufacturing system without having to receive new shipments of filament from Earth. Instead, this machine will promote more self-sustainability, allowing ISS residents to 3D print parts, recycle them once they’ve been used, and then print new parts with the very same materials.
“Local manufacturing resources are a crucial capability for space exploration,” said Michael Snyder, Chief Engineer at Made In Space. “Demonstrating and validating recycling capabilities on the ISS is an important step towards developing sustainable manufacturing systems that will enable us to venture deeper into the solar system.”
On the financial side of the 3D printing industry, this week has been marked by several notable investments into a handful of additive manufacturing startups, as well as an additive manufacturing facility with a lot of capital behind it.
This past week, the additive manufacturing workflow software developers Link3D announced that it had closed a $7 million round of venture capital funding to speed up growth in North America, Europe, and Japan. The financing round was headed by the artificial intelligence-focused venture capital firm AI Capital, and will be used to bolster Link3D’s future innovations and global expansion efforts. The company intends to use the financing to further integrate its flagship workflow software with IoT, artificial intelligence, and workflow automation technology.
“With this funding round, Link3D will continue to scale and grow operations in North America, Europe, and Japan by expanding our sales and customer support,” said Shane Fox, Co-Founder and CEO of Link3D. “The funding will also aid in our R&D efforts to introduce workflow automation and artificial intelligence within the additive manufacturing production environment. These developments will help organizations around the world unlock the true benefits of industrial manufacturing.”
In another victory for 3D printing software, the Israeli software startup Castor Technologies received a hefty investment from Evonik Venture Capital. The team at Castor has developed an industrial 3D printing software that helps manufacturers assess a part’s printability, as well as the optimal material, cost, and lead time. The investment from Evonik will enable the startup to begin selling its product to services and allow customers to test out the printability of their parts.
“Castor occupies an exciting space in the 3D printing market, helping companies overcome the hurdles associated with adopting the technology,” said Bernhard Mohr, head of the company’s venture capital activities. “The investment perfectly complements our existing portfolio of 3D printing activities and is our second investment in Israel, one of the most active start-up ecosystems in the world.”
Finally, the Canadian 3D printing and medical company Thinking Robots Studios announced that it would open up an $84 million facility in Buffalo, New York. The 75,000 square foot facility will be used to produce 3D printed customized medical devices, including orthopedic implants and systems for bone and joint reconstruction. According to officials from Thinking Robots Studios, the new center will employ over 80 employees and could create up to 700 jobs after seven years of operation.
GKN and PTC have both made major acquisitions this week.
GKN Powder Metallurgy has announced the acquisition of US-based FORECAST 3D. While we generally think of metals when we think GKN Powder Metallurgy, FORECAST 3D is a leading plastic 3D printing company, offering services focused in the polymer business. The interesting move makes sense as GKN looks to immediately bring on established polymers expertise while also boosting its advanced additive manufacturing offerings.
Further tying the two companies together in their union is mutual experience with HP’s additive manufacturing technologies. While GKN has been invested in Metal Jet technology, FORECAST 3D has deep experience with Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing — and both teams are foundational partners in the HP Digital Manufacturing Network.
“FORECAST 3D is a perfect fit,” said Peter Oberparleiter, CEO, GKN Powder Metallurgy. “They are everywhere we aren’t – geographies, markets, technologies and base materials. Combining our individual capabilities will present unparalleled advantages to our customer bases and enable us to cross-promote additive manufacturing in metal and plastic over more diversified markets. It is an important step on our journey to become No. 1 in this high growth market.”
On the software side of the industry, PTC has announced its forthcoming acquisition of Onshape. Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) company Onshape has been a strong force in CAD — and is sure to prove itself out as a strong piece of the PTC portfolio. The announcement this week has been hailed as a strong move from PTC, which expects to close the approximately $470M deal in November 2019.
“At Onshape, we share PTC’s vision for helping organizations transform the way they develop products,” said Jon Hirschtick, CEO and co-founder, Onshape. “We and PTC believe that the product development industry is nearing the ‘tipping point’ for SaaS adoption of CAD and data management tools. We look forward to empowering the customers we serve with the latest innovations to improve their competitive positions.”
A pair of announcements show Stratasys’ dedication to its J-Series PolyJet and F-Series FDM 3D printing portfolios.
This week, Stratasys has introduced its newest multi-material, full-color 3D printer, the J850. A next-generation follow-up to the J750 (and the smaller J735), the J850 was “designed for designers.” It ups the “multi” part of “multi-material,” as the system is now able to work with seven materials in a given print, offering full color and expanded capabilities in transparency and flexibility. A new “Super High Speed Mode” can also cut down concept model creation speed — shortening “the overall modeling time by up to 50 percent.” Two new materials are part of this introduction, with VeroUltraClear offering a glass-like look and DraftGrey a low-cost neutral material intended for the rapid iteration steps of the design workflow. The J850 is available now — as a full system for new customers, and as an on-site upgrade from users who own a J750.
“The new J850 has been built to meet the needs of the full design process in industries such as consumer goods, consumer electronics, automotive, as well as education settings,” said Shamir Shoham, Vice President, PolyJet Business Unit at Stratasys. “Typically, that process includes two separate streams: evaluating geometric shape with a physical single-color model, and considering color and texture on the screen. The J850 merges these two mediums into one full-color, multi-material model to make better design decisions, earlier.”
On the FDM side, Stratasys has also introduced three new production-grade materials.
For the Fortus F900, Stratasys introduces Antero 840CN03 — its second PEKK-based polymer. Designed for aerospace and industry, the latest Antero thermoplastic offers ESD performance as a high-temperature, chemical-resistant 3D printing material. For the F370 3D printer, Stratasys is rolling out Diran 410MF07 and ABS-ESD7. The new Diran material is a nylon-based thermoplastic suited for durable tooling applications. ABS-ESD7, for its part, has been available on Stratasys Fortus 3D printers and is now extending usability to the F370, bringing its affordable and ESD-safe qualities to another platform.
“We see growing adoption of 3D printing in production environments, yet engineers and designers struggle with thermoplastics that just can’t match the extreme requirements of manufacturing-based applications,” said Adam Pawloski, Vice President of Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys. “Our thermoplastics can remove these barriers to accelerate adoption of 3D printing in manufacturing settings, allowing users to design and create faster, while minimizing costs often associated with traditional approaches.”
A new portal is set to help guide standardization in additive manufacturing.
While additive manufacturing is gaining in both adoption and credibility as a manufacturing process, something is still lacking in the way of standards. ANSI and America Makes have announced a new interactive portal this week intended to track standardization activity. The portal builds on work in the Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing, created by the America Makes & ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC).
Gaps in the roadmap will be identified and addressed, leaving room to build out thorough and inclusive standards for this young technology suite. The announcement notes:
“With contributions from more than 300 individuals from 175 public- and private-sector organizations, the Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing identifies published standards, those being developed, and those that are needed. The document describes 93 gaps where no published standard or specification currently exists to respond to a particular industry need. Many of these gaps also identify additional pre-standardization research and development (R&D) needs. All 93 of the roadmap gaps are included in the online portal with updates for those where such information has been provided.”
Series A and Series B funding rounds, as well as service provider Q3 results, highlight the financial aspects of the 3D printing industry.
Boston-based Voxel8 has announced a Series B investment round. The undisclosed financing was led by DSM Venturing, brought in HP Tech Ventures, and saw the return of investors Braemar Energy Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners. Voxel8 is dedicated to digital manufacturing for a variety of applications, including structural and functional materials for athletic, medical, and smart textiles. The company’s ActiveLab Digital Fabrication System works with multiple materials to create a workflow for making athletic footwear uppers and other advanced textiles.
“Voxel8 is an excellent addition to our portfolio. Its multi-materials digital manufacturing platform is poised to dramatically impact the footwear and the sports apparel markets, strategic to DSM. We are excited to help Voxel8 become a leading innovation platform in these markets.” — Pieter Wolters, Managing Director, DSM Venturing
UK-based Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has announced a $5.2M Series A funding round as well as a partnership with the leader of that round. The Series A round was led by DSM Venturing and Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, and is set to “accelerate sales and deliver a commercial version of fully integrated Digital Manufacturing System.” Fully dedicated to post-processing technologies, AMT is set to continue on a path to help additive manufacturing on its way to “become a competitive alternative for industrial-scale production,” as Pieter Wolters, Managing Director of DSM Venturing, puts it.
On the heels of the investment announcement, DSM and AMT announced a partnership. With DSM’s filament and powder 3D printing materials and AMT’s post-processing expertise, the partnership is geared toward “accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing” through offering fuller solutions. DSM’s materials are set to be optimized for use with AMT’s PostPro3D automated post-processing machine. This offering is a first step in what’s to come, as they note, “More joint developments are currently being worked on, including the ability to add color to printed PBT parts.”
“We are delighted to partner with DSM to open up real and scalable opportunities with additive manufacturing for a wide range of industrial applications. For too long, additive manufacturing has been viewed as a standalone solution for prototyping and small volumes, which often leads to disappointment or abandoned projects. It is only by considering the entire manufacturing process chain, including optimum material selection and automated post processing, that the extensive potential of additive manufacturing can be realized for increasing volumes of parts,” said Joseph Crabtree, CEO at AMT.
Rounding out the look at financials, we see a report on existing performance rather than a look ahead as Protolabs announces its third quarter results for 2019. They list as highlights:
“Our business grew year-over-year in the third quarter in an industrial environment that has continued to soften throughout 2019,” said Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Despite a weaker macro climate, our customer retention rate remains high as we continue to delight our customers by expanding and improving our industry-leading digital manufacturing offer.”
Aleph Objects has had a major operational downshift.
Last week, the company announced significant layoffs — more than 80% of its 100+ employees. Information has been trickling out, including an announcement at the end of last week from Aleph Objects that it was “streamlining” operations with the layoffs.
The primary reason for operations shrinking down has been cited as cash flow, as Aleph Objects Founder and Owner Jeff Moe confirmed both to the Loveland Reporter Herald and to Fabbaloo directly. In an interview for Fabbaloo he verified that the company today employs 22 individuals and is actively seeking a buyer.
Sales have been lower than anticipated, and the company currently has about $5 million in inventory on its shelves. A buyer would gain a well-known, well-regarded brand — that happens to make open source products with easily accessible files.
The future remains in question for LulzBot, as the search for a buyer is ongoing through at least the end of October; after the 31st, it seems the company is likely to totally shut down, letting go its last 22 employees and ceasing all sales operations. Warranties will continue to be honored, as the company has arranged to ensure these remain active following any next moves.
One additional snag for the company: an employee laid off in the terminations has filed a class-action lawsuit, as reported by BizWest, indicating that Aleph Objects failed to file advance notice under the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act, which stipulates this as a necessity for any 100-plus-employee company that will terminate 50% of its staff at a single site.
Carbon and Essentium are expanding their teams with new leaders added to both companies.
California-based Carbon has announced new leadership updates for its digital manufacturing team. Three new appointments include:
The new appointments indicate areas key to Carbon’s next stages in growth. Namely, efficiency, its own people, and customer success.
“Together, these three talented executives will help Carbon define our leadership in this new category of digital manufacturing,” said Carbon CEO and Co-founder Dr. Joseph DeSimone. “We’re changing the way the world thinks about digital manufacturing and about products, and our incredible new leaders will enable us to reach our goals faster than we ever thought possible.”
With an eye primarily on global expansion as it ramps up production of its HSE 3D printing platform, Texas-based Essentium has also announced two new appointments. These include:
The two bring experience in 3D printing from their territories, adding familiarity with local market conditions as the High-Speed Extrusion (HSE) platform faces the global market. While the business is currently facing a lawsuit from Jabil regarding the technology, Essentium is not slowing down in its efforts and is reporting “month-on-month revenue growth for the company” as well as increased material shipments. Seven new materials have emerged from the company in 2019 to date, and it seems there may well be more to come before the year ends.
“While we bring immediate ‘out of the box’ value to manufacturers in terms of cost advantage with an impressive ROI and accelerated time to market, it is key that we stay as close to the customer as possible to provide ongoing support and training. As such, customer advocacy and strong execution as we ramp production will be key success factors to our continued expansion in Asia Pacific and EMEA.” said Lars Uffhausen, CFO, COO and Co-founder, Essentium Inc.
Dental-focused AM manufacturer Structo has announced the close of a successful funding round.
The Singapore-based company is totally focused on 3D printing in the dental vertical, creating 3D printers, materials, and software wholly dedicated to these applications.
This strategy seems to be paying off as they announce a funding round that includes participation from government-linked EDBI as well as GGV Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Pavilion Capital. While the amount of the investment is not disclosed, it is significant enough to propel the next steps for Structo to continue to develop new digital manufacturing solutions for dentistry as they note “Structo aims to use this latest round of funding to help them continue pushing the envelope of digital additive manufacturing solutions specifically for the dental industry and launch new products that focus on leveraging automation to enable mass production of custom patient-specific products.”
The company has operations in Singapore, the US, Canada, and the UK, as dental 3D printing picks up steam around the world.
“The recent rise in consumer demand for clear aligners, an orthodontic appliance that can only be produced through additive manufacturing has accelerated the demand for more novel and customized solutions. At Structo, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all solution for any specific end-use, in particular for an industry that is as diverse in size and requirements as dental,” said Huub van Esbroeck, Co-Founder and CEO of Structo.
New — and very different — 3D printers have been announced from nScrypt and Prusa Research.
nScrypt, which recently proved out its ruggedized bioprinter in a desert environment, has now announced that it will be commercializing a ruggedized version of its digital manufacturing platform, Factory in a Tool (FIT). Created for use in harsh environments, the new machine — the nRugged — is pretty capable as both a bioprinter and a non-bioprinting 3D printer:
“The machine can be outfitted with up to four tool heads, in any combination, for microdispensing, material extrusion, milling and polishing, and pick-and-place, using 10,000+ material choices. The standard machine sports a carbon fiber exoskeleton and 150x150mm heated print bed, and prints 238mm in the X axis, 173 mm in the Y axis, and 152mm in the Z axis, but can be built in other sizes. Optional equipment includes a target view camera (for microscopy and X-Y alignment) and a process view camera (for a live view of the printing tip) for in-process monitoring and control, a Keyence line scanner or point sensor, and a 4 channel heater controller. No external compressed air is required.”
The nRugged is available for sale now, though a price point has not been announced.
Also introducing a new 3D printer — and gearing up to introduce another one — is maker favorite Prusa Research. Unveiled at last weekend’s ERRF (East Coast RepRap Festival), the new Original Prusa MINI 3D printer is everything you love about a Prusa, just, well, mini. (Review the specs here.)
The $349 3D printer is proving popular already, with the Prusa community rallying around the MINI. But good things don’t just come in small packages, as Prusa is also preparing a bigger reveal. A literal bigger reveal, with the Prusa XL. While the MINI features an 18 x 18 x 18 cm build volume, the upcoming XL will be a startling 40 x 40 x 40 cm. The two announcements are intriguing indeed for the Czechia-based company, which will of course also continue along with its popular mainstays.
Josef Prusa explains:”‘What about the i3 line and the MK3?’ you might ask. Is it now outdated? I assure you it’s not. We’re still deep in development of the XL (CoreXY) 3D printer and it’s quite possible that some of the best features of both new printers will find their way to the good ol’ MK3 in a form of an affordable upgrade. In other words: the MINI isn’t meant to replace the i3 MK3S product line. It’s a different kind of product and we don’t plan to discontinue the MK3S anytime soon – there’s still room for potential upgrades. We’re definitely not going to announce another new printer this year. The MK3S in the current form is better than ever and it is in-stock with both steel sheets variants.”
Aleph Objects has formally unveiled its desktop bioprinter.
Open-source 3D printing champion LulzBot is best known for its desktop FFF-based 3D printers, such as the Taz Pro and the Mini 2. Rather than another plastic extrusion system, the latest 3D printer from the Colorado-based company works with biologic materials: meet the LulzBot Bio.
The machine was developed together with FluidForm, using that company’s “FRESH” (Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels) 3D printing process, which was developed with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
Because the next advances aren’t necessarily predictable in bioprinting, the open-source aspect of the LulzBot ethos is particularly important: as with all their offerings, the Bio is open-source and open to future advances and any tweaks users might wish to make. The system has been proved out in work earlier this year in creating functional human heart tissue.
The Bio will be available soon for pre-order, priced at around $7,500.
LulzBot invited popular YouTuber and all-around good guy Joel Telling (The 3D Printing Nerd) for a close look at the new Bio:
Stratasys is going application-specific with new portfolio offerings, starting with healthcare.
This week, the Israel- and Minnesota-based company unveiled its Digital Anatomy portfolio, comprising the new Digital Anatomy J750 3D printer, three new materials, and a GrabCAD software offering.
The 3D printer, a specialized update of the multi-material J750 that was introduced in 2016, offers a healthcare-specific update on the advanced system. Incorporating the first three Digital Anatomy materials — TissueMatrix, GelMatrix, and BoneMatrix — allows for detailed designs brought to life via GrabGAD Digital Anatomy to be 3D printed in full realistic detail. Anatomical models can be made so lifelike they can be used as replacements for traditional training tools like cadaver or animal remains, and more advanced than most synthetic stand-ins. Third-party validation has been critical to the development of the portfolio, with users in medical product and hospital settings set to publish research conducted using the system.
“We believe in the potential of 3D printing to provide better health care, and the Digital Anatomy 3D Printer is a major step forward,” said Stratasys Healthcare Business Unit Head Eyal Miller. “We’re giving surgeons a more realistic training environment in no-risk settings. We also anticipate this will enable medical device makers to improve how they bring products to market by performing design verification, validation, usability studies and failure analysis with these new models.“
Carbon is introducing a new tough, rigid, high-temperature material.
Set for release at next week’s International K Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany, Carbon is introducing RPU 130. The rigid polyurethane (RPU) material joins a strong portfolio already containing RPU 70, FPU 50, and EPX 82 — combining some of these materials’ most desirable qualities to offer one tough, heat- and impact-resistant, rigid, high-temperature manufacturing material.
The new dual-cure material highlights the ongoing focus for the robust DLS 3D printing platform, as well as some of the more intriguing qualities of 3D printing in general, including sustainability. RPU 130 came about through Carbon’s partnership with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products to use bio-based Susterra propanediol, which is created in a more environmentally friendly process than petroleum-based alternatives.
Siemens and Materials Solutions opened a 17,000-square-foot innovation center — “the only one of its kind in the U.S.” — this week in Orlando, Florida.
Design, manufacturing, robotics, rapid prototyping, digital tools, and metal additive manufacturing come together in the large center to facilitate problem-solving for Siemens’ energy businesses, with additive manufacturing services from Materials Solutions supporting the center as well as outside customers. Particularly in focus are applications in energy and aerospace, with Orlando representing a key strategic location within the US for such activity.
“This center is unique, bringing together a multitude of our innovative processes under one roof,” said Tim Holt, COO of Siemens Gas and Power.
EOS is changing up its top executive structure.
This week, the German mainstay company announced new CEO Marie Langer, the daughter of company founder Dr. Hans J. Langer. The family-owned EOS has long been led by the Langer family, so the new top leadership adjustment marks a step we could have seen coming. Marie Langer has long been very familiar with the details of company operations, and will now continue to guide EOS’ future. The announcement notes that her initial main focus “will be on strategy, marketing, communications as well as corporate culture, organizational and people development.”
Her appointment is not the only changeup the company is seeing in top structuring. The extended management board sees managing directors Dr. Adrian Keppler and Eric Paffrath focus on key areas of company structure and division leadership. Finally, CTO Dr. Tobias Abeln and CCOO Bertrand Humel van der Lee “are leaving the company by mutual agreement.” That somewhat cryptic phrasing often points to some sort of disagreement in internal structuring, but there’s no outward side of ill will on either end of these ended relationships.
The new CEO, Marie Langer, on her new position at EOS: “30 years of personal commitment at all levels and our shared culture have made us into the highly successful company we are today.” And she goes on to say: “My vision is that EOS stays at the cutting edge of industrial 3D printing technology and that the company makes a sustainable contribution towards solving the huge challenges facing us today. We want our technology to do more than driving economic growth. We want it to provide positive environmental and social benefits.“
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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