This week, the 3D printing industry saw innovations in food production, dental printers, and printer monitoring apps. It also saw a new round of funding for Markforged and new partnerships.
The $82 million Series D funding round brings new and existing participation. Led by Summit Partners, the round also saw further investment from Matrix Partners; M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund; Next47; and Porsche SE. The substantial boost is set to see the company continue to invest in new products and global presence. Markforged is poised to accelerate the expansion of its materials portfolio, particularly exciting for Metal X users, and to open new offices in Dublin and the Asia/Pacific region.
“We have been actively monitoring the additive manufacturing market for the last decade and are excited to partner with the Markforged team,” said Michael Medici, a Managing Director at Summit Partners who has joined the company’s Board of Directors.
“Markforged has been quietly executing at an incredible pace for the last five years, delivering exceptional products that solve real-world industrial manufacturing needs. Greg and his team are focused on continued product innovation, and we believe the best is yet to come for Markforged and its customers.”
Digital manufacturing still has quite a paper trail. With its new app, Authentise seeks to extend the digital thread from printers to post-processing.
QR codes embedded on travelers will allow operators to move more easily through the stages of additive manufacturing, tracking progress and increasing traceability.
Minimalist travelers are also being introduced “that allows additive manufacturing facilities to start the process of going completely paperless.”
Upon launch, functionality includes data that can be used in Authentise’s Machine Learning algorithms to improve estimates for time and quality. Future updates will include more functionality: adding notes, interacting with process steps, and more. The trial release via Google Play and the web will be soon.
“Despite the fact that additive devices are nearly entirely digital, the entire process is far from it,” says Andre Wegner, CEO of Authentise.
“Our software already retrieves data from more additive devices than anybody else, as well as some post-processing tools, but that’s not enough. Manual process steps are tedious enough for operators; reporting their progress shouldn’t be. By releasing this app, we’re simply doing what we always do; focus on making the life of the operator easier. The fact that we’re using the data generated to add further value is just added bonus.”
Protolabs continues to look toward design for additive manufacturing (DfAM).
The service provider, which has previously worked with MIT, is now teaming up with Wohlers Associates for a new DfAM course. The immersive course will leverage expertise from both teams, including Associate Consultant Olaf Diegel and Principal Consultant and President Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associate, as well as Protolabs engineers dedicated to polymer and metal additive manufacturing technologies. The course is invitation-only, running three days in North Carolina and concluding at Protolabs’ 77,000-square-foot AM facility.
“Designing for AM offers unique challenges and opportunities not found in traditional design methods,” said Wohlers. “Protolabs brings tremendous depth of expertise and leadership in 3D printing. We’re thrilled to work together to equip attendees with technical skills and manufacturing knowledge needed to unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing.”
A new 3D printer promises speed and scale for dental labs.
The Varseo XL joins the dental 3D printing portfolio at BEGO in a big way. Skipping over the L size entirely, the XL means it, with a substantial build volume (the company says “10x the volume and 5x the print area of all comparable 3D printers on the market”). It also brings significant speed (“up to 6x the speed”).
The claims are big — and come from Nexa3D, which makes the new machine, branded for BEGO. The Varseo XL is slated for commercialization within the next year, available through BEGO’s dental reseller network.
SABIC and PostProcess Technologies have new introductions for post-processing.
Introduced at formnext 2018 and launched this week, SABIC’s new breakaway support material, AMS31F, enhances ease of post-processing for 3D printing done with ULTEM. The high-temperature material generally requires significant post-processing, with support removal generally requiring reheating. With AMS31F, supports break away at room temperature. The material is also a color that starkly contrasts with ULTEM’s trademark amber hue for quick identification to further speed the process.
“Using structural supports to print parts with complex geometries is essential, but it can also be quite challenging,” said Keith Cox, Senior Business Manager, Additive Manufacturing, SABIC.
“Removing traditional supports from the finished part often involves time-consuming processes that can negatively impact productivity and quality. By offering a complementary support material for our ULTEM AM9085F filament, SABIC is providing a complete material solution that helps customers save time and effort. Additionally, the ease of support material removal provides part designers greater flexibility in defining print orientation to optimize part performance.”
PostProcess Technologies’ new introduction focuses on SLA 3D printing. Resin removal in SLA can be rather a pain, but PostProcess’ new solution seeks to ease that pain. The SLA resin removal solution, which works on PostProcess’ DEMI and CENTI machines, has been validated with eight resins. Results show that it is capable of “performing complete resin removal on 3D printed SLA parts consistently in 5 to 10 minutes,” which shows that it can clean “up to 5 times as many parts before detergent saturation versus traditional solvent resin removal.”
“PostProcess’ latest innovation of the most advanced SLA resin removal solution in the world reinforces our commitment to providing the AM industry with transformative post-printing solutions enabling the market to scale”, commented Jeff Mize, CEO, PostProcess Technologies.
“SLA is one of the most popular 3D printing technologies in the world. No matter what volume of printing, any SLA user can benefit from the remarkable efficiencies of our solution’s decreased processing time, increased throughput, increased detergent longevity, and improved safety. PostProcess has designed the world’s first complete SLA resin removal system, available only from the pioneers in forward-thinking 3D post-printing.”
Victrex and Bond partner up for PAEK part performance.
Without specific numbers named, the partnership is in “a multi-million Euro investment” as Victrex works with Bond High Performance 3D Technology. Also covering PEEK printing, the high-strength materials take center stage for the strong deal.
“Our investment in Bond’s 3D technology is a logical way to accelerate 3D printed PAEK/PEEK parts to market. We need to ensure that all the key elements, including material, process, and hardware are aligned to fulfill our goal of enabling our customers to manufacture 3D printed PAEK components for critical high-performance applications. We’re now at a stage where the technology is sufficiently developed to embark on exciting development programs,” Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO explained.
“Collaboration and partnerships are the key to establishing the necessary supply chain for additive manufactured PAEK parts. After focusing, as part of Innovate UK projects, on new optimized PAEK/PEEK materials, partnering with Bond is the next important stage. Their advanced technical capabilities and ambitious, innovative culture will help to meet the needs of industries that can benefit from the exceptional material properties PAEK brings, in combination with the manufacturing benefits and freedom that their AM technology offers.”
What better way to end a digest than 3D printed sushi customized by poo and a look at food safety regarding 3D printing?
The poo thing is real; Sushi Singularity is set to offer customized 3D printed sushi made just for each customer, based on his or her biometrics…as collected through saliva, urine, and/or fecal samples. Invasive? Maybe. Delicious? Hopefully. Well balanced? Also hopefully. The Japanese endeavor is based in Tokyo, a project from Open Meals. A Food Operation System (FOS) will run data from the Health Identification (HID) to make the sushi, on the Food Fabrication Machine (FFM). The sushi itself looks beautiful, both like actual sushi and like some futuristic food made by a robot chef (which is what it is).
I don’t know what else to say about this one; check it out:
Also on the food side, but not edible itself, Formlabs focuses on food safety.
A new tutorial, The Essential Guide to Food Safe 3D Printing: Regulations, Technologies, Materials, and More, focuses on the ins and outs of what you need to know if you’ll be 3D printing anything for food contact. Thinking of making some cookie cutters, a coffee mug, or a personalized spoon? For the most part, making a coaster or something similarly proximal to but that doesn’t actually touch food is much safer.
But if you want to make something for food contact, this new resource is a great place to start. It’s especially promising that early on they note: “No Formlabs resins are food safe unless users take additional steps.” It’s those additional steps that provide any semblance of food safety.
The full tutorial, well worth the read, covers:
Optomec has expanded its LENS metal 3D printing portfolio with new introductions.
The LENS CS 600 and CS 800 Controlled Atmosphere (CA) DED systems are configurable new additions to the company’s Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) Classic System Series. Both machines are already available and shipping has begun. The systems have base features including controlled atmosphere chambers and a Siemens 840D controller for three- (standard) or four- or five-axis motion. Configurations can be adapted for customer preference, as users can adjust the setup with a “user interchangeable rotary table and/or tilt-rotate trunnion for four and five-axis operations.” Further, the new machines are compatible with the newest LENS deposition head for laser power processing up to 3 kW, interchangeable print nozzles, and variable spot sizes.
“These new systems come packed with next-generation DED components all born from signature Optomec know-how and built to provide affordable, high-quality metal additive manufacturing capabilities for industry’s most demanding requirements,” said Tom Cobbs, Optomec LENS product manager. “The LENS CS 600 and CS 800 systems represent the latest in DED processing from precision deposition to cladding applications and extend our product portfolio to continue to provide high-value metal additive manufacturing solutions.”
Carbon and ZVerse have announced a new strategic partnership.
Many of Carbon’s partnerships have revolved around specific usage as the company’s DLS technology enables production-quality and -scale 3D printing. The latest, though, shows a unique benefit for the Carbon Production Network (CPN): design. The design partnership will allow access to the ZVerse 3D Design-On-Demand Platform and Services, which are said to have been optimized for the CPN. Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) remains a barrier to entry for 3D printing, especially at the production level. Working with experts in design who are trained in the ins and outs of specific processes opens up possibilities. ZVerse prides itself on creating usable 3D files from designs or drawings. The company’s 3D Design on Demand platform is already in use by Xometry, through a partnership announced last year. And now, says Carbon Co-Founder and VP of Business Development Phil DeSimone, “ZVerse will help bridge the design gap and enable Carbon customers to create previously un-makeable products using Carbon DLS technology.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Carbon to deliver their Production Partners and Customers the easiest path from idea to manufacturable files. Our mission is to increase the pipeline of production applications for our digital manufacturing partners, at scale, by removing the friction associated with providing design services,” said John Carrington, CEO at ZVerse. “As a Design Partner, we look forward to enabling more production opportunities for companies using Carbon DLS technology.”
Seattle’s soon-to-be skyscraper will become the city’s second-tallest building with a unique shape built with 3D printed nodes.
If viewers of How I Met Your Mother took anything away from the sitcom other than annoyance at the series finale, it may well have been that building a skyscraper is a major job. Rainier Square Tower is set to reshape the Seattle skyline next year with some interesting geometry. Creating the exterior curtain wall (nonstructural outer covering) of the building has proven to be a bit of a challenge in manufacturing for Walters & Wolf — which found a solution for one component in 3D printing. The company teamed up with 3Diligent to find a solution for a cladding system that requires V-shaped nodes necessary for each floor of the building — which, due to the slope, required that all 140 needed to be made uniquely with different dimensions. 3Diligent suggested either investment casting or 3D printing to create the aluminum nodes; following testing of both types, Walters & Wolf team selected 3D printing “because of the dimensional accuracy and structural reliability it gave us,” as W&W designer Jon Ishee explained.
CNH Industrial is the latest company to announce a move toward 3D printing for spare parts production.
Four plastic parts for buses and agricultural equipment are the first components planned for CNH’s new 3D printing strategy. The company notes that it is “committed to further investigating the potential of Additive Manufacturing with the aim of producing a full range of parts and promptly respond to all types of needs at every stage of the product’s lifecycle.” Future plans include metal 3D printing, which the company is currently testing for more components. Adoption of 3D printing for spare parts creation has many benefits for companies. CNH specifically cites sustainability advantages, energy usage, rapid availability, local and on-demand manufacturing, and a fit with small order quantities as among its reasons for integrating additive manufacturing into operations.
Materialise and Stratasys have announced financials for 2018.
Materialise reports an impressive total revenue increase of 29.6% for 2018 as both full year and Q4 results show promising upticks. The most significant percentage gains were in the materialise Manufacturing segment, with a 49.0% increase in 2018. Strong growth was also seen in the Materialise Medical segment, with 22.0% growth over that period. Perhaps surprisingly for a company well known for its software was the relatively slow 4.5% growth in the Materialise Software segment.
Executive Chairman Peter Leys said of the results, “The additive manufacturing market continues to evolve, as new applications gradually find their way to the market, and we intend to continue positioning Materialise to benefit from this promising growth market in the coming years. In 2019, Materialise will dedicate significant attention to the partnerships that we have entered into and to the strategic initiatives that we have launched over the previous years. In our Materialise Software segment, we intend to maintain our leadership position through innovation and strategic partnerships; in our Materialise Medical segment we will drive the next stage of innovation, including by launching initiatives in new growth areas; and in our Materialise Manufacturing segment we will increasingly focus on manufacturing of complex and unique parts.”
Stratasys reports a $663.2 million revenue for 2018 (down from $668.4 million in 2017), and $177.1 million for Q4 (down from $179.3 million in Q4 2017). The company says its $63.7 million in cash from operations in 2018 is a record. Despite a second fiscal year of revenue drops, the company says they are “pleased” with the performance and are looking forward to a promising future. With the company’s metal technology to continue toward the market, we can expect to hear much more from Stratasys in 2019.
“We are pleased with our fourth quarter and full year profitability, and finished 2018 with record cash flow from operations as we continue to build a strong operational foundation for future growth opportunities and to invest in accelerating new product introductions to expand our addressable markets,” said Elchanan (Elan) Jaglom, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Stratasys. “Our consolidated top line results this quarter reflect continued positive traction in high-end system and materials sales for our PolyJet and FDM technology platforms, primarily in North America, offset partially by the impact late in the quarter of the government shutdown in the United States and what we believe is temporary weakness in the Automotive sector in Europe.”
3D printing materials are expanding as a service bureau adds technology and a 3D printer manufacturer deepens a materials partnership.
Shapeways and Carbon have teamed up to offer Shapeways customers access to Carbon technology. Customers can now design and order in three materials created via Carbon’s unique Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology, offering more choice to Shapeways customers. It sounds as though the selection may expand over time, but at launch these include:
“We are thrilled that through our partnership with Shapeways, we can make the Carbon Platform accessible to more businesses around the world,” said Dana McCallum, Head of Production Partners for Carbon.
Early this year, Boston-based Fortify announced a new investment and a partnership with DSM for its open materials program, the Fortify Fiber Platform.
This week, we see more details emerge on the materials work between DSM and Fortify. The companies have announced that they will be developing high-performance composite materials for the 3D printing of structural parts.
Fortify’s Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) platform features an interesting resin-based process that can work with strong materials. For its part, DSM is only deepening its commitment to additive manufacturing, working with a growing number of partners in the industry. Open materials platforms enable more development for what users are actually using, and help hardware companies leverage the expertise of the world’s materials giants.
“At DSM Additive Manufacturing, we believe that collaborating with industry partners is key to advance the industry,” said Hugo da Silva, VP of Additive Manufacturing at DSM. “Partnering with Fortify allows us to develop high-performance composite materials for DLP technology, making the technology viable for functional parts in demanding applications.”
A recently announced partnership is taking steps to develop and commercialize multi-metal 3D printing.
Belgium-based Aerosint and Germany-based Aconity are working together to advance laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printing. They are developing and plan to bring to market a system to 3D print multiple metals within the same build. Aerosint has created a recoater that can be added as a module to an LPBF 3D printer — for the purposes of this collaboration, that’s the large-scale AconityONE. The recoater was designed to use patented powder voxel deposition technology to create the multi-metal layers. The companies are hoping in the near term to attract potential users as they look to ensure that targeted and real-world needs are met.
“What Aerosint has invented is very unique. An LPBF system with multi-material capabilities is unseen in the industry. Our customers have been waiting for these capabilities and we are therefore excited to start working on a potential solution for them. Multi-material is for us the next evolution of 3D printing and we are happy we can be pioneers here together with Aerosint,” said Aconity CEO Yves Hagedorn.
PolyCast filament by Polymaker. (Source: Polymaker)3D printing and investment casting already have a long history, and a new offering is set to continue advances.
New LulzBot 3D printer bundles for metal casting “combine best-in-class printer reliability with Polymaker’s PolyCast filament, designed specifically to replace wax patterns for investment casting.”
The Large Metal Cast and Precision Metal Cast Bundles, both available immediately, each target different needs for those looking to create 3D printed casting patterns. The Large Metal Cast Bundle is centered around a TAZ 6 3D printer and can create 3D printed patterns up to 280 x 280 x 250 mm in size. The Precision Metal Cast Bundle focuses on the smaller Mini 2 3D printer and can create finely detailed patterns. Both include appropriate tool heads and reels two (Precision) or four (Large) 750g reels of PolyCast filament.
“PolyCast has been designed specifically for a very clean burn out, allowing 3D printed patterns to completely vaporize from investment molds,” said PolyMaker VP Jeff Walters. “Users can replace injection molded wax patterns, eliminating the tooling process saving time and money, allowing for quicker iteration of design without committing to large minimum order quantities.”
A new patent for secure streaming and monitoring for digital manufacturing has been approved.
“TL;DR: Authentise’s patent, focusing on increasing intellectual property and integrity protection in digital manufacturing through streaming, has just been approved. We’re in the technology game, not the patent game. Nevertheless, we think this patent is important to guide the industry forwards,” Authentise CEO Andre Wegner explains in brief.
The US Patent Office has approved the “System, Method and Program Product for Digital Production Management” application. Authentise explains that the patent “shows how streaming designs or machine code directly into manufacturing devices … can help not only protect the intellectual property of the part but enable remote integrity control … and close the loop completely by making remote in-process amendments, such as integrating watermarks in the object once we’ve verified that the part was produced correctly.”
Phew. Closed-loop is a common workflow in traditional manufacturing but remains somewhat elusive in additive manufacturing to date. Authentise’s work adds to that step forward. Wegner says that “the patent was a foundational piece of our early days,” indicating the company’s longstanding dedication to a future of distributed manufacturing and data-enabled manufacturing processes. Technology from the patent will be available as an add-on module to the company’s Additive Accelerator.
Stratasys’ J750 3D printer debuted in 2016 with multi-material capabilities. The new J720 takes those capabilities straight to the dental market.
Introduced this week at LMT Lab Day Chicago, the J720 Dental was designed to speed up and simplify dental workflows. Stratasys notes that its new multi-material, 500,000-color-capable machine is high resolution and can offer “1.75x the daily throughput of high-end DLP and SLA dental 3D printers.” 3D printing with up to six materials at the same time and featuring GrabCAD Print software, the cloud-connected new machine offers hands-off functionality for dental labs.
“Labs today operate in a very competitive space where differentiation counts on mastering the digital workflow and expanding into new products and services,” said Barry Diener, Dental Segment Sales Leader, Stratasys. “The J720 Dental 3D Printer is designed to change the game – allowing levels of speed, productivity and realism the market has never seen. This powers laboratories to meet the demands of a competitive market and push the boundaries of digital dentistry.
Ultimaker Cura connects to the cloud and adds three companies’ material profiles.
Cura 4.0, now in beta, will be available next month. With that launch on 19 March will come a new capability: Ultimaker Cloud. Announced this week at TCT Asia, the company describes Cloud’s initial capabilities upon launch as including:
Available now on Cura, though, are new print profiles for materials from Essentium, eSUN, and Polymaker. As Cura continues to increase its holdings of specific material print profiles, users will be able to add to their understanding of the materials, including engineering-grade, they can use on their desktop 3D printers. New material profiles include Ultrafuse Z PCTG (Essentium); PETG, ePA-CF, and HIPS from eSUN; and PolyMide PA6-CF, PolyMide CoPA, and PolyCast from Polymaker.
FARO Technologies and Thor3D are rolling out introductions to enhance the 3D scanning workflow.
FARO RevEng is a new software platform designed for use with the FARO Design ScanArm and FARO 8-Axis FaroArm to aid in reverse engineering. Reverse engineering can be a complicated process, and easing the steps starting from the beginning with scan-to-design capability is a big help. RevEng captures and generates point clouds, then converts these into meshes that can be edited and used for design or 3D printing. The product is designed with seamless workflow in mind.
“As a solutions-driven enterprise, FARO is focused on our customers’ optimizing their investment,” stated Thorsten Brecht, Senior Director, 3D Design. “FARO RevEng is modeled with this as the core development sensibility. We appreciate that time to market and design flexibility are critical to the success of any design project.”
Thor3D’s new Calibry 3D scanner is a surprisingly affordable piece of equipment. Introduced at TCT Asia, the new 3D scanner is priced at €4,995 (about US$5,790). While not an insubstantial amount of money, it’s worth keeping in mind that many comparable systems are priced about 3x higher than that. The Calibry works best for medium and large-scale scans, collecting up to 3M points per second with its built-in texture camera. Small and fast “like a hummingbird” as CEO Anna Zevelyov calls it, the Colibri is a hummingbird; Thor3D brought this idea together with calibration for “Calibry.”
XPRIZE is well known for major challenges — and major awards. This is expanding now in digital manufacturing technologies with a new partnership. Xponential works is now the “official partner for all generative design and additive manufacturing” for XPRIZE. It’s a pretty major deal, as the announcement notes that “XponentialWorks has agreed to provide free, unlimited 3D printing for the XPRIZE Foundation and all registered teams across its current and future competitions.” When they say unlimited, they mean it; the partnership will be ongoing in perpetuity so long as XponentialWorks continues. Effective this week, any registered and confirmed team, anywhere in the world, competing for a current XPRIZE can receive 3D printed parts from XponentialWorks. This should be a major benefit for the generally early-stage companies that participate in XPRIZE challenges — and would benefit from faster iteration periods to test new prototypes.
“A big part of harvesting the upside of exponential tech disruption is the responsibility and privilege to pay it forward and no other organization packs the long lasting societal and economic impact of XPRIZE,” said Avi Reichental, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of XponentialWorks. “It is truly an honor to be part of building a bridge to abundance with XPRIZE by continuing our talents and resource to leave behind a better world for all mankind.”
The US Army has long turned to 3D printing, and shares a look into the impact on logistics.
The 2019 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase featured the Army’s current 3D printing capabilities. Held early this month in Florida, the summit brought together military officials with academia and industry. This year is interesting for US military operations as the Army reports that its Illinois-based Center of Excellence for Additive and Advanced Manufacturing is slated to reach initial operating capability in 2019. 3D printing sees extensive use in military operations, including at such centers, on bases, and with troops deployed in the field. 3D printed spare parts are a major use of the technology, as replacement components can be created on demand and at a lower cost. Future applications are expected to expand, even as the Army turns increasing focus to existing challenges. Intellectual property, cybersecurity, standardization, and certification are among these issues, and the Army is ready to put the work in.
“This takes a lot of labor, and there is a price tag on that, but this is crucial for Soldier safety,” Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, said. “Logistics will be contested in every domain. We need every innovation to set a theater and sustain Soldiers in future missions — whether it is artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles dropping off supplies, or a 3-D printer at the point of need,” Piggee said.
Start them young. For STEM/STEAM education to help ready the next generation for careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, curricula need to embrace new technologies. Massachusetts’ Silver Hill School elementary students are working with 3D printing and other advanced tech — robotics, CAD, programming — and expressing enthusiasm. Math specialist Jennifer Donais has been working with students, including third graders in a robotics competition and fifth graders putting 3D printers to use. “The kids love it,” Donais said. “They are constantly asking, when are we doing 3D printing again?” Using TinkerCAD, the fifth graders are getting used to designing their own educational toys and other projects and gifts. The district worked with PrintLab to invest in seven 3D printers in the high school and elementary and middle schools.
Going a bit older, we also see more in the headlines this week from higher education.
Wichita State University will, starting in autumn 2019, offer a graduate certificate in additive manufacturing. The school says the certificate “will equip you with knowledge of this revolutionary process—allowing you to adapt your mindset to approach design problems in entirely new ways.”
Clemson University and GE are coming together in a strategic partnership with a new Additive Manufacturing Lab at GE Power’s Advanced Manufacturing Works facility. The new 1,000-square-foot facility, managed by Clemson’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing, houses a GE Additive Concept Laser M2 Cusing direct metal laser melting and two other industrial 3D printers, incorporating both metal and polymer technologies. Automotive engineering grad students will gain first access to the new lab for their work in creating a car.
“We know advanced manufacturing will continue transforming business around the globe and we’re leaders in the field,” said John Lammas, Chief Engineer and CTO of GE Power. “By partnering with Clemson, a South Carolina top public institution, we will be able to train students from one of the country’s leading institutions to be the next generation of engineers, furthering their education and preparing them to move additive manufacturing forward.
Rize and Dassault Systèmes deepened their relationship this week, with some interesting implications.
The team at Rize has a long history with SOLIDWORKS; some of their execs, for example, came straight from the popular software company. The relationship goes even deeper now with two announcements made at SOLIDWORKS World.
First, the partnership will see every sale of the RIZE ONE 3D printer through the end of 2019 include a license for SOLIDWORKS. Not only does that save users the license fee, it showcases a strategic partnership that highlights the importance of design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). And it doesn’t stop there: Rize has also just become SOLIDWORKS parent Dassault Systèmes’ first hardware investment in 3D printing. Dassault Systèmes joins three other new investors in a $15 million Series B round. The money is important, Rize President and CEO Andy Kalambi told me when we spoke in Dallas, but it’s the relationship that really matters here. SOLIDWORKS VP of Business Development and Strategy Suchit Jain added in another conversation that we can expect to see more direct strategic partnerships between the software giant and 3D printing hardware companies as more integration is needed to continue to drive progress.
“Our strategy is to expand the adoption of industrial 3D printing. This funding by a deeply respected group of diverse global investors validates our approach to make it a mainstream application within the enterprise. It is gratifying that our investors share our values of inclusive and sustainable innovation by making industrial 3D printing safe, easy and affordable. With the support of our investors, we will expand the usage of industrial 3D printing across all the functions: design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and service,” Kalambi said in the announcement.
Stratasys’ SWW announcements included a new software feature and new autosports partner.
GrabCAD Print welcomes a new feature with Advanced FDM. Cutting out the middleman in a typical CAD-to-STL workflow in 3D printing, Advanced FDM can now, working with several of Stratasys’ FDM 3D printers, enable a higher-fidelity process intended to speed design-to-3D-print workflow. Stratasys isn’t the only big player to introduce software advances at SWW this year, which is a good sign for users.
“For design and manufacturing engineers, one of the most frustrating processes is ‘dumbing down’ a CAD file to STL format – only to require subsequent re-injection of design intent into the STL printing process,” said Mark Walker, Lead Software Product Manager at Stratasys. “This software is engineered to do away with this complexity, letting designers reduce iterations and design cycles – getting to a high-quality, realistic prototype and final part faster than ever before.”
Continuing work in the automotive industry — a popular theme this week, as Carbon also announced end-use parts that Lamborghini is 3D printing — Stratasys introduces work with Andretti Autosport. 3D printing is playing an ever-increasing role in the racing world, and Andretti is putting the tech to use for both prototyping and end-use parts.
“We have been looking for the right partner to add 3D capability to our design and development activities for a while now,” said Andretti Autosport COO Rob Edwards. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to establish a relationship with the industry leader, Stratasys. Since the machines were commissioned they have been operating at capacity and we look forward to seeing the benefits of our expanded capability on the race-track in 2019.”
Transportation partnerships are taking off with 3D printing, and they’re not all on four wheels.
Ultimaker will be supplying Ultimaker S5 3D printers, Cura software, materials, and services for Airbus’ use in European (and, later, global) operations. Airbus has a long history with 3D printing, so the move is very logical for the aerospace giant. Ultimaker’s desktop technologies will be put to use primarily for the “direct, local production of tools, jigs, and fixtures, and printing lightweight design parts with composite materials,” the announcement notes.
“We are very proud that Airbus selected Ultimaker. Strict rules regarding safety and certifications can make manufacturing and model-making workflows complicated, especially for engineers in the aerospace industry. I am glad that our certified solution and the possibility to print with composite materials enables these engineers to keep innovating. The team at Airbus can fully rely on our dedicated global sales and partner network for full support,” said Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker.
Another company exhibiting at SWW was Desktop Metal; last year the company debuted Live Parts software, and this year it’s the launch of 316L stainless steel.
Desktop Metal’s Studio System is shipping now, and users are welcoming new material introductions. 316L is a well-known steel featuring corrosion resistance and strong mechanical properties at extreme temperatures, expanding the applicability of 3D printed parts in harsh environments. The company points to a few early applications, including a combustion fuel nozzle for marine tankers, a customized ring splint for medical use, and an impeller (image above) for use in harsh environments. Studio System users looking to 3D print stainless steel can now choose from 316L or 17-4 PH types — or branch out from stainless and look to tool steels, superalloys, or copper among the 30+ other materials in development.
“The addition of 316L enables engineers to print metal parts for a wide range of applications, including engine parts, laboratory equipment, pulp and paper manufacturing, medical devices, chemical and petrochemical processing, kitchen appliances, jewelry and even cryogenic tools and equipment,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and Co-Founder of Desktop Metal. “Teams are now able to iterate quickly on 316L prototypes, print complex geometries that are not possible with most manufacturing methods, and produce end use parts cost-effectively.”
NASA technologist Mahmooda Sultana is putting a $2M technology development award to use in creating a tiny sensor platform.
The nanomaterial-based detector platform is a bitty piece of tech that could have wide-ranging applications, sensing gases, vapor, atmospheric pressure, temperature, and other environmental circumstances (think water or methane on Mars) and sending that data through a wireless antenna. The 2” x 3” platform is self-contained — and 3D printed. It relies on a 3D printing system called the Nanoscale Offset Printing System created at Northeastern University that 3D prints nanomaterials to make the wee sensors.
“The beauty of our concept is that we’re able to print all sensors and partial circuity on the same substrate, which could be rigid or flexible. We eliminate a lot of the packaging and integration challenges,” Sultana said. “This is truly a multifunctional sensor platform. All my sensors are on same chip, printed one after another in layers.”
Xerox joins the ranks of printing companies adding 3D to their traditional 2D technologies.
As part of its Investor Day this week, Xerox announced some major strategic moves. Among these were a series of focuses on innovation to bring the company back to a leadership position in tech. Fulfilling a statement made by CEO and Vice Chairman John Visentin in an October 2018 earnings call, Xerox has officially made a move into 3D printing. As part of a digital manufacturing strategy, Xerox is looking to commercialize polymer and metal 3D printing. Targeting low-cost, high-speed polymer and low-cost metal technologies, the company is already moving ahead in its vision.
As part of its roadmap in 3D printing, Xerox announced the acquisition of Vader Systems, a company that had created a unique metal 3D printing process that uses standard welding wire to keep materials costs low. According to its three-year roadmap, Xerox anticipates revenue generation from its innovation targets in 2021, including 3D printing, AI and AR, IoT, and more. Terms of the Vader acquisition have not been disclosed.
A new standard from UL shares much-needed protocols for 3D printing.
The new ANSI/CAN/UL 2904, “Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers,” published this week, includes “measurement and assessment protocols for the emissions of particles and volatile chemicals from diverse 3D printers, print media, and print applications.”
Covering 3D printers used in “non-industrial indoor spaces” like schools and offices, the new measure should provide a measure of comfort for those running desktop machines. Emissions have long been a concern in 3D printing, particularly because no one quite knew how they might affect health. A safe operating environment is imperative for use of any equipment, and thorough research has been much-needed. Among that research are results from UL Chemical Safety and Georgia Tech, published in November 2018 following a two-year research period. These findings showed that ultrafine particles (UFPs) are generated by many desktop 3D printers, and more than 200 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released. Understanding how to best operate the 3D printer, including calibration (e.g., nozzle temperature) and using different types of filament, can lead to a safer operating environment.
“ANSI/CAN/UL 2904 will advance the availability of low emission printers and print media for use in the global marketplace. UL is proud to offer its first safety Standard addressing chemical pollution and reducing its impact on human health,” said Phil Piqueira, VP of Standards for UL.
New releases of two software solutions from 3D Systems have been released to the SOLIDWORKS community.
Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS 2019 and 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS 14 are available now. Both are targeted to SOLIDWORKS users to “streamline 3D scan data workflows and optimize and prepare part designs” for both plastic and metal 3D printing. Timed just ahead of SOLIDWORKS World 2019 (more on that later), the releases showcase 3D Systems’ ongoing commitment to software. 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS, a SOLIDWORKS add-on, was introduced at last year’s SWW event. More detail on the capabilities of both software releases is available here.
“3D Systems’ end-to-end software solutions are a catalyst in the product development cycle. With the new releases of Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS and 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS, 3D Systems is reinforcing our commitment to the SOLIDWORKS community to streamline digital product design as well as making additive manufacturing an integral part of the workflow – increasing efficiencies and lowering total cost of operation. The power of these software solutions to transform business is what delivers true competitive advantage,” said Radhika Krishnan, Senior Vice President, General Manager, software, 3D Systems.
ExOne and Catalysis announce a tooling collaboration, while Rize and Instadesign Group partner.
ExOne has announced its collaboration with Catalysis to create a new rapid tooling process. A 3D printed sand mold, made using ExOne’s binder jetting tech, is coated to create a reusable tool to traditionally create (e.g., via injection molding, vacuum forming, casting) parts. 3D printing to create the tools allows for more complex tooling design, and binder jetting, in particular, offers the speed, cost, and volume a busy company requires.
“We are pleased to add ExOne’s binder jetting technology to our family of 3D printing offerings. At Catalysis Additive Tooling we take an agnostic approach to 3D printing. We offer a number of different 3D printing technologies and select the best technology to meet and exceed our customers’ needs, based on the specific application. Given its speed and volume capabilities, we are especially interested in binder jetting for production parts. ExOne offers the best solution to satisfy this need,” said Darrell Stafford, Chief Executive Officer and President of Catalysis Additive Tooling. “With an ever-increasing number of applications, we are finding that our go-to technology for development of thermoforming, composite and foam tooling is binder jetting.”
Rize is going to Quebec with its newest partnership. Days before SWW begins, Rize announced its newest authorized reseller, Instadesign Group. The new Laval, Quebec-based reseller is a SOLIDWORKS Certified Solution Partner experienced in engineering and industrial design. The multifaceted company’s services include product design, industrial design, mechanical engineering, electronic development, and software services, as well as support.
“RIZE has done something completely unique in the additive manufacturing industry that accelerates sustainable design and innovation,” said Stéphane Dufour, President of Instadesign. “With their voxel-level technology, RIZE has made industrial 3D printing safe and easy, while enabling full digital traceability of 3D printed parts to the original designs. The seamless integration of SOLIDWORKS and RIZE is also of great interest to our customers and will expand the use of additive manufacturing among SOLIDWORKS users in our region.“
One of the most enthusiastic events in software is coming to Dallas.
SOLIDWORKS World (SWW) 2019 runs Sunday, February 10 through Wednesday the 13th in the Lone Star state. One of the most popular software programs draws a crowd of thousands to this event each year, and the programming continues to feature an increasing presence of 3D printing. Exhibitors include 3D printer manufacturers as well as many companies that have put 3D printing to use in their product development processes. It’s all packaged together in an engaging agenda, with an always-rowdy general session kicking off each morning. Previous years’ general sessions have featured SOLIDWORKS-designed robots (that then battled each other), magic setups (would you trust your life to something designed in SOLIDWORKS? Dassault Systèmes’ CEO did in a magic trick featuring a saw two years ago), a movable feast, a full-body exoskeleton, and much more. The ubiquitous software has been used to create these and many more varied products, and we tend to hear some good new software news as well. Last year, for example, Desktop Metal introduced its Live Parts offering at SWW.
Engineering simulation solutions provide a better understanding of 3D print jobs — and two releases this week are enabling more advances for both metals and polymers.
ANSYS’ first release of this year, 2019 R1, came out this week. Targeting an array of manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing, ANSYS’ portfolio is broadening and deepening simulation for production. Specific to additive manufacturing, new releases include updates to the Additive Workbench and Additive Print products. 2019 is set to be “a big year for ANSYS Additive,” as the company’s Director of Additive Manufacturing told Forbes. A new product, Additive Science, that had been in beta, is now fully available and will see new tools emerge with each subsequent release this year. Advances in meshes, process parameters, metal materials understanding, and more are available in 2019 R1: details available here.
“We help customers optimize geometries for additive manufacturing across industries, from aircraft to energy to oil and gas,” said Sven Donisi, Managing Director, Rosswag Engineering. “Using ANSYS Additive Print to simulate how materials will behave during the printing process, we shorten the development process and reduce the cost of trial and error. ANSYS enables our customers with more freedom to design and create new alloys with less risk.”
Materials simulation is in sight for Solvay as well, as the company adds more materials to the latest update of eXstream engineering Digimat-Additive Manufacturing (Digimat-AM) software. Joining neat KetaSpire PEEK filament already available on Digimat-AM are 10% carbon fiber filled KetaSpire PEEK and neat Radel PPSU for the 2019.0 release. High-performance polymer materials are coming into increasing use in 3D printing, and simulation software with an exact understanding of the properties of each material offer important capabilities. Digimat-AM offers predictive modeling for warping, residual stress, and overall part performance.
“With the addition of Solvay’s new AM grades, we now have a wider portfolio of 3D printing grades in Digimat to provide cutting-edge new materials to push the design and application boundaries in this dynamic market. As a result of our partnership, we bridge the gap in simulation engineering between high-performance polymers and demanding printing processes such as Fused Filament Fabrication,” said Roger Assaker, CEO of e-Xstream engineering and Chief Material Strategist for MSC Software.
Meet the Replicator 3D printer — and no, it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
A new process out of the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) introduced this week takes the layers out of resin-based 3D printing. The light-dependent process requires a very specially formulated new material to interact just right with the ‘movie’ that plays the design at it. Somewhat familiar from SLA approaches, this goes a step farther with the new process, which is a volumetric one — that is, the whole object is made at once. Called the Replicator for Star Trek, not MakerBot reasons, the new 3D printer is described as a sort of CT scan in reverse as it builds rather than measures an object.
The researchers published a paper in Science, “Volumetric additive manufacturing via tomographic reconstruction,” detailing their new process, for which they have filed a patent.
Finely detailed, multi-material, multi-color 3D printing brings history back into our hands.
Stratasys has teamed up with Google Arts and Culture to bring the J750 3D printer into the Open Heritage project. The project, building upon work from CyArk to digitally preserve heritage sites and artifacts, brings detailed 3D printing to bear in democratizing archaeology. Researchers, academics, scientists, students, and anyone curious can now access the project and check out the detailed 3D models. One of the initiatives that showcases the abilities of the J750 is a set of plaster casts that had been stored — not displayed, just stored — for a century in the British Museum. Too rare and delicate to handle, the casts originated from a 19th-century excursion to Guatemala where A.P. Maudslay discovered the relics. Now, 3D printed in full detail, the replicas can provide hands-on detail and information about the culture that created the originals.
A video on the Stratasys website details the collaboration.
“The J750 empowers designers to actually achieve their ultimate goal – matching the final 3D print to what is initially seen on the screen. Combining rich colors and translucency in a single print, designers and engineers can build models with heightened levels of accuracy and realism – mirroring opaque or transparent structures, and even complex materials like rubber. Our relationship with Google Arts and Culture is the perfect demonstration of 3D printing paying off – with models that look and feel like the real thing,” said Rafie Grinvald, Enterprise Product Director of Rapid Prototyping, Stratasys. “When we talk to arts and culture preservationists, historians, and museum curators – they’re all absolutely amazed by the ability to fabricate these things with such high fidelity via 3D printing technology.”
Nuclear-powered warships are soon going to power up with metal 3D printed parts.
Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, has delivered a piping assembly to the US Navy. Not terribly exciting in itself, but it is the first such delivery to have been metal 3D printed, marking a step forward for metal additive manufacturing in the US armed forces’ active installations. Set to be installed soon and evaluated over the course of a year on the USS Harry S. Truman, the assembly is the first such part to see service on an aircraft carrier. A short ceremony on Tuesday heralded the piece at Naval Station Norfolk, where Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, Naval Sea Systems Command’s chief engineer and deputy commander for ship design, integration, and naval engineering received the assembly.
“We are pleased to have worked so closely with our Navy partners to get to the point where the first 3-D metal part will be installed on an aircraft carrier. The advancement of additive manufacturing will help revolutionize naval engineering and shipbuilding. It also is a significant step forward in our digital transformation of shipbuilding processes to increase efficiency, safety, and affordability. This is an accomplishment we all should be proud of,” said Charles Southall, Newport News’ VP of Engineering and Design.
Is your 3D printer taking up space? Print a bit of space!
NASA recently released OBJ/STL files of Bennu, an asteroid that’s currently the object of fascination for scientists everywhere. The OSIRIS-REx mission launched in September 2016 and on the last day of 2018 set a new record: smallest body ever orbited by a spacecraft.
The asteroid is located a cool 70 million miles from Earth — and OSIRIS-REx is just a mile from Bennu’s surface. It needs to stay so close to remain locked in its wee orbit, as the asteroid’s gravity is small enough that space conditions (think solar radiation) could knock it away relatively easily.
The mission will land on the asteroid in 2020 for samples, coming back to earth in September 2023 for closer study. That’s all nice, too, as Bennu could prove disastrous for our great-great-grandkids; the potentially hazardous object could hit Earth between 2175 and 2199 (1:2,700 odds there). Know thy enemy and all.
And of course, asteroid exploration could lead to some really interesting findings in its own right; the mission has already noted traces of ancient water, for example. So why not celebrate Bennu with your own 3D print of the asteroid? Two models are available for download, from either the 2013 radar-based shape model or the more recent 2018 preliminary shape model with data sourced from OSIRIS-REx’s PolyCam camera in November.
New businesses abound this week, with focus in materials innovation and in manufacturing services.
Global solutions provider Jabil has been a vocal proponent of additive manufacturing for years, from contract manufacture of MakerBot 3D printers to partnerships with HP Inc. Understanding the importance of materials development, the company has now announced a new business: Engineered Materials. Building upon an established foundation of materials science innovation, Jabil Engineered Materials now has a dedicated Materials Innovation Center outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, housing end-to-end materials development for additive manufacturing. Polymer formulation, compound development, ISO 9001 QMS certification, you name it — and all overseen by chemists and engineers keeping in mind Jabil’s MPM (Materials, Processes, Machines) solution mentality. The particular goal for materials development is a fast turnaround for high-quality materials — cutting back significantly from the currently too-long time to market. Powders, pellets, and filaments will be developed for polymer-based 3D printers from FFF to SLS to HSS. The business will be run internally as well as through Chase Plastics and Channel Prime Alliance as initial distribution partners.
“Our ability to integrate new engineered materials into our ecosystem of 3D printers and rigorous processes will transform a new generation of additive manufacturing applications, including those for heavily regulated industries, such as aerospace, automotive, industrial and healthcare. We will be able to produce custom materials in weeks – not months,” said Jabil’s VP of Digital Manufacturing, John Dulchinos.
Focusing on services, famed NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski has formally unveiled his business. Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (KAM) was established last year and has been working with customers for months, but a partner-driven press conference this week shined the spotlight on operations. The North Carolina-based business offers hybrid solutions in both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes, with several notable partners involved, GE Additive among them. KAM’s 70,000-square-foot facility currently employs 30 and anticipates 100 employees by year-end 2019.
“The capabilities of new technologies are limited only by our imaginations and willingness to act. Until now, much of this advanced manufacturing technology was considered too complex and too expensive for production level applications. By combining additive manufacturing with subtractive capabilities, the goal of KAM is to lead the way for the next industrial revolution by making these technologies more accessible,” said Keselowski.
Investments made the headlines this week in a big way, with two notable multi-million-dollar funding rounds announced.
Texas-based Essentium closed a $22.2 million Series A funding round this week. Led by BASF Venture Capital and with participation as well from partner Materialise, the move is a major statement to the industrialization of Essentium’s technology. The company’s High-Speed Extrusion (HSE) platform is designed to match the speed, strength, and scale of injection molding on an FFF-based 3D printing platform. The Series A was announced at the recent formnext, when Essentium, BASF, and Materialise announced their partnership. The three companies work closely together; for HSE, BASF is a materials partner while Materialise is developing the software. Essentium has been working some time with BASF. The chemical giant, for its part, is also a partner and investor (to the tune of $25M) in Materialise.
“Unleashing and accelerating the potential of additive manufacturing for our customers is a priority for BASF. Our investment, together with the strategic market partnership BASF has with Essentium, advances this strategy,” said BASF Venture Capital investment manager, Sven Thate, who is joining Essentium’s board of directors.
Desktop Metal also announced major funding this week — with still another digit in it. The company’s latest (note not first) nine-digit funding round saw the company welcome a $160 million investment, bringing total investment in the Boston-based company to a truly staggering $483 million. This, says Desktop Metal, marks it the highest-funded private 3D printing company. The metal-driven endeavor is only a few years old, but that nearly half-a-billion has already seen plenty of headlines. The Studio System is already shipping at volume around the world, and the larger Production System is set to begin shipping next month. That’s not all, of course (why would two separate technologies and promising systems be enough?) — Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop alluded in a phone call this week when we spoke about the investment that the company is developing still more to come. Investors aren’t the only ones intrigued.
A new dental-focused partnership is giving California-based unicorn Carbon something to smile about.
Carbon and Dentsply Sirona announced their collaboration this week. Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology is coming into play for a new dental solution as the companies target digital denture fabrication. While 3D printing is already proving popular in dental labs and dentists’ offices — and notably for the mass production of dental aligners — the manufacture of dentures is still heartily traditional. Read: manual, time-consuming, and expensive. Dentsply Sirona has been active in developing denture materials for more than a century, and now work with Carbon will see the development of new materials and a “high-resolution output and high-throughput capacity” solution. Carbon has long been interested in the dental market, and this partnership is a testament to that dedication.
“This partnership with Dentsply Sirona is a testament to Carbon’s global vision and mission to enhance the digital ecosystem. Together, we will be able to offer the marketplace a complete digital denture solution that is superior in terms of strength and aesthetics. With Carbon as the leading digital manufacturer in digital dentistry and Dentsply Sirona’s global leadership in removable appliances, we can deliver an unmatched offering that benefits both the dental laboratory and the patient,” said Brian Ganey, General Manager of Carbon’s Dental Business.
Educational 3D printing gets easier and more hands-on with a new 3D printer from Dremel.
The Dremel DigiLab 3D40 FLEX 3D printer made its debut this week, boasting a “simple and intuitive” experience — just the ticket for a good fit for STEAM education and maker alike. A flexible build plate is its most notable feature differentiating it from Dremel’s growing line of 3D printers. Additional features of note include a 30% faster print time in draft mode, full-color touchscreen, 50 micron resolution, cloud-based software, and 255 x 155 x 170 mm build volume; full specs are available here. One not-highlighted feature may be a stopping point for some, as the new 3D printer is only compatible with Dremel’s own 1.75mm filament. Available from February, the Dremel DigiLab 3D40 FLEX will retail at $1,299.
“We’ve seen a lot of use and success with our previous 3D printer models. As we continue to learn about digital fabrication, it’s important to introduce new innovations to better suit the classroom and makerspace settings. This is what led us to 3D40 FLEX,” said Dremel President John Kavanagh. “The Dremel DigiLab 3D40 FLEX 3D Printer will help with complex and practical applications, perfect for educational usage,. It’s a safe, reliable option for Makers of all ages and skill levels and incorporates a lot of smart design elements to enrich the experience.”
ASTM International continues to increase focus on additive manufacturing, announcing its first CoE workshop.
As additive manufacturing continues to industrialize and make headway in the broader manufacturing industry, standardization is necessary. Establishing best practices and work toward reliable, repeatable processes is critical for greater adoption of a nascent technology. Having established its Center of Excellence (CoE) last year, ASTM is now looking forward to a workshop this coming March. It will, Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs at ASTM International, explains, emphasize “the role and value of standardized practices as well as the center’s efforts to support targeted R&D projects that help address the gaps.” Held on Monday, March 25 in Auburn, Alabama, US — just ahead of the biannual meeting of ASTM International’s committee on additive manufacturing technologies — the organization notes that the workshop will focus on key steps in the value chain, including:
Carbon and Optomec have announced intriguing new partnerships.
Silicon Valley-based Carbon has been working with Ford for years now, and this week at the Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Workshop at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit the companies announced an expansion of their partnership. Ford is now using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) 3D printing technology to create end-use parts for serial production in several of its vehicles. 3D printed using EPX 82 material, parts displayed at NAIAS include an HVAC lever arm for the Ford Focus, auxiliary plugs for the F-150 Raptor, and electric parking brake brackets for the Mustang GT500. The parts are being 3D printed at Ford’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center, announced last month.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Ford Motor Company and are excited about the many opportunities to leverage the power of digital manufacturing to deliver durable, end-use parts with similar – or better – properties as injection molded parts. The automotive industry shows significant promise for using digital fabrication at scale, and our work with Ford is a perfect example of the kind of innovation you can achieve when you design on the means of production,” said Carbon CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Joseph DeSimone.
On the metal side, Optomec has signed a partnership with Phillips Federal to resell Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) systems to US government facilities. Through this partnership, the LENS systems will be put to use to use Directed Energy Deposition (DED) metal 3D printing to repair and build parts, available via the GSA, the US government purchasing portal. Military and defense applications are increasingly eyeing additive manufacturing, and Phillips Federal indicates rising demand for these solutions.
“Our partnership with Phillips Federal will take the LENS technology to U.S. government facilities enabling them to achieve multiple strategic objectives. Additive manufacturing technology will improve maintenance and repair operations, get equipment operational faster, and improve supply chain capability all at significantly lower cost than traditional methods. Phillips has a very long and successful track record of working closely with customers to achieve their objectives, and together with Optomec, we expect to make a significant impact,” said Jamie Hanson, VP of Business Development at Optomec.
On the corporate side this week, a $2.5M seed funding round promises growth in composites 3D printing while a metal company welcomes a new CEO and soon-to-be HQ.
Boston-based Fortify has taken in $2.5 million in strategic funding for its Fluxprint technology. The resin system brings together Digital Light Processing (DLP) and magnetics for a unique high-strength process. The funding is a financial accolade to sit well with other awards Fortify has seen for its operations, including a Startup Challenge winner at the latest edition of formnext. Focusing on Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM), Fortify is stepping forward, introducing two new resins — one of which it calls the strongest on the market — as well as filed IP and intriguing partnerships. The company’s AM platform comprises Fluxprint software, INFORM generative design software, and materials. Through its Fortify Fiber Platform, the company welcomes materials companies to collaborate on materials development; DSM is already named as a partner. Fortify is looking to launch a beta toward the end of 2019, and is seeking an $8M Series A funding round.
“The support from our investors and partners is affirmation that the technology we’re developing is meeting significant needs in the manufacturing industry. We are looking forward to continue to be an innovation leader in the space and grow our DCM capabilities and products,” said Dr. Josh Martin, CEO of Fortify.
Formetrix is gearing up for a big year with a new CEO and soon a new headquarters. The company was created last summer as the spinout of the Additive Manufacturing business unit of NanoSteel. Focused on steel alloys for 3D printing, Formetrix designs and produces proprietary materials. Scott Pearson, recently the President and CEO of Aquion Energy, is joining the team at Formetrix as the company prepares for its new Boston-area HQ, planned to open in March.
“I am excited to join the Formetrix team and to lead the organization as we target the opportunities that exist in the 3D printing market today for our world-class, steel alloys as well as the new opportunities that our unique technologies will enable. I am also looking forward to the opening of our new, state-of-the-art facility in the coming months. The new capabilities enabled by this facility will allow our team to innovate and operate more quickly and effectively for our customers,” said Pearson.
Evonik has acquired Austin-based Structured Polymers.
Specialty chemicals company Evonik is among those global leaders increasingly showing commitment to materials for 3D printing. Its latest acquisition is Structured Polymers, which develops polymer powders to commercialize for 3D printing processes Evonik is already familiar with, including HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) and Select Laser Sintering (SLS). In 2017, the companies established a relationship through a venture capital investment. Now part of Evonik North America, Structured Polymers maintains its Texas HQ and “will provide Evonik access to a new patented technology that will allow the company to expand its portfolio of specialty polymer powders in the additive manufacturing market.”
“The new technology allows us to take virtually any semi-crystalline thermoplastic, such as polybutylene terephthalate, polyether ketone, or polyamide 6, or polymer powders with specialized properties like color, conductivity, or flame protection, and produce them for common powder-based 3D printing processes, such as selective laser sintering, high-speed sintering, or multi-jet fusion. In addition, we anticipate that Structured Polymers’ technology can be scaled up easily and economically,” says Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, the head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik.
License: The text of "3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – March 22, 2019)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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