As per usual, it’s been another eventful week in the 3D printing industry. With the start of Formnext 2019 less than a week away, new 3D printers, materials, and exciting announcements are starting to spring up on the newswire. In this week’s 3D printing industry digest, we have a new 3D printing service from HP, Formlabs expanding further into the dental industry, as well as new 3D printers that will be on display in Hamburg at Formnext 2019.
Author’s Note: The three most recent digests (Week 44, 45, and 46) were written by Tyler Koslow, while all weeks prior to Week 44 were penned by Sarah Goehrke.
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.“
Rocket company Relativity Space has announced a $140 million funding round, led by Bond and Tribe Capital.
The funding influx is readying them to “become the first company in the world to launch an entirely 3D printed rocket to orbit and enter commercial service,” they say. Slated for early 2021, the ambitious timeline will really take off (pun intended) with the cash flow.
A series of investors — including Jared Leto (huh) — contributed to the Series C, with several returning and even more new investors. Key to Relativity Space’s strategy is a 3D printer — the massive Stargate system — that is bringing next-generation metal 3D printing to bear for rocketry. Hotfire tests (more than 200 of them) and other milestones and achievements since the Series B funding in early 2018 showcase that the Relativity team is indeed quite serious about its goals.
The US-based company continues its path, working closely with the US government as well as entities around the world to launch payloads and keep planning for out-of-this-world endeavors.
“We believe the Stargate factory is a template for the future of aerospace manufacturing and provides Relativity’s commercial customers, and eventually humanity, a faster, more reliable, and lower-cost way to shuttle important resources from earth to outer space,” said Noah Knauf, a Co-Founder and General Partner at Bond.
Boston-based Rize became the first 3D printer company to achieve ecosystem certification with an important UL recognition. Established in 2018, UL 2904 establishes guidelines for extrusion-based desktop 3D printers.
Rize points to a two-year study from UL and Georgia Tech — worth a read in its own right — that quantifies certain health hazards inherent in current FFF 3D printing. Testing for volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and ultrafine particle emissions, the study found “alarming” potential issues that could include risks to cardiovascular and pulmonary health, along with potential emission of “known irritants and carcinogens.”
So how do 3D printer operators safely operate their 3D printers? By adhering to 2904 Greenguard certification adhering to the UL 2904 Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers, just like Rize now does.
The Rize One 3D printer and Rizium One materials, inks, and supports are all now Greenguard-certified; the first system bearing the official green certification system has been installed with customer Festo. This certification announcement will hopefully herald a slew of similar such introductions — safe operation should be a very key concern for any 3D printer to be operated in an office, classroom, home, or other non-industrially-ventilated (though those too!) environment.
“We were able to meet the requirements set forth by UL 2904 because we purpose-built the Rize system for safety and environmental-friendliness, with our engineering-grade thermoplastic compounds that are best-in-class for strength, yet safe to use virtually anywhere without special venting, disposal equipment or gloves,” said Rize president and CEO Andy Kalambi.
Relative newcomer to the industry Velo3D is known for big claims for its advanced Sapphire 3D printing system — and it’s clear that industry is listening. This week, the company announced a new collaborative partnership with PWR Advanced Cooling Technology for material development for Velo’s system and serial manufacturing of state-of-the-art heat exchangers.
High-performance parts have long been the target for Velo, which claims advanced capabilities with the Sapphire — claims that have certainly seen proof points already. PWR is turning to this metal 3D printing solution to develop advanced heat exchangers, bringing in the first Sapphire production system to be installed in the APAC region.
PWR chose Velo3D after a great deal of testing, said PWR engineering general manager Matthew Bryson, noting the printer was able to produce class-leading thin-walls and quality surfaces with no porosity.
“Heat exchanger weight and pressure-drop characteristics have a huge impact on performance and are significant factors in all motorsport categories,” he said.
“Using additive manufacturing to print lightweight structures, enhancing performance with freedom-of-design, we have the ability to further optimize these characteristics to the customer’s requirements whilst providing the necessary cooling. The broad design capabilities and extremely high print accuracy of the VELO3D Sapphire 3D metal printer will help us optimize these various performance attributes.”
Point-of-use 3D printing is of great interest for the armed services, and nScrypt’s experience in creating 3D printers that work in unlikely environments is proving a good fit. If they can make a 3D printer that works in zero gravity, some of Earth’s austere environments are certainly within reach.
The partnership to bring about this ruggedized bioprinter includes The Geneva Foundation and the Uniformed Services University (USU) 4-Dimensional Bioprinting, Biofabrication, and Biomanufacturing Program (4D Bio3) program, along with nScrypt and materials company RoosterBio. The machine is called ABAT: Austere BioAssembly Tool, using RoosterBio’s Ready To Print (RTP) human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs).
The pilot ABAT installation, at an undisclosed location, successfully proved out a few applications for 3D printing in the field. They’re described as including:
Ultimaker unveiled a new 3D printer and a new product bundle. The S3 3D printer is a follow-up to the most recent printer introduction, the proven-popular Ultimaker S5. Offering a “massive performance, impressively small footprint,” the smaller sibling debuts with a composite-ready interface. Key specs include:
On the larger side, a new bundle builds up the S5, adding to the 3D printer itself an Air Manager and a Material Station. These enable:
Read more about the machines here: Ultimaker Announces New S3 3D Printer and 24/7 Printing Solution for S5
3D Systems has launched five new materials for its Figure 4 3D printing system.
The new materials, all developed based on direct customer input and iteration, squarely target production applications. The highlight of the materials release is the new PRO-BLK 10, 3D Systems’ new Production Black 10 material, which the company says is its first photopolymer that exhibits thermoplastic behaviors that have to date been associated solely with injection molding.
A conversation with the company’s VP of Materials R&D this week revealed that the team intends this material to effectively be a replacement for previously injection molding-only part creation, as the quality is so comparable. It also requires relatively minimal post-processing, requiring only an IPA wash and no secondary thermal post-cure process.
Additional materials include EGGSHELL-AMB 10 for sacrificial silicone casting, HI TEMP 300-AMB ultra-high-temperature (300C) rigid plastic, FLEX-BLK 20 flexible high-impact plastic for functional assemblies and prototypes, and RUBBER-BLK 10 for rubber-like parts creation.
“Through collaboration with its customers, 3D Systems continues to innovate, and rethink manufacturing,” said Menno Ellis, senior vice president and general manager, plastics, 3D Systems. “The release of our newest Figure 4 materials enables production of parts through additive across the entire product development and production value chain – an industry breakthrough unparalleled by competitive offerings.”
AddiFab is deepening its relationship with Mitsubishi through a new investment.
The company has long been working with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), a relationship that has led to several of MCHC’s high-performance polymers being “Qualified for FIM”. Freeform Injection Molding (FIM), AddiFab’s technology that brings together the benefits of injection molding and 3D printing, is getting a boost this week as the company announces an undisclosed investment from MCHC’s US-based venture capital arm, Diamond Edge Ventures (DEV).
The investment brings with it as well a new member for AddiFab’s Board of Directors in DEV President Patrick Suel. The relationship between the two companies will continue to strengthen, with the influx of financial resources and ongoing materials collaboration. FIM has been shown to be compatible with more than 40,000 materials, from thermoplastics to rubbers, ceramics, and metals.
“This investment and development relationship with the MCHC Group companies, a world-wide leader in advanced, high-performance polymer materials, will strengthen the ecosystem of support for AddiFab and their customers for the global deployment of Freeform Injection Molding” says Lasse Staal, AddiFab co-founder and CEO. “The collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemical will allow us to strengthen the Freeform Injection Platform while at the same time accelerating the pace of adoption of this transformative technology.”
Continuous Composites has announced a new materials-focused partnership.
Continuous Fiber 3D (CF3D) Printing from Continuous Composites is coming together with Arkema’s resins in a new strategic partnership. Composite materials offer a greater range of materials possibilities to 3D printing, including the ability to work with materials more familiar to those coming from traditional manufacturing backgrounds. Continuous Composites will now be working with Arkema to leverage the materials company’s resins and lab testing facilities as the duo work to develop, certify, and commercialize high-performance, lightweight materials. CF3D enables moldless manufacturing with composite materials.
“As an industry leader in materials, our strategic partnership with Arkema opens the door for us to merge CF3D with their cutting-edge UV curable materials and apply Arkema’s long history in the composites field,” said Tyler Alvarado, CEO of Continuous Composites. “This partnership will expedite the development and deployment of CF3D across a broad spectrum of industries and applications.”
CORE Industrial Partners is developing a powerhouse of digital manufacturing.
The Chicago-based private equity firm acquired Midwest Composite Technologies (MCT) last year, with big plans for the Wisconsin-based manufacturing company. Now MCT’s operations will merge with those of California-based FATHOM as the company joins the CORE portfolio.
Together, the merged operations will comprise more than 180,000 square feet of manufacturing space housing more than 80 additive manufacturing systems across six 3D printing processes — not to mention more than 15 manufacturing production methods overall. FATHOM’s sites in Oakland and Seattle will add to MCT’s site in Hartland to, as the press release notes, “form one of the largest global independent additive manufacturing companies.”
The large digital manufacturing operation is a big step forward for all the teams involved — and the joint operations now include some 135 employees — as reorganization into a larger entity will mean some big change along with the expanded options for all their customers. And it’s not done at that; CORE hints that additional growth is in sight for the future, both organic and through further acquisitions of this type. We have a new digital manufacturing powerhouse to keep an eye on for the North American market.
Ryan Martin, Chief Executive Officer of MCT, said, “The acquisition of FATHOM brings together two of the leading additive manufacturing firms in North America. Both companies offer differentiated engineering expertise, exceptional customer service and a long-tenured track record of successfully partnering with leading companies across myriad end markets to provide the best in modern manufacturing, from prototype to production. We are very pleased to complete this acquisition and look forward to working closely with the FATHOM team to help drive further value into the business.”
Compared to 2018, Optomec saw “significant growth year over year” — with first-half sales increased by 40% from the first half of 2018; on a quarter-by-quarter basis, Q2 2019 showed 43% growth over Q2 2018. Gains are steady, including notable increases in both the metal 3D printing (LENS) and 3D printed electronics (Aerosol Jet) lines. Precise numbers aren’t available in the press release, but overall the results are a very strong showing indeed for the company.
Dave Ramahi, Optomec’s CEO, commented that: “We feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to flourish, as early adopters are realizing the benefits of both our 3D metal printing and 3D printed electronics solutions. We anticipate these trends will accelerate as we begin to promote our production-proven solutions to a broader range of customers looking to gain a competitive advantage that simultaneously helps improve their products and reduces manufacturing costs.”
Dassault Systèmes has released its annual update of some of its most popular 3D design and engineering software.
SOLIDWORKS 2020 launches this week, with more integrations and new capabilities essentially focused on offering a better, more connected workflow.
The software’s six million-plus users around the world often wait with great expectations for the yearly launch, and this year highlights more from the broader Dassault Systèmes portfolio. Increased connection with the larger 3DEXPERIENCE platform is bringing in additional capabilities – think more in simulation from SIMULIA – to SOLIDWORKS. The team notes that “hundreds of new enhancements” abound in the 2020 update – so it certainly makes sense that some of these are available in 3D printing.
Among the most interesting here is additional work with the 3MF file format, allowing for more accurate geometries to make it to the 3D printer. For a look at some of the features coming to SOLIDWORKS in this latest edition, check out what’s new, including more videos of enhancements across a variety of applications.
“We aren’t just bringing powerful new capabilities to the SOLIDWORKS portfolio everybody knows and loves, but also extending it to the cloud through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the only holistic digital experience platform in the world. We’ve built a bridge to our platform-based portfolio, empowering our users to take advantage of 3DEXPERIENCE.WORKS offerings,” said Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes. “This gives organizations the environment and the applications to truly embrace the Industry Renaissance and its spirit of discovery for new ways of inventing, innovating, collaborating and producing.”
The popular 3D printing service has teamed up with CADaaS digital manufacturing platform ZVerse for a new partnership for 3D design solutions. Intending to ease the user experience of 3D file design and optimization, the strategic partnership allows for Shapeways users to work through ZVerse’s AI-powered design platform and access “its extensive network of certified 3D designers.”
These designers don’t just design; they can also optimize a 3D file for better 3D printability or convert a 3D file to a different format. Easy access to CADaaS ensures that Shapeways customers can get what they want exactly how they want it, still maintaining Shapeways’ reputation for quality in the many materials and finishes they offer.
“Our partnership with ZVerse allows us to take our customer relationships end-to-end by fully integrating 3D design services into our platform, ensuring our prospective customers remain within our ecosystem,” said Greg Kress, CEO of Shapeways. “ZVerse’s AI-enabled platform expedites the design process by automating many aspects of the file creation workflow. We ship more than 180,000 3D-printed products per month, and ZVerse enables us to scale to our customer’s needs.”
Stratasys’ consulting arm has launched a new program to encourage additive manufacturing adoption. The wholly-owned consultancy, Blueprint, announces Think Additively “to help businesses more holistically embrace additive manufacturing throughout their organizations.”
Adopting 3D printing into an existing workflow is a tall order, and requires some expertise – so who better than the experts to provide it? Despite being owned by Stratasys, Blueprint is wholeheartedly technology-agnostic, committed – demonstrably – to recommending that clients work only with the best-fitting technology for their needs. Sometimes that’s FDM, sometimes it’s a competitive process, and sometimes it’s not additive manufacturing at all.
Many adoption education programs focus on design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) in their training; Think Additively aims to go fully end-to-end. The program is comprised of four components to create not just advice, but an enduring relationship between consultant and client:
“Transforming manufacturing is more than buying a 3D printer, and thinking additively is more than Design for Additive Manufacturing,” said Kunal Mehta, head of consulting at Blueprint. “Achieving strategic benefits like streamlined global supply chains or an improved new product development process requires communication across the organization, and communication requires a shared language. Whether an organization is early in additive adoption or mature, it is our aim to provide the knowledge and the language to achieve these transformational benefits.”
Formnext and Wohlers Associates are offering a dinner to bring together important parts of the 3D printing industry. Investors wondering how to find their next big move may need to wonder no more with the new Wohlers Associates Investor Dinner held during Formnext 2019.
Announced this week, the 20 November dinner is designed to “inform investors about the current status and the future prospects of additive manufacturing (AM) processes and of industrial 3D printing worldwide.”
Formnext this year is set to be bigger than ever, with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees over the busy week – the perfect grounds, it would seem to form strong new relationships. During the dinner, attendees will be treated to a discussion of industry trends and growth projections drawn from the expert team behind the “bible of 3D printing,” the annual Wohlers Report, including a presentation from Terry Wohlers.
Five members of the Wohlers Associates team will be on hand for the discussion of reports, ready to take questions about the industry, technology, outlook, and more. “Institutional investors, investment bankers, fund managers, venture capitalists, and other types of investors” may find great interest in the points to be made at this quality-over-quantity event. The $995 registration fee (expertise doesn’t come cheap) also includes a copy of the latest Wohlers Report (valued at $495).
“With an unparalleled number of developments in machinery, materials, services, and applications in the AM industry, it is now time for investors to expand their understanding of where this development is taking us,” says Terry Wohlers, Principal Consultant and President of Wohlers Associates. “For this reason, our consulting firm is working hard to educate and assist investors,” adds Wohlers.
Desktop Metal is expanding its materials portfolio for metal 3D printing. The newest metal on the Desktop Metal block is H13 Tool Steel, ready for use with the Studio System platform.
The Boston-area company notes that this particular material is well-suited for 3D printing mold inserts, extrusion dies, and sheet metal tooling – further bringing together a manufacturing environment with both additive and subtractive processes to create a strong hybrid workflow.
H13 is often used in traditional hot work applications and is also suited for cold work tooling applications. Its familiarity is a strong selling point for customers, who often prefer to work with well-known – and thus well-understood – metals. H13 tool steel joins 316L and 17-4 PH stainless steel in the Studio System materials library – and will soon enough be joined by the likes of superalloys, carbon steels, and copper.
“Expanding the Studio System materials portfolio to include H13 tool steel enables designers and engineers to print mold inserts, extrusion dies, forging dies, and sheet metal tooling, including stamping, embossing, bending, and countersinking,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “This is a key competitive advantage to enable rapid iteration and refinement of tools requiring H13, and the reduction of manufacturing lead times. Teams will also be able to achieve complex geometries that have not been possible with traditional manufacturing methods like machining.”
Stratasys has two big, and very different, announcements this week as they introduce a fashionable 3D printing platform and a significant investment into another company.
At this week’s New York Fashion Week, Stratasys announced a collaboration with fashion designers threeASFOUR and Travis Fitch. The threeASFOUR seasonal runway show introduced a collection inspired by butterfly wings – and that collection, the Chro-Morpho, was brought to life with 3D printing.
The approach to create the fashion is an updated method bringing in production-ready processes, including more automation, to 3D printing onto fabrics. Most work in this area has to date been experimental, but Chro-Morpho shows a viable next step forward for fashion. The powerful J750 3D printer brings its 500,000-plus color combination capability to fashion designers, who now have the ability to integrate 3D printed polymers onto their designs.
Off the runway and into the boardroom, Stratasys has also announced an agreement to up its stake in Xaar 3D Ltd from 15% to 45%. The remaining 55% will stay with parent Xaar plc (via Xaar 3D holdings) – though that might change, too, as Stratasys included in the new agreement the option to acquire the remaining shares. Xaar 3D Ltd. itself was formed last summer, as a joint investment intended to help Stratasys bring High-Speed Sintering to market. Xaar maintains expertise in inkjet technology, making them an intriguing partner in the endeavor. But now Stratasys seems ready to roll forward with more ownership.
“Xaar 3D has made significant progress over the past year and we see benefits to Stratasys in extending its investment in Xaar 3D’s innovative High Speed Sintering based solutions. We look forward to continue developing the technology together with Xaar and believe the combined expertise of both parties will lead to exploitation of the technology’s promising potential.” said Omer Krieger, EVP Products.
Carbon has also made two disparate announcements this week, with focus on the dental industry as well as wider availability via another leading digital manufacturer.
Carbon and Dentsply Sirona have announced a new digital workflow and material system for dentistry. Working to ensure ease of adoption, the partners have created an end-to-end workflow for digital dentistry, integrating five core material system products including both resins and hardware. They note that “this material and equipment system is used as part of a complete digital print workflow, that includes cloud-based traceable printing for each denture, taking digitally printed dentures to a whole new level.” Lucitone Digital Print Denture materials from Dentsply Sirona are validated only on the Carbon platform, where they can be used to create “complete single arch denture over existing dentition (1 arch), and full-over-full dentures (2 arches).”
“With this new digital workflow, laboratories of all sizes can design a Dentsply Sirona Lucitone Digital Print Denture and gain the capacity and throughput that is needed to meet increasing patient demand. The workflow is simple and easy for labs to integrate into their existing digital practices,” the announcement notes.
On the more industrial side of additive manufacturing, Protolabs has announced its addition of Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology to its portfolio. Responding to rising demand for production-grade additive manufacturing – which already sees Protolabs 3D printing more than 100,000 components on a monthly basis using its six in-house additive manufacturing processes – the move to add another makes sense with their strategy. Carbon sees the move as beneficial as well, as CCO and Co-Founder Phil DeSimone refers to Protolabs as “a key player in the industry” and acknowledges that the move will “make the Carbon Platform accessible to its customers.”
3D printed rockets are becoming a reality, and Relativity Space has signed an agreement to ensure that the out-of-this world technology gets, well, out of this world.
The company has signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with Momentus. The Terran 1 rocket, Relativity’s first fully 3D printed rocket, will launch with Momentus’ small and medium satellite customers, sending them to geosynchronous orbit. The initial launch is slated for 2021 and the LSA includes options for five further launches. All told, the announcement is set to open up more space launch availability for small satellites and microsats at a variety of orbits. 3D printing of rockets might still sound a bit far-fetched, but this agreement – and any future ones like it – are laying viable groundwork to get these launches off the ground.
“We are excited to announce an LSA partnership with Relativity for launch and shuttle services for small satellites to geosynchronous orbit (GEO), and to provide annual rideshare flights to GEO for satellites from 10kg up to 350kg,” said Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus. “Relativity’s advances in rocket manufacturing and launch combined with our proprietary orbital shuttle capabilities opens new opportunities for microsatellite revolution beyond low Earth orbit.”
Right on time for our weekly update, Nexa3D has announced its latest reseller.
Last week I asked if it’s really a week without an expansion update from the busy California-based company – and the answer remains the same with the latest announcement. Nexa3D has partnered with TWeatherford Inc. (TWI) for focus on the US Midwest market. The Midwest, known as the home of US manufacturing (and my own home area!), offers a strong market for 3D printing – so the NXE400 high-speed SLA 3D printer should find a strong ground. Indiana-based TWI will help spread the word of Nexa3D throughout this region.
“We are excited to partner with Nexa3D to offer this breakthrough technology for our established customer base and new customers ready to make the leap into industrial 3D printing,” said TWI President and CEO Cindie Weatherford. “With their speed, precision and automation, Nexa3D printers will provide distinct advantages to all of our clients, whether they have been using additive manufacturing for years or implementing the technology into their processes for the first time.”
3D Systems has announced a new FDA clearance for healthcare.
Addressing the Point of Care (POC) market, the new 510(k) clearance brings 3D Systems’ D2P (DICOM-to-PRINT) software into use for clinicians to 3D print diagnostic patient-specific anatomical models. In-house 3D printing of such models is proving a big help in a variety of healthcare settings, offering providers and patients a better look at internal workings.
The D2P solution also “includes the latest advancements in deep learning image processing technology and virtual reality visualization allowing hospitals and device manufacturers to significantly reduce the time associated with the creation of 3D models.” Included in those advances is a volumetric VR solution that allows for instant 3D viewing of patient scans, allowing for immediate conversation with digital models.
“We are used to going into surgery with uncertainties and an arsenal of contingency plans,” said Dr. Solomon Dadia, deputy director of the orthopedic-oncology department and director of the 3D surgical center at Souraski Medical Center in Tel-Aviv. “With 3D printed models and enhanced 3D visualization tools such as VR, we are able to gain a better understanding of the surgery and pathology we are going to treat. This allows us to come up with a more precise surgery plan designed to deliver a better surgical outcome.”
3D printing food gets even more 21st century with a 3D printed meat alternative set to come to market next year. Israel-based Redefine Meat has pulled in a $6 million investment to 3D print meat. Well, “meat.”
The plant-based meat alternative has been in development for some time, as the Redefine Meat team has been working since the company’s founding last year with chefs, engineers, and others to create a palatable product. They’re getting a boost with the hefty investment, as the seed round was led by CPT Capital and joined by Hanaco Ventures, The PHW Group, and angel investors from Israel. The first two of those investors will see representation on the Redefine Meat board of directors. 3D printing the alt-meat is based on many of the general benefits of 3D printing: shortening the supply chain, scalability, cost effectiveness, innovation.
The “meat” is based on a 3D meat modeling system, brought to form on “one of the world’s fastest 3D printers” and created using a “complex matrix ‘ meat’”. The means of production and plant-based ingredient list give the new product, says Redefine Meat, “a 95% smaller environmental impact” while being “100% predictable and replicable.” That last is a high percentage for any 3D printed product, so that’s a big claim in itself.
“Our goal is not just to develop a new food product, but to introduce a new technology for developing, producing and scaling alt-meat products. We have already successfully printed great products for multiple foodie events, and over the coming 12 months, we will take the technology to the next level where we expect to make a huge impact on the meat market and the future of our planet. We’re delighted to have secured this investment, and to be working with high-quality investors, who share our vision and can support Redefine Meat on its path to become an industry leader,” said Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, Co-Founder and CEO at Redefine Meat.
It’s a cyclist’s dream in 3D printing this week, with a new bike saddle and new bike frame introduced at Eurobike thanks to the technology.
On the heels of last week’s digitally manufactured bike saddle announcement with Specialized, Carbon is getting back in the saddle with another partner: Italy-based fizik. The new partnership is introducing Adaptive, fizik’s first digitally manufactured bike saddle.
Created with DLS 3D printing technology using EPU 41 and designed using the Carbon Lattice Engine, the Adaptive bike saddle is part of fizik’s collaborative cross-disciplinary concepts initiative to integrate advances from industry and academia into its next-generation cycling equipment. Adaptive uses nine years of gathered data from professional cyclists, using pressure mapping to create an optimized seat with better support and “engineered zonal cushioning.” The introduction is a continuation of Carbon’s work to provide engineered solutions to athletes, as is seen now in two bicycle saddles as well as the helmet collaboration with Riddell and the longstanding partnership with adidas and the popular Futurecraft 4D shoes. Next steps with fizik may see athlete-specific bike saddles emerge as the partnership and digital manufacturing progress.
“Digital Light Synthesis unlocks a new era in saddle design and manufacturing, driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. It means we can fully release our creativity — transforming not just what we make, but how we make it, bringing a whole new way of thinking to cycling saddles. Our aim is to provide riders with bespoke performance products tailored to their individual biodynamic data,” Luca Mathia Bertoncello, fizik Brand Director, explains.
Also announced this week during Eurobike is a new partner for AREVO’s 3D printed carbon fiber unibody bike frame. Silicon Valley-based AREVO has partnered with Pilot Distribution Group BV to introduce the new EVE9 bike. AREVO will 3D print the carbon fiber unibody frames for Pilot’s new e-bike line using “True 3D” construction. The strong frames, created in one piece using generative design software, are said to be 100% recyclable – an impressive feat for a composite structure.
“AREVO’s continuous carbon fiber technology is very impressive as it affords numerous design possibilities and provides excellent strength and durability,” said Arno Pieterse from Pilot. “The technology truly is a revolution in composites manufacturing and enables us to offer all the high-performance qualities we envisioned for EVE.”
It’s good news for metal 3D printing and a sad farewell in polymers this week with new material introductions and a strategic pivot.
Digital Metal has introduced two new “superalloy” grades of metal compatible with its 3D printing system with DM 247 and DM 625. Designed for use in aerospace, automotive, chemical, industrial, and other extreme environments, the superalloys — including non-weldable grades — offer new strength and corrosion resistance capabilities to additive manufacturing.
Because Digital Metal doesn’t use high heat in its binder jetting technology, the process is amenable to using these tricky metals. Ambient temperature 3D printing and sintering without melting ensure printability specific to this process.
The materials should be somewhat familiar to those working in these application areas; DM 247 is based on non-weldable MAR M247, while DM 625 is an Inconel 625-grade. Digital Metal is certainly helped in its ambitious materials introductions by its parent company, Höganäs Group, which is “best known for its pioneering work in metal powders.” This unique advantage gives the 3D printing company access to world-class materials development.
“We have been receiving qualified requests for these materials from various large companies,” says Ralf Carlström, General Manager at Digital Metal. “Many producers within the aerospace and automotive business have long been anticipating high-quality superalloys that are suitable for 3D printing. Now we can offer them the perfect combination – our unique binder jetting technology and superalloys that are specially developed for our printers.”
On the other end of the materials spectrum, we see that very sadly UK-based Rigid.Ink is shuttering its filament offerings.
A lengthy letter from Rigid.ink founder Ed Tyson lays out the reasoning behind the move — and underscores that this is not the end for the company: “we’re just evolving.” Summarily, major chemical companies have been entering the 3D printing arena at a fast pace, partnering with 3D printer OEMs and making their own polymer materials available for the last few years.
Tyson specifically points to “huge companies such as BASF and Mitsubishi,” and these are certainly not alone (think DSM, Arkema, Evonik, SABIC…). While these entries have been great news for the 3D printing industry and its professional customers, they haven’t been quite so fortuitous for smaller filament makers. Even newer entrants like Prusa Research, with its quickly-popular new introduction of Prusament, are offering price-competitive filament. Raw material costs have risen and margins simply aren’t sustainable any longer. So, Tyson notes, “For these reasons, rigid.ink as you know it is now ceasing to supply filaments to the 3D printing world.”
It isn’t the end for Rigid.Ink, though; the team are leaning on their own expertise to provide a new offering.
Tyson explains: “While serving thousands of our customers over the last 5 years, we accidentally created the most comprehensive set of training and service guidelines for FDM printer operators in known existence.” These guides will now become available through a new training and mentorship package: “Follow along as we show you how to correctly setup, operate and troubleshoot your way to 3D printing success.” They’re starting the offering with a 14-day free trial for the new Institute of 3D Printing to welcome loyal customers through the shift.
Rigid.Ink is no longer producing any filament (“except for large special orders”), so anything listed in the shop is the last of it; popularity means there likely won’t be a closeout sale, just a last chance to buy.
3D printing is about building bridges – some literal, some to new sales territories – and we’re seeing a good amount of this week.
A Dutch collaboration is introducing the “world’s first” 3D printed FRP (fiber-reinforced polymer) bridge. By no stretch the first 3D printed pedestrian bridge, the new prototype is a new take in terms of materials. There has been some work done with 3D printing polymer bridges, primarily in China, but nothing that I know of that’s made it past the demonstration/prototype phase.
This bridge comes from DSM, Royal HaskoningDHV, and CEAD. Engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV designed the bridge with generative design software, while large-format 3D printing equipment supplier CEAD built up the bridge using global chemical and sciences company DSM’s Arnite glass-filled thermoplastic PET combined with strengthening continuous glass fibers. Sensors built into the bridge enable a digital twin to be made to observe, optimize, and predict performance – rather important considerations for a load-bearing structure. The intent seems to be to take this initial prototype as a starting point for new work in 3D printed FRP bridges for the future.
Maurice Kardas, Business Development Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV commented: “This partnership is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way we think about the form and function of bridges in our society. FRP bridges are already well known for having a longer lifetime expectancy with lower life cycle costs compared to steel bridges. What’s new here is the use of a new 3D printing technology, enabling us to print large scale continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic parts. Using this new composite thermoplastic material, we will be ushering in a new era for sustainability and push the boundaries of bridge functionality even further. By including sensors in the design, we are able to build a digital twin of the bridge. These sensors can predict and optimize maintenance, ensure safety and extend the life span of our bridges. It can also incorporate new functionalities such as monitoring vital environmental aspects and improve the decision-making process for maintenance and inspection via dynamic real-time reports on the condition of the bridge.”
Is it a weekly digest without a Nexa3D expansion update?
Last week the California-based company saw its reseller network expand into the UK (on the heels of other recent announcements in Europe, Japan, and beyond). This week, it’s Russia. Nexa3D and SIU System have announced a partnership for the SLA 3D printers to make their way into Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The pace of partnerships remains aggressive as the superfast NXE400 SLA 3D printers have geared up for the market; they were released just this summer and already have some impressive worldwide reach thanks to this fast-paced reseller expansion. SIU System offers significant experience in the market, offering more than 100 different 3D printers, post-processing solutions, and research equipment through its partner platform.
“The Russian market is upgrading its capabilities with integrated solutions based on additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 capabilities,” said SIU System CEO Ashkhen Ovsepyan. “Nexa3D printers’ speed, precision and automation bolsters our mission: to help government and private enterprises become technological leaders and reach their organizational goals.”
Digital manufacturing is coming to cycling as Carbon and Specialized, both based in California, announce a partnership to introduce a digitally printed bicycle saddle.
Specialized creates innovative bicycles, where performance is paramount. The wrong seat on a bike can lead the rider to be uncomfortable or even develop longer-term health problems like nerve damage. This new digitally produced saddle leverages the advantages of 3D printing, including a complex and lightweight lattice structure, to bring a new experience to the ride. The product, the S-Works Power Saddle with Mirror technology, will be on the market next year.
It is made using Carbon’s DLS technology, 3D printed on the large-format L1 system — designed for production-scale manufacture — using the company’s flexible EPU material. The saddle joins high-profile collaborations in sporting goods from Carbon’s partnerships, stepping up alongside the adidas FutureCraft 4D midsole and the Riddell SpeedFlex Precision-Fit Diamond helmet to help optimize athletic performance and experience. Digital technologies shortened the time-to-market, taking the 18-24-month development process down to 10 months.
“Specialized has a long history of improving the rider experience. We created our first Body Geometry saddle over 20 years ago to address serious issues impacting cyclists. Together with Carbon, we are challenging the norms of the cycling world, from design to production time, to create technology that will allow riders to improve performance, increase comfort, and reduce the chance of injury,” said Garrett Getter, Specialized Product Manager of Saddles. “With Mirror technology, we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.”
Polish 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax is offering more for UV LCD 3D printing.
The company, which introduced its Inkspire 3D printer last year, has been increasing its focus on the resin side of its business. This week Zortrax introduced three new castable resin materials designed for the jewelry market and made a big move with its Z-SUITE software.
Z-SUITE has always been a useful tool for Zortrax 3D printers — and only Zortrax 3D printers. The latest update is upending that, though, as along with new material profiles and updates, it is also now opening up to all third-party LCD 3D printers.
The update, 2.11.0, is available now, offering slicing capabilities along with such features as Rotation Optimization, Support Generation, Hollow Infill, Split Function, Model Dimension Correction, Model Smoothing, Undo, and more. Users familiar with Z-SUITE can now add their other LCD systems in three steps:
Zortrax says of these announcements, “By introducing these new functions for all LCD 3D printers and improving on past versions of the software, Z-SUITE has become the most comprehensive slicing and 3D printing management tool available. It’s simple and intuitive to inexperienced users while advanced editing options will satisfy the most advanced professionals.”
Nexa3D continues its expansion efforts, bringing onboard another international reseller and introducing a new board director.
California-based Nexa3D is on a roll in its global rollout. This week, the company announces a partnership with CREAT3D to focus on the UK market. This adds to the recent announcements of resellers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Russia. CREAT3D is a value-added reseller familiar with 3D printing, offering focus in engineering, manufacturing, design, and higher education. Nexa3D Executive Chairman and CEO Avi Reichental describes the UK as “a crucial part of Nexa3D’s expansion into the European market.”
“CREAT3D exists to deliver the best additive manufacturing technologies, innovative services and expert support to our customers, empowering them to realize the full benefits of integrating additive manufacturing into their businesses,” said CREAT3D managing director Simon Chandler. “We are incredibly excited to be working with the team at Nexa3D and to bring their transformative 3D printing technology to the UK market.”
In addition to getting its high-speed NXE400 SLA 3D printer into broader distribution, Nexa3D has also announced Jeff Holden as a new member of its board of directors. Holden is perhaps best known for his stint as Chief Product Officer at Uber (2014-2018), and also brings experience from work at Amazon as SVP of Worldwide Consumer Applications, as well as being the founder of Atomic Machines. Advanced technologies and next-generation reach and capabilities are strong testaments to his résumé — and 3D printing seems to be next on his radar.
“There is unparalleled change occurring within the 3D printing industry,” said Holden. “Nexa3D is a company that offers a huge boost for organizations seeking a performance upgrade to compete within additive manufacturing. I’m thrilled to be able to draw on my experience and insights from the broader tech sector to help catapult Nexa3D to new realms of productivity within Industry 4.0.”
California-based FORECAST 3D is increasing its MJF footprint with new HP equipment.
The 3D printing prototyping and production service provider has added two of HP’s new Jet Fusion 5210 Pro industrial 3D printers to its in-house offerings. The installation is on top of an existing two dozen (yes, a full 24) other MJF 3D printers that have seen FORECAST 3D grow to certainly one of the largest such installations in the world for this particular 3D printing technology.
Along with the 5210 systems comes the capability to add Ultrasint TPU material from BASF, adding to existing MJF offerings (Nylon PA 12, PA 12 Glass Beads, and PA 11). With a whopping 26 systems, the company says they have “the capacity to print millions of parts in four different materials enabling companies to accelerate their product development cycle.” The investment into HP technology is a significant statement to the industry as FORECAST 3D really doubles down in its acceptance of MJF as a production-grade technology.
“We have been leading the Multi Jet Fusion movement for the last two years and now, and to keep up with business growth, we want to have the latest equipment and materials,” stated Technical Director Ken Burns. “We’re excited to be a part of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The transition to Digital Manufacturing is changing the way companies design, innovate, and get their parts. It’s really rewarding to see how quickly product developers are recognizing these benefits and taking advantage of what these technologies can solve for today.”
“Elastomeric parts produced with 3D printing exists today but nearly all the materials are only prototype-grade. We believe this new TPU developed by BASF will add a much-needed solution to the marketplace. Couple that with this material being launched on perhaps the most sophisticated 3D Printing production-grade printer available today and we have a real manufacturing solution,” Burns added.
Markforged has introduced a new customizable offering for high-volume, high-strength 3D printing.
This week the Massachusetts-based company introduced Markforged Print Farms as a sort of one-stop-shop to bring in metal and carbon fiber 3D printing capabilities. Each Print Farm is fully customizable — so price is dependent on the setup — to bring Metal X metal and X7 carbon fiber 3D printers together in a one-price, centralized platform. The ability to 3D print in high-strength materials, including hybrid metal/CF, is increasingly attractive to a variety of customers, leading Markforged to commercialize the offering.
The print farms are brought together with the company’s cloud-based software platform, easing real-time monitoring and ease of automation. The print farms offer the ability to 3D print with 17-4PH Stainless Steel, H13 Tool Steel, A2 Tool Steel, and composite nylon materials in the Onyx line, ranging from fire retardant to Kevlar-reinforced. Additional materials — such as D2 Tool Steel, Inconel, and Titanium — are in the pipeline as well, with D2 set for release in September.
“We are introducing Print Farms to help customers maximize the efficiency of our Metal X systems. Three to five Metal X printers, one Wash and a Sinter-2 is the optimum package to maximize output,” said Jon Reilly, VP of Product at Markforged. “A properly balanced print farm helps companies accelerate their transition to digital manufacturing.”
ExOne has licensed a new patent-pending 3D printing method for a lightweight ceramic-metal material.
The method was developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a Department of Energy lab responsible for a good many high-tech advances including in additive manufacturing. Co-inventors David C. Anderson, Amy Elliott, and Bianca Haberl “developed a process to 3D print objects in B4C, a neutron-absorbing material, and then infiltrate the objects with aluminum.”
Aluminum-infiltrated B4C, or boron carbide, creates a metal-matrix composite that “has strong but lightweight properties, as well as energy-absorbing characteristics that are particularly useful in neutron scattering instruments, which enable researchers to capture data down to the atomic level.” The ORNL team developed their process using an ExOne M-Flex 3D printer — and now ExOne has licensed it.
The metal-matrix composite is a lighter-weight material than bronze. ExOne intends to develop a commercializable 3D printing production process using the material to create shielding equipment, components used in neutron scattering instrumentation, and other aluminum-infiltrated B4C objects. The company will also participate in continuing 3D printing of B4C matrix components at ORNL.
“It delivers results that X-Rays can’t. Neutrons can detect light elements, like hydrogen or water, but they also penetrate through heavy elements like lead, which enables analysis of complex processes in-situ,” explained Dan Brunermer, Technical Fellow, The ExOne Company. “This research and the resulting license agreements demonstrate the value that the DOE Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL delivers to the manufacturing and science community at large.”
A new Center of Excellence focuses on Arcam EBM 3D printing technology.
The 15,000-square-meter facility opened this week in Härryda, Sweden, near Gothenburg, as GE Additive — parent company to Arcam — announced the new Arcam site. Triple the physical size of the previous Arcam site in Mölndal, the new facility is designed to house up to 500 employees focusing on production, R&D, training, and support.
Centers of Excellence are popping up around the world, offering dedicated facilities for company efforts in furthering their commitment to additive manufacturing operations. Benefits of a site specifically for a single company’s technologies include gathering resources and providing one location for potential and existing customers to come to learn about and train in their offerings. Co-development efforts are also commonly found at such sites, as collaboration remains key to success in this industry. GE Additive is continuing to invest in its European and US facilities.
“The Arcam EBM team in Gothenburg is energized to be in its new home – a dynamic, sustainable workplace – in a great location. We will harness that energy and continue to research, innovate and drive EBM technology further,” said Karl Lindblom, General Manager GE Additive Arcam EBM. “Throughout, we have benefitted immensely from GE’s experience and know-how in applying Lean manufacturing. Customers joining our annual user group meeting next month will be the first to see our Center of Excellence – which we hope will become a focal point for the entire additive industry.”
California-based Nexa3D is entering the Japanese market with a newly announced partnership.
Nexa3D and Brulé have announced a partnership to commercialize the NXE400 3D printer in Japan. Relatively new to the market, the NXE400 is an ultra-fast SLA production 3D printer — and one that Nexa3D is aggressively positioning around the world. Partnering with Brulé is a natural step toward penetration in Asia, as Brulé maintains an active 3D printing portfolio serving customers such as JAXA, Tokyo University, Kao, and Kaiyodo.
“Nexa3D printers offer speed, precision, and automation which provide our customers with clear advantages no matter their goals,” said Douglas Krone, CEO of Brulé. “Nexa3D printers are a key part of our extensive line of leading brands. Nexa3D provides customers with high-quality, next-generation speed for their additive manufacturing and 3D printing needs.”
3D Systems has appointed a new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Any C-level appointment is interesting in a major company, and 3D Systems’ latest move is no exception. Todd A. Booth is set to begin in his new role on September 3, 2019, leading 3D Systems’ Finance, Strategy, and Corporate Development operations and reporting directly to President and CEO Vyomesh Joshi (VJ). Booth will step in following current CFO John McMullen’s retirement, which was announced earlier in 2019 following three years of service in the role.
Booth’s résumé tracks 25 years in finance, including his most recent post as Teledyne Marine’s CFO, “where he successfully led a complex, global transformation.” That sort of transformative history may be just what 3D Systems needs just now, following less-than-stellar recent financial results. It’s no secret the company could use some strong strategic thinking, and perhaps a new addition to the C-suite could be just what they need.
“I am excited to have a leader of Todd’s experience join our team at such an important time for our company,” said VJ of the appointment. “Todd’s experience leading complex transformations and large-scale efficiency improvements will be invaluable as we seize the opportunity ahead of us.”
Germany-based voxeljet is the latest 3D printing company to report its second-quarter results for 2019.
The company, which produces high-speed, large-format 3D printers and offers on-demand parts services, saw revenues decline across the board — but it’s not all bad news.
The company lists as the highlights for Q2:
Dr. Ingo Ederer, Chief Executive Officer of voxeljet, commented, “We are satisfied with the results for the first half of 2019. Revenue from our Systems segment is up by 40% for the first half of 2019, compared to the same period last year. We successfully presented VJET X, our new high-speed additive manufacturing solution for the first time to the public. A leading German carmaker plans to use this 3D printer in the mass production of a new engine component. This new component can help to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions significantly.”
Further highlights are yet to come, with the company on track to present its large-scale production solution for high-speed sintering, the VX1000 HSS printer, which is expected to debut for the public sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Ederer adds “This new 3D printer can be used in the mass production of sports equipment, consumer goods & electronics as well as in the manufacturing of parts for mobility & transportation and similar markets. There is truly a lot to be excited about.”
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