The first full week of 2019 has been a busy one for tech, with CES taking center stage in Las Vegas. Product announcements and of course some controversy surround the major show, while elsewhere researchers announce breakthroughs in new approaches and installations.
Note: If you want to read our review of 2018, you can jump ahead to our 3D printing industry 2018 recap.
CES is no longer the hive of 3D printing activity it was in the heyday of consumer 3D printer buzz, but there’s still plenty to see in Vegas this week — much of it 3D printed. Alongside several of the pre-announced happenings at CES we’ve been anticipating, the week of the show saw introductions of new 3D printers, materials, and applications.
It’s not CES without some controversy.
3D printing to prototype, a partnership with a leading research university and its robotics lab, and eight patent-pending designs are part of the recipe for success at Lora DiCarlo. The US-based company is taking a high-tech approach to pleasure, with the patents covering “features including micro-robotics, soft robotics, mechanical engineering for biomimetic functions, and advanced material science.” More than three years of physiological research gathering, work with Oregon State University, and a dedicated team have led to the development of Osé (originally called Vela), a sex toy for women. It’s so advanced and well designed that it was named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Robotics and Drone product category in October.
But then CTA (the Consumer Technology Association, which is behind CES) took it back. After the design had been submitted, vetted, judged, and pronounced a winner, a month after the award announcement, CTA took back not only the award but Lora DiCarlo’s place as an exhibitor at CES. First citing a rule that effectively determines Osé to be either “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image” or that “endangers the safety or well being of any person,” and later that somehow the device did not fit into any awards category (despite being a robotic device in a robotics category), CTA has refused to allow recognition. Lora DiCarlo has shared its case not only in an open letter, but a 41-page pdf document (in its press pack) containing all correspondence on the matter for full transparency. For a show that has displayed sex dolls and VR porn to decide against a female-targeted sex toy is…well, pretty transparently biased. The judging panel that originally made the call to include the device among the Robotics and Drone winners was apparently made up of eighty-nine experts who thought it worth recognizing. Eighty-nine. On the bright side for the company, the controversy has stirred up major debate and brought their name onto more radars. Let’s hope to see the awards start to actually accumulate; the tech looks sound.
3D printing is helping 2019 get off to a strong start with new developments in healthcare.
Carbon worked with researchers at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to create 3D printed absorbers that act as “drug sponges” to help counter the side effects of chemotherapy. In today’s chemo treatments, drugs are delivered via IV to the bloodstream so they can get to the tumors they’re targeting — only they’re not that targeted. When the drugs circulate through the body, they also affect healthy systems, leading to the terrible side effects many associate with cancer treatment. So what if the drugs couldn’t get farther? Taking cues from the petroleum industry, where absorbers are put to use in petroleum refining to remove sulfur and other unwanted chemicals, the research team developed a tiny absorber that can be placed in a vein during chemo, where it takes up drugs that would otherwise circulate and is removed after the treatment. Carbon brought its 3D printing expertise to the table in helping the team create cylinders with struts that encases the absorbent polymer. Early tests have shown success, and the researchers hope to progress to human trials in the near future.
Custom implants are getting a boost as well, as Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and LimaCorporate have announced a collaboration. A new additive manufacturing facility, operated by Lima, is said to be the first for custom 3D printing complex implants in a hospital system. With a focus on orthopedic treatment, HSS has a long history of care and has been working with Lima since 2016. The new facility shortens the distance of that relationship from Lima’s Italian HQ to the HSS’ own NYC main campus. Proximity to those in need is one of the largest benefits for medical 3D printing, and this new facility allows for close collaboration with healthcare providers and integration into hospital operations. It should be operational early next year, working with hospitals in the area and eventually expanding to provide devices throughout the US.
Prodways enhances its medical portfolio with a new acquisition, while a Taiwanese company meets a Kickstarter goal minutes after launch with a new SLA 3D printer.
France-based Prodways Group has acquired Surdifuse-L’Embout Français. The move brings more than three dozen employees to Prodways’ operations — along with their associated expertise in hearing aids. Surdifuse-L’Embout Français, which uses 3D printing for half of its production process in creating customized ear tips for hearing aids, is expected to add more than €3 million in revenue this year for Prodways. The 100% acquisition is a cash transaction and Prodways says that it has “become the French leader in customized ear tips for hearing aids” through the move.
While the heydey of Kickstarter has faded for 3D printing, success can still be found. Taiwan-based Phrozen launched its Phrozen Transform LCD SLA 3D printer a month ago on Kickstarter, blowing past its $30K goal in three minutes. As of the time of writing, the 3D printer is nearly 1150% funded. Claiming “the largest build volume among consumer-grade SLA printers,” the Phrozen Transform builds on the company’s SLA portfolio. The Phrozen Shuffle, which All3DP favorably reviewed, has taken a place among this publication’s top 25 resin 3D printers. The strength of a known entity surely added confidence for Kickstarter backers. The campaign for the Transform continues through 25 January.
Phrozen Co-Founder Ray Wu describes the machine: “We’ve seen many great designs limited by the low build volumes. Phrozen Transform is designed to solve this problem. We make the quality of printed products better, more stable and stronger. We also develop dual 5.5″ panels for small and fine designs; users can print two plates at the same time to double the efficiency and output.”
Planning a wedding? Just want to look your best? 3D printing has your back.
“There’s an app for that” gets a new face with Neutrogena’s new MaskiD which, yes, has an app. The 3D printed face mask is set to moisturize for you and just for you, customized for each face. Set to debut next week at CES (more on that below), Allure shares an alluring look now at MaskiD. The ingredients and shape of the mask are made just for you, but still said to “align with Neutrogena’s drugstore price range.” The MaskiD app will capture your face in 3D, ready for your selections in six facial zones. An optional device, the Skin360, can attach to iPhones to get super up close and personal for to-the-pore perfection with spot-by-spot ingredient suggestions (there’s also a questionnaire for the Skin360-less). Commercialization is planned for September.
What’s more personal and beautiful than your wedding day? Bring 3D printing in with your perfect cake topper with Zola’s new NYC “one-stop-shop for wedding planning.” Amidst wedding planning — looking for invitations? Want to set up your registry? Plan everything? — madness, you can chill in the CBD lounge (they really are all-inclusive)… or pop in for your own 3D scan and 3D print. Zola isn’t specific about its technologies, but says of the experience:
“Step in into our 3-D printer machine, smile, and get a custom, lifelike cake topper delivered straight to your door! Enjoy special Zola pricing on this fun memory you can cherish for a lifetime. Our rec? Come at least 5-6 weeks before the big day because delivery will take between 2-3 weeks after your photo op. Also, arrive photo ready to your appointment – what you’re wearing is what’s on your topper!”
It’s the techiest time of the year in Vegas. CES kicks off this week and while 3D printing doesn’t have the presence it did a few years back, there will still be plenty to see (in addition to 3D printed face masks). ParaMatters, Monoprice, Dassault Systèmes, and the Netherlands share previews of what to expect from their exhibits.
ParaMatters will be showcasing its CogniCAD 2.0 platform, its cloud-based generative design and lightweighting software. CES will prove the first North American showing of CogniCAD 2.0, which recently featured at formnext 2018. The company will be at the Techniplas booth: LVCC North Hall, #9320.
“We are transforming the entire design-to-manufacturing process by making it possible for our cloud service to autonomously generate high-quality, CAD-agnostic and ready-to-manufacture, optimized lightweighted designs in minutes to a few hours,” said ParaMatters Co-Founder and CTO Dr. Michael Bogomolny. “Our proprietary generative engine automatically delivers high performance and quality designs with minimal user input. As a result, the entire design cycle is compressed from weeks to hours and raises the quality of generative designs compared to what can be achieved manually.”
On the hardware side, Monoprice will have more than 3D printing to show off. The busy company has reserved a suite at The Venetian to display its extensive offerings. Alongside its well-regarded line of low-cost 3D printers, Monoprice will display offerings in consumer audio, monitors, cables and accessories, smart home innovations, and more.
“Our continued mission for 2019 is providing greater accessibility to the sought-after product categories consumers are enthusiastic about but often discouraged by because of high costs,” said Bernard Luthi, CEO at Monoprice.
Dassault Systèmes is looking ahead with its CES offerings this year — to the next decade. Skipping the roaring ‘20s entirely, Dassault wants to “reveal consumer experiences of 2030.” With its 3DEXPERIENCE platform at the heart of the display, the company is taking the consumer electronics show experience to a new type of consumer: those in the future. Drawing from a survey conducted with CITE Research, the interactive experience is set to be extensive. Dassault Systèmes will show off its 2030 vision in LVCC North Hall, #4121. The company says:
“Dassault Systèmes’ booth…will take visitors on a journey to the city of 2030, with examples of home, mobility, consumer and delivery experiences that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes possible. In this world, home devices automatically anticipate and adapt to lighting, heating, food, cleaning, security and ambiance needs. Air taxis shuttle passengers in a new era of ultra-mobility. Consumers adopt alternative ways to shop by 3D printing their own customized shoes and rely on electric scooters for deliveries.”
Finally, the Holland Pavilion in the Sands Expo, Eureka Park, Hall G-51726, will house 50 Dutch startups. In addition to 3D printing, the startups announced by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and StartupDelta will showcase technology including 3D scanning, AI, blockchain, circular economy, digital health, ecommerce, energy transition, IoT, smart city, smart home, smart mobility, and robotics and drones.
“The Netherlands has world-class technology and entrepreneurs who like to use it to tackle major societal challenges. At CES a delegation of 50 startups will show the innovative power of the Netherlands. The goal is to introduce them at CES to potential investors, customers, partners and distributors,” said HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje, Special Envoy at StartupDelta.
Many more 3D printing companies are readying now for CES 2019. Among them are Airwolf 3D, Formlabs, Markforged, Polaroid, and XYZprinting; you can view the 3D printing exhibitor list here. Several popular YouTubers and well-known community members will also be in Vegas next week. There’s a lot to look forward to there for sure…but it also isn’t the launchpad for 3D printing that it used to be; this will be my first year not going to CES in a while, and many 3D printing-dedicated media won’t be making the trip for 2019. Let’s see how this year goes and whether 2020 demands a return trip to the desert.
With end-use 3D printing in focus and tough environments for products like jigs, fixtures, and tooling putting 3D printed parts through their paces, materials innovation was a major theme in 2018.
On the polymers side, more and more often this means industrial-grade, high-temperature materials familiar from conventional production techniques. Carbon fiber is being joined by the all-caps engineering favorites, as materials like PEEK, PAEK, ULTEM, and more have been formulated for additive manufacturing. Flexible materials are also seeing increasing development for extrusion, resin, and powder systems alike.
Materials giants are increasingly turning to 3D printing; at this year’s formnext, for instance, materials companies like BASF, SABIC, Solvay, and GKN Powder Metallurgy bought their own booth space. While several have partnered with 3D printer manufacturers to ensure compatible materials, others have developed their own subsidiaries focusing on additive manufacturing, opening them to broader opportunity in 3D printing.
On the metals side, we saw an explosion of introductions in 2018. New market entrants like Velo3D as well as existing participants broadening their portfolios added to the available technologies in metal 3D printing. While many developments focused on precision and dimensional accuracy, lower-cost innovation has also been in focus. Australian companies Aurora Labs and SPEE3D have both been working with traditional MIM (metal injection molding) powders for more accessible metal 3D printing with familiar materials.
Regulations have been appearing in force across 2018 as standards bodies around the world have turned increasing attention to 3D printing. Validation is critical for heavily-regulated industries like medical and aerospace, and progress was in great evidence through the last twelve months. In the spring, for instance, the FDA cleared Materialise’s Mimics software for use in generating 3D medical models, and later in the year Stratasys, Ultimaker, and Formlabs saw certain of their systems and materials validated to create FDA-cleared 3D printed medical models for diagnostic use with the Materialise Mimics inPrint Certification Program.
Automation was also a major theme throughout 2018. Post-processing is a laborious endeavor, and can add substantial time to the additive manufacturing process. Easier support removal with soluble materials, automated post-processing systems, and other efforts to streamline the finishing of 3D printed parts are enhancing operations — a must if 3D printing is ever to truly take hold in the manufacturing mainstream.
New facilities budded all over the map in 2018, from XJet’s new Additive Manufacturing Center in Israel to Siemens’ new Materials Solutions facility in the UK (visits to both shared in my weekly 3D Printing Industry Report). Expansions in operations with huge additions to operational square footage showcase the investments these and other companies are devoting to additive manufacturing.
Upskilling has taken more focus in 2018 — companies need personnel to power their growing operations, after all. Training professionals already in the workforce as well as the next generations of workers is critical to see 3D printing continue to advance. New sets of skills are needed for everyone from designers to engineers to C-level executives. And new courses are popping up with increasing frequency to address these skills gaps. Both hands-on and e-learning initiatives are broadening access to the knowledge needed as additive manufacturing evolves and sees growing adoption worldwide.
3D printing is continuing to enable a more digital, agile future for manufacturing and industry participants are transparent that with all the progress seen lately, we’re still at the beginning of a long journey. End-use parts, spare and replacement parts, validated parts, and more advanced solutions will continue to develop as 2019 dawns. 2018 has been the most dynamic year yet in this industry, and we look forward to much more to come.
Happy New 3D Printing Year!
Volkswagen has been a major adopter of 3D printing and has recently shared a look into various applications throughout its businesses for advanced manufacturing solutions.
With a view toward serial production, Volkswagen Group is stepping up its investment into 3D printing. A “new and highly modern 3D printing center at the Autostadt” that “makes Wolfsburg a central site for metallic 3D printing” underscores the seriousness of the approach.
Highlighting usage in toolmaking, parts for race cars, wheels for a moon rover, vintage car parts, and brake calipers for a super sports car, Volkswagen underscores the breadth of 3D printing in use today Businesses actively 3D printing under the Group umbrella highlighted in this look include Volkswagen Toolmaking, VW engineers working on the I.D. R Pikes Peak electric racing car, Audi, Porsche, and Bugatti. The last of these recently tested “the world’s first 3D printed brake caliper,” created in titanium and gearing up for series production.
The US Navy is looking to up its investment into advanced manufacturing technologies including 3D printing.
With 3D printed spare parts already coming into play for Naval use, digital solutions are on the increase. A new build strategy including focus on digital technologies is leading companies like Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division to continue to progress. Newport News Shipbuilding is working on the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier, which is sailing toward a late-2019 christening date.
Other aircraft carrier parts are looking toward 3D printing as a new manufacturing approach, though certainly a good deal of testing lies ahead to catch up to the well-understood and thoroughly benchmarked traditional casting and forging techniques. In the next several weeks, the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier is set to see a 3D printed metal drain strainer installed, beginning a one-year trial period.
3D technologies are helping to rebuild and understand ancient structures.
UCB’s Dr. Alexei Vranich is an archaeologist working to rebuild Tiwanaku, a site in Bolivia tracing back to 500-950 AD that unfortunately fell prey to looters over the centuries. The Pumapunku was a building hailed as especially stunning, if unfinished. Vranich led a project to reconstruct Pumapunku, with more than 150 3D printed pieces coming together to allow for physical manipulation to understand the original configurations — much easier to work with than solely computer models or drawings that can’t be moved around quickly or seen from all sides.
“A major challenge here is that the majority of the stones of Pumapunku are too large to move and that field notes from previous research by others present us with complex and cumbersome data that is difficult to visualize,” said Vranich. “The intent of our project was to translate that data into something that both our hands and our minds could grasp. Printing miniature 3D models of the stones allowed us to quickly handle and refit the blocks to try and recreate the structure.”
LLNL researchers have created a new class of metamaterials.
The catchily-named FRMMs (field-responsive mechanical metamaterials) “can nearly instantly respond and stiffen 3D-printed structures when exposed to a magnetic field.” With potential applications for wearable protection (e.g., helmets, armor), the FRMMs are not quite 4D printed, as they don’t shape-shift when subjected to stimuli. Instead, they stiffen. Injected into hollow 3D printed lattice structures, the liquid — and thus the lattices — stiffen in less than a minute in response to an applied magnetic field. Reversible and adjustable, the stiffening could be put to use in absorbing impact: “or example, automotive seats could have fluid-responsive metamaterials integrated inside along with sensors to detect a crash, and seats would stiffen on impact, potentially reducing passenger motion that can cause whiplash.”
“What’s really important is it’s not just an on and off response, by adjusting the magnetic field strength applied we can get a wide range of mechanical properties. The idea of on-the-fly, remote tunability opens the door to a lot of applications,” said LLNL engineer Julie Jackson Mancini, lead author of the published work.
Origami influences have come into play for radio frequency filters with adjustable dimensions.
Recent research out of the Georgia Institute of Technology looks to inkjet printing and Miura-Ori, an origami pattern comparable to an accordion’s expansion and contraction. Real-time adjustment of the RF filters could enable interesting opportunities for next-generation antenna systems, electromagnetic cloaking systems, and other new-fangled varying applications dependent on ambient conditions. Scored paper, inkjet-printed silver ink, and 3D printed holding frames come together in this intriguing RF research. Full details were published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
An aerospace company receives its first 3D printed structural component, while an Italian 3D printer manufacturer welcomes new partners to focus on markets in the Americas.
Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems received a backup fitting for an access door latch this week — its first 3D printed structural component. The titanium latch has been installed in a Boeing 787 forward fuselage, set to ship out for final assembly next month. Born of a nine-year (to date) collaboration between Norsk Titanium and Spirit, the component was 3D printed using the former’s Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) technology to near-net shape, then machined, finished, inspected, and installed by Spirit. The first of its kind for Spirit, this 3D printed latch represents a potential gateway application. The company reports that it “builds the forward fuselage section of every Boeing commercial airplane in production today, as well as wing and propulsion components”; the latch may be a springboard part for more additive manufacturing to come for the 787.
“Integrating additive manufacturing capability into our production system to build end-use titanium parts expands Spirit’s fabrication capabilities and puts us at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. With our Norsk collaboration, Spirit is bringing the power and benefits of additive manufacturing in support of our customers,” said Kevin Matthies, Spirit AeroSystems senior vice president of Global Fabrication.
Expansion is in sight as well for Italy-based Roboze, which has just announced three points of contact for end users in the Americas. Partnerships with US-based ImageNet Consulting, Canada-based TM3, and Colombia-based i3D show new steps forward for the busy young company, which just last week closed its first funding round. This week’s announcement sees the new partners enthusiastic for opportunities to work with Roboze’s high-temperature 3D printing technology:
“The reason we suggest Roboze over many other solutions”, says TJ Russell, 3D Printing director at ImageNet Consulting, “is for flame retardant materials, the quality of the product, strength, competitive price point, and its vision for future AM technology (longevity to be around). ROI is always the most important thing for our customers and when you compare Roboze to other products in its class, they can’t compete. With the announcement of all the other Roboze products, there is a sense of security there for a customer that Roboze is here to stay”.
“We have several applications that require jigs and fixtures for CNC machining applications and we feel that having the ability to print with Nylon and Carbon PA will be able to support us in that area,” said Vince Tersigni, TM3 Co-Founder. “We also have a large focus on the Oil & Gas Market and feel that printing in PEEK will be a very large benefit for our customers. We have opportunities to help customers looking for short run injection mold tooling and we feel that with the properties in PEEK we should be able to satisfy these needs.”
“Roboze offers the next generation high performance materials,” said Leonardo Arbeláez, Engineering Director at i3D. “The future is NOW!”
Sculpteo and Precision ADM have announced ISO certifications, highlighting the importance of industry-recognized quality.
Popular France- and US-based service provider Sculpteo has announced the new ISO standard and a new partnership this week. With ISO 90001 – 2015, Sculpteo joins the ranks of “companies proving that they have implemented protocols ensuring improvements and quality of the service for clients.” The ISO standard indicates that requirements have been met in offering a consistent level of product and service quality and establishes trust with major manufacturers. Sculpteo credits such a certification with its ability to partner with major Canada-based transportation company Bombardier.
“Only yesterday was 3D printing considered an imperfect technology; it has now become a tool opened to, not only some pioneers, but an asset of the largest industrial companies,” said Sculpteo CEO Clément Moreau. “Obtaining the ISO 9001-2015 standard is the result of a process that mobilized all of Sculpteo’s skills. It certifies the level of quality and precision of its different 3D printing services, which suit the most demanding manufacturing process of the upper industries.”
Canada-based metal 3D printing company Precision ADM has also announced new certifications this week. The AS9100 Rev D and ISO 9001 – 2015 standards indicate quality in design and manufacturing — very necessary for the work Precision ADM performs in the aerospace industry with both additive and subtractive technologies. The company is not new to the rigors of industry certifications, and continues to build upon a strong reputation for quality.
“Our team continues to prove to be industry leaders. In 2017 we were the first Canadian metal AM service provider to achieve ISO 13485 certification for medical applications, and now in 2018 we are again the first to hold both certifications for medical and aerospace,” said Martin Petrak, Chief Executive Officer, Precision ADM. “We are proud of our team’s accomplishment in reaching this significant milestone and are excited to work under these quality systems with our aerospace and defense customers.”
Two manufacturers of popular desktop 3D printing systems have announced new executives, eyeing expansions of global business opportunities in the coming year.
US-based Aleph Objects, which offers the LulzBot line of extrusion-based 3D printers, is shaking operations up from within. Internal shuffling sees Aleph Objects President Grant Flaharty add the title of CEO to his existing role, while company veteran Steven Abadie, a previous CEO, assumes the role of CTO. Flaharty brings more than two decades of experience as an executive and says he seeks to lead changes that will “drive significant growth as we rapidly expand our products, our reseller network, and our social presence into global markets,” adding that in 2019 the team is “anticipating a record-breaking year with a larger percentage of business being received from outside the US.” Abadie, with the company since its 2011 beginnings, is turning to the tech side and looking “to make a strong statement with new product offerings” in 2019.
“Additive manufacturing technology just keeps expanding at a mind-blowing rate,” said Jeff Moe, Aleph Objects, Inc. Founder. “The internal re-alignment of the company will ultimately serve to maintain a stronger focus on new product introduction going into this period of massive growth.”
Also looking to grow international opportunity is Formlabs, which is eyeing the Asia Pacific with its new executive and expanded regional operations. David Tan is joining the team as the new General Manager of APAC as Formlabs APAC opens a new warehouse in Shenzhen, China and plans the opening of a new APAC HQ in Singapore — all while planning to double the APAC team within the next calendar year. Active in China since 2015, the US-based company will continue to serve regional customers like CREATIVE BOX from the NISSAN design group, SAP, Toyota, Wacom, and Phillips.
“Formlabs has long set its sights on making 3D printing processes more accessible. Part of this strategy has been completely rethinking 3D printing technologies from the ground up,” said Max Lobovsky, co-founder and CEO of Formlabs. “The second is bringing the technology to market. There is an immense amount of opportunity in Asia Pacific, we’re looking forward to what David and these new locations can do to improve our growing success in the region.”
th the new office space, the company will look to double its headcount by the end of 2019.
Materials Solutions, a Siemens business, opened the doors to its 4,500-plus-square-meter additive manufacturing facility this week in Worcester.
Heralded by a customer and Siemens team grand opening on Wednesday the 12th, a press tour the following day allowed for an on-site look at the capabilities and functionings of the new facility — and thus took the focus of my attention for the week. Across the pond from my native US, the facility was well worth the trip. With 19 currently installed 3D printing systems, and room for eventually 50 machines, the printer farm showcases and is a strong testament to the team’s expertise in powder bed additive manufacturing.
Executives on-site were clear that there’s so much more to additive manufacturing than “just” 3D printing, and the tour included looks into the site’s dedicated areas for post-processing, quality inspection, reverse engineering, and even virtual reality for realistic simulation. The end-to-end process of digital manufacturing requires many steps and a dedicated team. Materials Solutions maintains a longstanding relationship with EOS, and the site is now a pilot customer for the new EOS M 300-4, introduced earlier this year at IMTS.
Siemens is both a user of and service provider for additive manufacturing, the team explained on-site, as the company remains dedicated to the industrialization of the technology. Today’s realities include the acknowledgment that there’s more to 3D printing than pressing print, and while visions for an automated future are firmly in focus, some of the strongest tools in the additive toolbox remain personal. A hammer and chisel remain some of the most important tools for, say, support removal, even as advanced solutions validate quality of finished parts. Siemens is taking a dedicated, collaborative approach working throughout its internal branches and happily co-creating with customers toward next-generation solutions.
MakerBot’s new Method debuted this week, as did the new A2200 from nano3Dprint.
All3DP was on-site in Brooklyn for the unveiling of the new MakerBot Method, the desktop mainstay’s foray into a new segment. With this professional 3D printer, MakerBot seeks to bring its expertise in accessibility together with patented FDM technologies from parent company Stratasys. The launch marks a new chapter for MakerBot as the company looks to stay relevant with the expanding desktop 3D printing space. Dual extrusion, an especially sturdy all-metal frame, and a circulating heated chamber bring new levels of quality to this easy-to-use machine.
A new 3D printer from nano3Dprint is entering the electronics arena. The A2200 multi-material electronics 3D printer allows for the fabrication of 3D devices with embedded circuitry — think wires, circuits, PCBs. The company, a NASA spin-off, also announced a partnership with Simplify3D for bundled software. The A2200 will be joined soon by nano3Dprint’s second introduction, the also snappily-named D4200, described as “an SPM based 3D printer…with all of the multimaterials and PE capabilities of the A2200 with ultra high resolution” that “is capable of printing features as small as one billionth of a meter.”
Directed energy deposition (DED) is well known as a suitable technology to repair metal parts, and a new acquisition has this in focus for energy.
Optomec announced the acquisition of Huffman, adding the depth of the South Carolina-based company’s expertise in gas turbine repair to its new parent’s broad portfolio. Huffman, which has equipment and software offerings in production “at virtually all major manufacturers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines,” notes the announcement, has developed significant experience in repairing worn parts. While on-demand spare parts manufacture is increasingly a selling point for additive manufacturing technologies, repairing existing parts can cut costs even further, not necessitating the production of full components. This acquisition in particular targets aerospace and energy, where gas turbines see significant use. Terms were not disclosed. Industry participants, such as the team at GE Power, have much to celebrate with the business move:
“Optomec and Huffman joining forces is exciting news in the additive manufacturing space. Having used products from both companies, I know the complementary strengths of their portfolios and the value they provide to aerospace, defense, and power generation customers. Optomec’s innovative and affordable solutions in this space, combined with the robust, production-friendly equipment and intuitive user interfaces provided by Huffman are sure to enable new leaps in free-form additive manufacturing for repairs, new part build, and hybrid manufacturing,” said Christopher E. Thompson, General Manager, Product Service, GE Power.
The launch of the ADAPT consortium, a new cooperative agreement, and a new C-level executive showcase growth in the 3D printing industry from a business perspective.
The new MIT Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies (ADAPT) is an industry-facing consortium bringing together academia and business to advance the future of additive manufacturing and other bleeding-edge technologies. With members-only events and a focus on education for student and professional learners, ADAPT is looking ahead in innovation. Officially launched this week, exploratory research projects and other initiatives are set to begin soon. Founding members include ArcelorMittal, Autodesk, BigRep, Dentsply Sirona, EOS, Formlabs, General Motors, Mimaki Engineering, Protolabs, Renishaw, Robert Bosch, and Volkswagen. They celebrated their partnership at the recent formnext.
“AM —and the path toward a responsive, digital manufacturing infrastructure both within and between organizations—requires multidisciplinary expertise at the cutting edge of mechanical engineering, computer science, materials, and other fields. I am thrilled to launch ADAPT to accelerate MIT’s efforts toward enabling a next generation of production technologies, wherein AM is a cornerstone,” said ADAPT Founder and Director, and MIT Professor, A. John Hart.
Another collaboration shaping up at formnext was in the form of a Letter of Intent (LOI) signed between The Barnes Group Advisors (TBGA) and APWORKS. TBGA will be working with APWORKS to provide technical marketing and application development support through its Technical Excellence Research Model for additive manufacturing business opportunities. Access to this expertise will aid APWORKS in its expansion — and focus on additive manufacturing in serial production.
“After gaining a degree of awareness in the AM environment in Europe, our customers in the North American region now want to draw on our know-how. We value strong partnerships, and we believe that by pooling our activities with The Barnes Group Advisors we can rapidly implement our North American expansion strategy,” Joachim Zettler, Managing Director, APWORKS, said of the LOI.
Another expansion is more in-house as Carbon welcomes its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. Dara Treseder brings great experience as the CEO of GE Ventures and GE Business Innovations, as well as having led marketing operations at Apple and Goldman Sachs. Her work has drawn attention, with Treseder appearing on lists including CMO Next, Women to Watch, and 30 Inspirational Women to Watch in Tech. As Carbon continues to drive forward in innovation, gaining ground as digital manufacturing sees growing adoption, Treseder is tasked with showcasing Carbon’s compelling story.
“I am deeply inspired by Carbon’s vision and values and excited to be part of a trailblazing team that is redefining digital manufacturing and creating the industry’s future. As chief marketing officer, I am looking forward to advancing Carbon’s brand, strengthening our customer connections, and rapidly scaling our global growth,” Treseder said of her appointment.
Two new plants — one focused on materials, one on advanced manufacturing — and a massive new 3D printer are showing big things for the future of 3D printing.
In Rayong Thailand, Total Corbion PLA (a JV between Total and Corbion) has opened its PLA bioplastics plant, set to produce 75,000 tons of polylactic acid annually. While it isn’t a facility dedicated to additive manufacturing, 3D printing is firmly in the wheelhouse of addressable applications for the Luminy PLA portfolio. Luminy PLA products to be produced at the Rayong plant will range from standard to high-heat materials and PDLA, all sourced from local sugarcane and with product lifecycle in mind via “environmentally-friendly waste solutions.”
Ford’s new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will not only 3D print brackets for the Shelby Mustang GT500’s brakes, it represents a major step forward for additive manufacturing as part of the automotive giant’s production. Ford has been invested in 3D printing since 1988, when the company purchased the third 3D printer ever produced; today, the company runs 90 3D printers worldwide. The new facility houses 23 machines and showcases partnerships with 10 companies in the 3D printing industry, Carbon, Desktop Metal, EOS, and ExOne among them. Different technologies fit different applications throughout the development and production process for Ford’s vehicles, and the new center sees installations of 3D printers among other advanced equipment such as augmented and virtual reality setups and collaborative robots (cobots).
Reportedly the “world’s largest 3D printer,” the patent-pending Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS) made its debut this week. New York-based S-Squared 3D Printers Inc. introduced the system, designed for construction 3D printing, to ‘change the way the world is built.’ S-Squared says the ARCS can work on projects from 500 square feet to more than one million square feet in size, building “everything from homes and commercial buildings, to infrastructures such as roads and bridges.”
Researchers are putting 3D printing to good use, with new biosensors and microprinting representing interesting springboards for future work.
Washington State University researchers led by Arda Gozen and Yuehe Lin in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering have developed a 3D printed glucose biosensor. With diabetes impacting millions worldwide, sensors to read glucose levels in blood from finger pricks are relatively common. “Wearable, flexible electronics that can conform to patients’ skin and monitor the glucose in body fluids, such as sweat,” as WSU describes, offer a high-tech alternative. Direct ink writing technology allowed WSU researchers to print precise, tiny, electrically conductive components for flexible electrodes. Wearable, potentially fully personalized sensors may one day supplant the dreaded, ubiquitous finger prick for glucose monitoring.
Bioprinting takes a step forward with a newly formed partnership between CELLINK and Prellis Biologics geared toward commercializing “high-resolution holographic bioprinting technology for micro-printing.” Ultra-high-resolution bioprinting for microstructures based on IP and expertise from both partners can be put to use in vascular networks, capillaries, and other complex, small biological systems. The ambitious partnership is targeting early 2019 for commercialization of the first system, the CELLINK Holograph-X Bioprinter – Powered by Prellis Biologics and with a $1.2M price tag.
“We are excited to announce this partnership where we combine key strengths of our two companies resulting in cutting edge technology to our partners and customers empowering them to advance their research in the field of 3D-bioprinting of human organs,” said CELLINK Erik Gatenholm.
License: The text of "3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – Jan 14, 2018)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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