Sep 7, 2018

3D Printing Industry Report – Week 36 / 2018

Want to know what’s happening in the Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing industry? Here’s All3DP’s weekly report for professionals, presented by former editor-in-chief and industry expert Sarah Goehrke.

As the manufacturing industry gears up for next week’s IMTS in Chicago, 3D printing has had a busy week with pre-event announcements. New hardware, materials, adoptions, and implants are paving the way for the next wave of advances.

3D Printing Industry Report – Week 36 / 2018

3D Printing Industry Report Hardware Announcements

The new LENS 860, a production-grade metal additive manufacturing system

As All3DP has seen, new introductions from both Desktop Metal and MakerGear are set to debut at IMTS. An additional introduction this week from Optomec focuses on hybrid manufacturing.

Desktop Metal’s new Studio System+ and Studio Fleet offerings are geared toward offering finer resolution and additional scalability for prototyping and low-volume production with metal 3D printing. The Studio System+ is designed as a replacement for the original Studio System, which was introduced last year and is now shipping. Integrating multiple 3D printers and a suitable number of debinders and a furnace, the Studio Fleet allows for a configurable multi-unit system setup.

Looking toward the industrial, desktop workhorse MakerGear has introduced the new Ultra One industrial 3D printer. Many of the new system’s capabilities come over from previous MakerGear introductions. The Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) system, in this case, offers a direct-drive extrusion system for each print head, and a touch probe bed leveling system allows for superior bed leveling. The Ultra One is fully enclosed and has an industrial-grade motion system, wireless operability, and a full-color touchscreen. Full pricing and details will be revealed at the official IMTS launch next week.

Also set to debut at IMTS is the newest production-grade additive manufacturing system from Optomec, which this week announced the LENS 860 Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere (CA) system. An 860 x 600 x 610 mm work envelope offers expansive volume for what Optomec describes as “affordable, high-quality metal hybrid manufacturing.” The hermetically-sealed build chamber allows for use with reactive materials (e.g., titanium), and allows for configuration with closed-loop controls and a 3kW fiber laser. Additional configuration comes in the form of three other models in this family, including the LENS 860 Hybrid Open Atmosphere (OA) system and two additive manufacturing-only models, one OA and one CA. Prices start at under $250K for each system, and initial shipments are slated for this year.

3D Printing Industry Report New Materials

Carbon: Stepping toward medical applications

Carbon and voxeljet have both announced expansions of their materials portfolios this week, allowing for additional capabilities and targeted applications.

Stepping toward the medical, Carbon has introduced Medical Polyurethane 100 (MPU 100) this week. The medical-grade white polymer resin, Carbon’s VP of Materials, Jason Rolland, explained, provides “the mechanical properties, biocompatibility, sterilization compatibility, and chemical resistance to produce safe and reliable end-use products for patients.” MPU 100, now available for US, Canadian, and European customers, is designed for use in applications ranging from single-use medical devices to pill bottles, and many medical uses in between.

High-Speed Sintering (HSS) is welcoming polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) with new material developments from voxeljet. These new specialty materials, proven viable with HSS technology, represent a solid step forward — especially as the company looks ahead to the planned commercial release at the end of next year of the larger, automated VJET XHSS production system; PP is already being successfully 3D printed on the smaller VX200 HSS systems. Anticipated areas of application for the materials include automotive, electrical/electronic, industrial, consumer, household goods for PP; and sporting goods, industrial parts, and hydraulic seals and gaskets for TPU.

3D Printing Industry Report Adoption

GKN Aerospace: "Producing tools within 3 hours"

GKN Aerospace is no stranger to the benefits of 3D printing. This week, Stratasys has revealed a look at GKN’s use of an F900 Production 3D Printer in order to drastically reduce time in producing complex tools.

The F900 comes into play in the production of production-line tools and complex parts, which Additive Manufacturing Center Manager Tim Hope notes has allowed GKN Aerospace to “dramatically production-line downtime for certain teams and [we] are enjoying a new found freedom to design complex tools.” Tools are now being produced “within three hours,” Hope says, rather than the traditional several-week lead-time for metal or plastic replacement tools. Complex designs are also being created, and GKN Aerospace reports a 40% reduction in material waste. That company is eyeing “high-value, flight-critical, end-use composite parts” via FDM 3D printing in the future, Stratasys notes.

3D Printing Industry Report Implants

Spinal implants: 4WEB’s 3D printed lumbal cages

3D printing for implants is picking up, and the US FDA continues to issue clearances to producers whose products prove viable. This week, a new 510(k) clearance and announcement of substantial growth serve as proof points for metal 3D printed spinal implants.

Florida-based Captiva Spine has received 510(k) clearance for its TirboLOX-L 3D Printed Titanium Lumbar Cages, 3D printed titanium alloy interbody fusion devices featuring a dual layer organic lattice structure. This structure, with micro-rough surface topographies and dual porosity, promotes direct bony on growth, in growth and vascularization, Captiva Spine notes in its press release. The company credits the capabilities of additive manufacturing with the creation of the unique lattice structure, which was developed with “substantial surgeon design input,” as R&D Director Dennis Ty noted. Rather than IMTS, these lumbar cages will be featured later this month at the North American Spine Society (NASS) meeting.

4WEB Medical, which has seen several 510(k) clearances from the FDA, is backing up its showing of viability with actual numbers, announcing “substantial growth driven by its Lateral Spine Truss System.” The company’s Senior Vice President, Jim Bruty, reports “double-digit growth YTD 2018 compared to 2017 in revenue, users, cases and units sold.” He indicates confidence in ongoing growth, supported by a launch at NASS for the company’s Total Lateral Solution.

License: The text of "3D Printing Industry Report – Week 36 / 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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