This week in 3D printing, we’re seeing a lot more shaping up – literally. Software releases and services start us off well, as we move into an expanded consulting offer from the experts as well as expert introductions for investors interested in additive manufacturing. A new metal on the market rounds out this week’s top headlines.
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.”
Airwolf3D has introduced its newest 3D printer, the EVO R.
The system is the latest introduction to the EVO line of 3D printers. Smaller than its predecessors, though still with a generous build volume, this new machine is targeted at education.
The made-in-the-US EVO R 3D printer is designed for safety and ease of use, including a 7” color touchscreen, HEPA/active carbon filter, auto-leveling functionality, and more — all with the high-temperature offerings of the EVO and EVO 22 3D printers. The EVO R includes complimentary training for educators, and Airwolf additionally offers a free curriculum to guide its use in the classroom. EVO R offers a 12” x 8.75” x 9” build envelope; pricing starts at $4,995.
“Professionals want an affordable, multi-material, dual extrusion 3D printer they can depend on. The EVO R is the answer, embodying nearly all the premium EVO and EVO 22 features in an affordable package made right here in California. Our vision is to have Airwolf printers in more than half the educational institutions in The United States. To meet this goal, we streamlined the EVO R for domestic mass production,” explained Airwolf 3D Co-Founder and CEO Erick Wolf.
Prusa has introduced a new filament.
When Prusa introduced its in-house filament line, Prusament, last year, the company began with PLA, following soon after with PET. Expanding this in-house produced line of filament is the new higher-strength ASA Prusament.
Rather than going the more standard ABS route, the company chose ASA to offer comparable qualities “with fewer cons.” Among those avoided negatives is ASA’s superior UV stability and ability to process with acetone, along with high-temperature resistance. These qualities allow for ASA 3D prints to stand up to tougher environmental conditions, including outdoors in the elements.
Prusament ASA’s print quality was designed to be similar to the company’s PLA, enabling highly detailed prints. The higher density of this new material sees Prusament spools (priced around $30) guaranteed at 850g minimal weight, rather than the more common 1kg — they explain of the density that “for ASA, this value is 1.07 g/cm3, however, for PLA and PETG it’s 1.25 g/cm3. This means that the volume of material on ASA, PLA and PETG spools is the same. In other words, you can print the same number of objects from a 1kg spool of PLA/PETG as from a 850 g ASA spool.”
Because demand was based on specific applications, Prusa chose to start their ASA Prusament offering with four colors:
“ASA can be considered a true successor to ABS. Compared to ABS, it’s UV stable, it doesn’t suffer from shrinking so badly and the fumes produced are much less noticeable. ASA 3D prints are durable, tough and suitable for a wide range of applications. The glass transition temperature is also higher compared to PLA and PETG, which gives objects printed from ASA an excellent temperature resistance – there are no signs of deformation up to temperatures near 93 °C. Thanks to all these properties, ASA is especially suitable to print objects meant for long-time outside use,” Prusa’s Ondřej Stříteský explains.
3D Hubs has hired a new Managing Director for its US operations — a name that may be familiar to those deep in the 3D printing industry.
The Dutch company has named Robert Schouwenburg as its new Managing Director USA. 3D Hubs has been focusing on its business strategies, including expansion in the US. They recently announced Chicago’s mHUB location as the new US HQ, and this is where Schouwenburg will be focusing his operations.
Schouwenburg’s focus has included work in 3D printing — including as a Shapeways co-founder — as well as manufacturing, high-tech communication equipment, product development, and internet services. His most recent position was as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at RGAx. He will be part of the efforts, building from 3D Hubs’ recent Series C funding round, to double its US-based team. The US is the company’s fastest-growing market, as 3D Hubs continues to work to appeal to a larger professional community.
“One of the things I learned early on is that 3D printing is only going to be a partial solution for manufacturing,” says Schouwenburg, “but more traditional technologies like CNC Machining and Injection Molding, are key to growing digital manufacturing and bringing the next phase of the industry to life. We’re at the start of ‘industry 4.0’, an era when automation and data exchange will accelerate manufacturing technologies, and 3D Hubs is uniquely positioned to become a leader in this upcoming industrial revolution.”
Nexa3D has announced its permanent CEO as well as an executive promotion.
The high-speed SLA 3D printer producer has announced new executive decisions from its Board of Directors. Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Avi Rechental is now also the company’s permanent Chief Executive Officer, while the new Chief Operating Officer is Izhar Medalsy, formerly Nexa3D’s Chief Product Officer. The appointments are not surprising to those familiar with the company or its operations, especially its place in the XponentialWorks portfolio. Reichental is also the Founder and CEO of XponentialWorks, working closely with all the companies under the umbrella — and now even closer with Nexa3D in particular as he steps up to head executive operations. Medalsy, who has been the company’s CPO since 2017, has led the development of the now-on-the-market NXE400 3D printer.
“We are grateful to our board for their continued confidence in us and look forward to delivering a significant upgrade to the tens of thousands of older legacy stereolithography users,” said Reichental and Medalsy in a joint statement. “3D printing is an unstoppable force of change and it’s our privilege to work together with the entire awesome Nexa3D team to bring ultrafast 3D printing to market as the ultimate productivity tool for designers and manufacturers.”
A new certification indicates Rapid Application Group’s commitment to quality manufacturing.
The Oklahoma-based business says that it is the first service-disabled veteran-owned small business in North America to certified to the AS9100 Rev. D quality management standard. Rapid Application Group (RAG), established in 2017, also claims to be the only Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, HUBZone, AS9100/ISO9001, ITAR registered full production additive manufacturing company in the US.
The company offers 3D printing services for plastic, metal prototype, and production parts, working for customers including those in aerospace and defense, oil and gas, motorsports, and medical applications. The new certification is geared toward the Aerospace, Space and Defense (AS&D) quality standards. Attaining such certifications is critical to service providers seeking to work with customers in highly-regulated industries — such as those RAG serves in its vision of “Mission Critical Additive Manufacturing.”
“Adding AS9100 certification is a natural and required progression, given our strong presence as an additive manufacturing service provider in the military aerospace and defense markets,” said Terry Hill, Founder and CEO of Rapid Application Group. “AS9100 was a mission-critical achievement for RAG as it demonstrates our commitment to quality to all our customers but is especially important for our clients in the Aerospace and Defense verticals. To do that, we needed to meet the stringent certification requirements of AS9100D / ISO9001. We are the go-to leader in the Oklahoma aerospace and defense additive manufacturing market and this certification is a mark of our commitment.“
On-demand manufacturing platform Xometry has expanded its 3D printing offerings.
This week, Xometry announced the addition of Carbon’s DLS 3D printing technology to its platform. Now along with established offerings — including MJF, SLS, SLA, PolyJet, FDM, and DMLS 3D printing as well as CNC Machining, Sheet Metal Fabrication, Injection Molding, Die Casting, Stamping, Extrusion, and Urethane Casting — Xometry’s customers can use the platform’s Instant Quoting Engine to quickly begin work using Digital Light Synthesis. The move is thanks in large part to the recent investment round that sees Xometry able to increase its own investment into manufacturing processes and is a direct response to customer demand. Xometry offers manufacturing services through a 3,000-plus-strong network of manufacturing partners. General purpose, high performance, and elastomeric materials are available now to manufacture parts via DLS.
“We are very excited to add Carbon’s cutting-edge DLS technology to Xometry’s capabilities,” said Bill Cronin, Xometry’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Our additive customers have been asking us for it due to its reputation for speed and quality.“
High-speed SLA 3D printer manufacturer Nexa3D has announced its latest reseller agreement.
The California-based company will extend its reach in Europe via a new partnership with Disc Direct. With efforts now targeting Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, this relationship is a fast follow-up to UK- and North America-focused distribution agreements announced recently. The company characterizes its go-to-market strategy as “aggressive” and that seems the appropriate word choice, with so many recently announced market partners.
The high-speed NXE400 SLA 3D printer is at the heart of these announcements, as Nexa3D says the system is automation-ready and can “print at up to 6 times the speed and 2.5 times the build volume of all other comparable products.” Disc Direct is a value-added reseller offering service and support and works frequently with “major German industrial clients, notably in the automotive sector” to supply 3D printers through its ProductionToGo subsidiary.
“Nexa3D’s products are an excellent fit for our client base owing to their speed, precision, scalability and automation – all of which offer significant competitive advantages,” said Maximilian Neck, Head of 3D Printing, Disc Direct. “We believe that the company, their vision for the future, their talented team, and their focus on quality and customer support not only make Nexa3D a complement to our strategy of providing the best 3D printing solutions on the market, but also make the company an essential part of our strategy for the future.“
BigRep has announced the loss of its founder and former CEO.
René Gurka founded BigRep, ‘energizing’ the company “as a global brand from its foundation.” He served until fairly recently as the CEO, often bringing great energy to shows as he and the BigRep team showcased the capabilities of an early player in true large-format 3D printing. Gurka guided the team with “excitement, warmth, quick-witted humor and charisma” and will be fondly remembered by many. Gurka, born in 1971, had a major impact on the company he created and will have a lasting impact on the industry. BigRep shared the news this week of Gurka’s passing, including open comments for condolences.
“We cannot imagine what BigRep and all our daily lives would look like without René’s influence on the company and its employees. There are no words that can properly convey the incredible impact and inspiration that René had on the spaces he lived his life and his lasting influence on those around the world who were blessed to know him and remain dedicated to his ideas,” the team’s heartfelt in memoriam details. “Our thoughts are with René’s family. We are committed to fulfilling his vision for BigRep.”
3D Systems, Materialise, and ExOne have reported their second-quarter results for 2019.
3D Systems’ Q2 results are unfortunate. The company saw revenues of $157.3 million for the quarter — down 11% from Q2 2019, when revenues were $176.6 million. While unit sales of 3D printers were up notably — 46.4% higher than in Q2 2018, in fact — the revenues from these sales dropped 27.4% over the same period, reflecting “timing of large enterprise customer orders and the softer macro industrial environment.”
A bright spot lay in healthcare solutions, where revenues were up 11.4% over this quarter last year, while drops in materials revenue (8.5%), on-demand services (12.4%), and software (0.5%) showed more areas of loss. More specifics can be seen in the Q2 webcast presentation PowerPoint (pdf).
“We continue to see strength in customer demand for our core and new products and solutions, but as expected, year over year revenue growth was impacted by ordering patterns of a large enterprise customer, the delay in shipping Factory metals systems as we complete technical enhancements and weaker macro-economic conditions in some areas of our market,” commented Vyomesh Joshi (“VJ”), president and chief executive officer, 3D Systems. “We remain confident in our broad portfolio of additive capabilities, workflow solutions and overall market opportunities; and we remain keenly focused on executing on our strategy, reducing costs and driving long-term profitable growth.”
In addition to VJ’s comments, 3D Systems is putting a bright face on this week through an announcement with an expanded partnership with GF Machining Solutions. The metal-focused relationship focuses on the Greater China region, including Taiwan.
Belgium-based Materialise has also shared its Q2 2019 results, reflecting revenue gains. Highlights include:
Executive Chairman Peter Leys commented, “In spite of a macro-economic environment that continues to be challenging, Materialise reported another quarter of top-line growth.” Driven mainly by Materialise Medical, the Materialise Manufacturing also grew its revenues for the third consecutive quarter while sales pushed to the latter half of the year resulted in Materialise Software performing below expectations.
Leys continues, “Our outlook for 2019 remains within our previous guidance range, with our results now including expected contributions from our August acquisition of a 75% stake in Engimplan. This investment, which will enable us to introduce the benefits of Materialise’s patient-specific 3D printing implants and expertise to the fast-growing Brazil market, is part of our strategy to accelerate our growing presence in the additive manufacturing ecosystem through carefully selected acquisitions and partnerships.”
The ExOne also saw overall favorable Q2 2019 results. 3D Printing Machines now make up the larger, and much faster growing, product line for revenues, as compared to 3D Printed and Other Products, Materials and Services. 3D printer sales accounted for all growth this quarter, up 187% from Q2 2018 and bringing total revenues up 41% from that period. Highlights include:
John Hartner, ExOne’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased with the significant progress we are making – from a technological, commercial and financial standpoint. We reached a milestone for ExOne this quarter, reporting record-setting second-quarter revenue and gross profit levels, in spite of recent unfavorable macroeconomic factors. As we reflect on our trailing twelve month (TTM) financial performance through the 2019 second quarter, we achieved record-setting levels for several metrics during our history as a public company – including revenue of $66.7 million and nearing breakeven Adjusted EBITDA. Those metrics represent significant improvement over the year-ago TTM revenue of $58.8 million, net loss of $21.2 million, and Adjusted EBITDA loss of $13.6 million, reflecting the success of our operating model changes initiated a year ago.“
Things are heating up for metal 3D printing in the latest filed legal claim.
It’s been a few weeks since the latest major lawsuit filed among big names in 3D printing, so perhaps it’s about time for another one (?). This one brings with it a strong sense of Déjà vu — and for good reason. We’ve seen it before.
Boston metal 3D printing giants find themselves in the courts again as Markforged files a new claim against Desktop Metal. I read the full court documents, sent over from Markforged’s legal team, and they’re — they’re sure something. Essentially accusing Desktop Metal of behaving “like proverbial schoolyard bullies,” Markforged is looking for apologies and financial recompense.
In the October 2018 settlement from the first round of lawsuits, Desktop Metal agreed to basically play nice in the market. The Markforged Metal X and Desktop Metal Studio System are pretty direct competitors, after all.
The newly filed suit claims that rather than live and let live, though, Desktop Metal included “flagrant falsehoods” regarding the Metal X system in “battle cards” distributed to potentially hundreds of value-added resellers (VARs). These included comparisons of the two systems in question that showed the Metal X to be generally inferior to the Studio System — such as claims that “Markforged’s 3D printers and products are unsafe for an office environment and can start a fire because they use ‘flammable solvents’ and Desktop Metal does not.” The Metal X does not use “flammable solvents” and never has, but insinuating that the office-friendly system is a fire hazard could lead VARs to veer away from working with it.
So Markforged is asking for a jury trial. Desktop Metal asserts its innocence.
MakerBot has introduced its newest 3D printer, focused on manufacturing applications.
The new Method X is a follow-up with more features to the initial Method, introduced at the end of 2018. The same size and build volume as its predecessor, Method X raises temperatures so it can work with fully manufacturing-grade ABS – rather than the often different formulations used in other ABS 3D printing filament. The chamber now reaches 100°C, up from Method’s 60°C, enabling work with the higher-temperature formulation.
The system also leverages more from Stratasys, including its soluble SR-30 support material. The enhanced temperature and performance place Method X in the manufacturing arena, as it is designed to create functional prototypes, jigs and fixtures, and end-use parts in low-volume manufacturing setups.
Method X will start shipping at the end of August, and is available at the previous Method price point of $6499, while the original Method has been reduced to $4999.
“When we initially launched Method, we broke the price-to-performance barrier by delivering a 3D printer that was designed to bridge the technology gap between industrial and desktop 3D printers. This made industrial 3D printing accessible to professionals for the first time. Since then, we have shipped hundreds of printers and received positive feedback from a number of our customers on the precision and reliability of the machine,” said Nadav Goshen, CEO, MakerBot. “With Method X, we are taking a step further to revolutionize manufacturing. Method X was created for engineers who need true ABS for production-ready parts that are dimensionally-accurate with no geometric restrictions. Method X delivers industrial-level 3D printing without compromising on ABS material properties and automation in a new price category.”
Two new investments are encouraging global progress in healthcare 3D printing.
Belgium-based Materialise has invested in Brazil-based Engimplan. The investment is strategic indeed as Materialise is acquiring a 75% stake in the orthopedic and craniomaxillofacial (CMF) implant and instrument manufacturer. 3D imaging and 3D printing are bringing new medical capabilities to hospitals worldwide, and Engimplan has been creating standard and patient-specific devices since its 1992 founding.
The announcement notes that “As part of the transaction, Materialise will gain access to Engimplan’s local production facility; expand Engimplan’s portfolio with its 3D printed implants and expertise; and enter the company’s existing partner and distribution network in Brazil.” Through the new relationship with Materialise, Engimplan gains access to Materialise’s expertise and portfolio in advanced medical technologies, bringing more global know-how to local care.
“This investment by Materialise sends a strong signal to our customers and the industry that we remain committed to developing our innovative solutions that improve the lives of many people, and that we have the confidence and support of a pioneer and global leader in 3D printing”, says José Tadeu Leme, CEO of Engimplan. “Together, we can introduce new levels of innovation in the development of personalized implants in Brazil.”
On the bioprinting side, Prellis Biologics has announced an $8.7 million Series A investment round, bringing total investment in the San Francisco-based company up to $10.5M. Khosla Ventures led the round, working with original seed round investors including True Ventures and Indio Bio.
Prellis is working to create implantable and research tissue and organs with its holographic 3D printing technology. The investment announcement follows several milestone achievements in Prellis’ work, including the first positive results for animal transplantation of Vascular Tissue Blanks, the company’s 3D tissue scaffolds.
“The holy grail of human tissue engineering is the ability to build complex tissues with working vascular systems,” said Dr. Melanie Matheu, Prellis Biologics’ co-founder and CEO. “The future of regenerative medicine revolves around harnessing the power of our own cells as therapeutics and building the tissues to keep them alive. Khosla Ventures is the perfect investor to support our merging of deep tech and cutting-edge regenerative medicine. With this technology in hand, we can begin to ask questions about real 3D cell biology that have never been asked before.”
Financial results for the second quarter of 2019 continue to roll in.
Stratasys released its Q2 results on the last day of July. The summary notes:
“Our second-quarter results reflect continued strong performance in the Americas, where we saw revenue growth across systems, consumables, and services, which was offset mainly by significant economic weakness in Europe that we believe is impacting capital investments and general spending in the automotive and industrial machinery markets in that region, as well as by the adverse impact of foreign exchange rates in Europe and Asia Pacific,” said Elchanan (Elan) Jaglom, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Stratasys. “We believe that we are well positioned to return to growth in Europe when macro conditions improve, and our new products and platforms are launched and adopted in the market. Additionally, despite relatively flat revenue growth after excluding divestments, we are pleased that our emphasis on operational efficiency delivered earnings and profitability while we continue to invest in new products and strengthen our R&D efforts to expand our addressable markets.”
Arkema, not a dedicated 3D printing company, has released its second-quarter results with several notes touching on 3D printing material operations and performance.
The overall company summary notes:
“In the second quarter, Arkema continued to demonstrate its resilience in an environment which remains volatile and complex, marked by the weakness of certain end-markets. Our performance, close to the record highs of last year, was driven in particular by the very solid performance of our specialty businesses supported by our teams’ excellent work on prices and margins, allowing us to offset the decline in volumes. Adhesives continued to make notable progress, in line with our strong ambition in this business. Moreover, we continue to generate a high level of cash.
Over the past few months, we also continued to roll out our long-term strategy focused on three pillars, namely organic projects with strong profitability, innovation to support our customers and bolt-on acquisitions generating a high level of synergies. We notably continued to increase the share of specialties in our portfolio of businesses with the acquisitions of ArrMaz, Prochimir and Lambson, which illustrate our capacity to seize opportunities to acquire cutting-edge technologies in attractive and still fragmented markets.
In view of these results and projects dynamic, while remaining attentive to the economic environment, we are confident in our ability to achieve another good year and pursue Arkema’s transformation,” said Chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff.
The acquisition of Lambson, set to close in Q4 2019, includes potential for more impact in Arkema’s overall impact in the 3D printing market.
Nano Dimension has launched its new DragonFly LDM system.
Two weeks after the rough news of underperforming financial results that brought along strategic rethinking and a 20% staff reduction (see below), Nano Dimension is delivering on the silver lining it promised: a new 3D printer. This week the Israel-based company has introduced the new DragonFly LDM (Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing) system along with its first customer.
Available as a new system or an upgrade to the DragonFly Pro, the new LDM system is designed for continuous, 24/7 operation to keep the production of electronics like antennas and PCBs going. The initial installation is in Munich, with sensor and defense electronics provider Hensoldt.
For its part, Hensoldt has been familiar with Nano Dimension’s technology for some years now, having worked with a DragonFly system since 2016. The company helped Nano Dimension test the new LDM system for functionality and comparison, finding an advantage in up to 40% higher printing time. The DragonFly LDM is available now.
“The DragonFly LDM is a necessary evolutionary setup up from the DragonFly Pro, enabling low-volume manufacturing of electronic circuits fast and easy to do in-house, with minimal operator time. It will be a great addition for Hensoldt, enabling us to develop innovative applications faster and with far better machine availability and lower maintenance than ever before,” said Andreas Salomon, responsible project leader for 3D printed electronics at Hensoldt.
BASF has introduced a new stainless steel filament suitable for FFF 3D printers.
Known for industrial-quality materials, BASF has introduced its latest foray in the 3D printing materials space with Ultrafuse 316L. Bringing metal 3D printing to effectively any desktop FFF 3D printer, the material infuses stainless steel 316L particles in a polymer. The material has a metal content in the upper 90% range, and after debinding and sintering yields high-strength metal parts.
The polymer binder allows for extrusion to work, with post-processing needed to reveal the final part qualities of a metal part. This means that while the filament is compatible with desktop 3D printers, it is not necessarily recommended for anyone — a catalytic debinding process and furnace sintering are still required. Initial availability is through MatterHackers, Ultimaker, and iGo3D.
“Ultrafuse 316L can, under certain conditions, be processed on any conventional, open-material FFF printer,” explains François Minec, Managing Director, BASF 3D Printing Solutions. “Our goal was to develop a high-quality metal filament that makes the additive manufacturing of metal parts considerably easier, cheaper, faster, and accessible to everyone.“
The newest electric vehicle on the market will feature 60+ 3D printed parts.
Last month, Netherlands-based Lightyear introduced its new prototype long-range solar car, the Lightyear One. It has now revealed that fellow Dutch company DiManEx is involved in 3D printing dozens of parts for the advanced vehicle’s interior.
Conversations between the two companies began in March, with the parts created and installed ahead of the prototype car’s big reveal on 25 June. The Lightyear One is an electric car that incorporates advanced solar powers to allow even partial sunlight to help keep the car charged while being driven; it’s set to fully hit the market in production next year.
DiManEx operates an extensive network of manufacturing partners and leveraged these capabilities to turn parts around in 4-10 days, with some parts requiring several iterations before final designs were settled.
“Additive Manufacturing allows you to do a lot of iterations and get parts fast,” DiManEx COO Henk Jonker explains. “We are able to transform the supply chain for companies like Lightyear. We provide what they need much faster without minimum order quantities and allowing for last-minute changes on the fly. There is no investment in tooling or tied up working capital required. It’s a no-hassle solution that results in less waste, which is completely in line with the philosophy of both our companies.”
Investments and a grant are seeing funding pour into 3D printing operations.
UK-based axial3D is focused on medical 3D printing, specializing in patient-specific anatomical models. This week, the company announced a $3 million funding round that will grow its Belfast HQ and see it expand into the US.
Imprimatur Capital Fund Management led the round, with participation as well from “a US investment consortium consisting of a number of surgical angel investors” as well as existing investors Techstart Ventures, Clarendon Fund Managers, and Innovation Ulster. The expansions planned include additional personnel for a new US office as well as more positions being created in Belfast.
“The closure of this investment round marks an important milestone for our company. It will accelerate our growth within our expanding markets and enable us to bring our 3D printing solution to more healthcare organizations, helping them to drive down costs, improve compliance and ultimately, enhance patient care,” said axial3D CEO Daniel Crawford. As the company’s team grows, so too, it hopes, will its proficiency in the area of machine learning — a technological innovation that will assist it in expanding 3D printing on-demand in the healthcare sector.
Machine learning is also in focus for 3YOURMIND, which has announced €1.3 million in Pro FIT funding awarded by the investment bank of Berlin and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 3YOURMIND is set to extend machine learning applications throughout its software suite, which focuses on identifying parts suitable for manufacturing via 3D printing. The company’s AM Part Identifier is designed to do just that, and more advanced algorithmic capabilities will see such qualifications advance.
“3YOURMIND is developing the software infrastructure to a level of automation we call agile manufacturing; the ability to quickly and accurately adapt production to customer needs and company resources,” said Stephan Kühr, CEO, 3YOURMIND.
A grant aimed at developing advanced 3D printing technology will see Defense Innovation Lab, Inc. (DiLab) and R3 Printing work together. The Manufacturing Technology Assistance grant from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) is focusing in this instance on 3D printing for the defense and government market. DiLab and R3 Printing are teaming up in their work with RIT for R&D work, looking to the high-speed plastic and composite R3 3D printer designed for commercial manufacturing and defense logistics.
“We are incredibly excited to work with the AMPrint Center for the development of the R3 Printer. As an organization, DiLab’s true north is providing support to early-stage technology companies who are developing technology with a strong defense industry use case,” said Tommy Hendrix of the DiLab. “Empire State Development has a great team, and we’re honored to work with them and their network in helping New York defense startups.“
On-demand manufacturer Protolabs has announced its latest financial results.
The company’s second-quarter 2019 financials show a rise in revenue to $115.9 million. Highlights include:
“Protolabs grew 5.7% in the quarter despite currency headwinds, softness in automotive and industrial markets, and the challenge of transforming our newly acquired RAPID business to Protolabs’ business model,” said John Way, Chief Financial Officer. “We continue to focus on delighting our customers, driving sequential improvement in our business, and generating strong cash flows to allow us to continue to invest in future growth.”
Full results and discussion are available here.
A recently filed lawsuit calls high-speed 3D printing into question.
As first reported by the Tampa Bay Times this week, at the end of June Florida-based Jabil filed a lawsuit against Texas-based Essentium alleging several severe counts of misconduct. The claim reports 52 counts against Essentium Inc., Essentium Materials LLC, and four individuals, three currently employed by Essentium and one previously so, all billed as co-founders of Essentium Inc. – and all with previous employment/contracting ties to Jabil.
At the heart of the dispute is the claim that these four individuals were all involved with a stealth project at Jabil to enhance FFF 3D printing. The project, “TenX”, proposed to 3D print ten times faster than existing solutions. Over the course of time, these individuals separated from Jabil and developed relationships at Essentium, which has risen to prominence from a start in 3D printing materials to its now market-ready HSE (high-speed extrusion) system — that can 3D print “10X faster” according to many of their marketing pieces. Jabil is ultimately seeking a jury trial and significant financial recompense for damages done as they still seek to bring their TenX system to market, noting:
“While Jabil has improved the TenX since Defendants absconded with Jabil’s trade secrets and other confidential information such that the current version of the TenX platform is technically superior to the HSE platform, Essentium nevertheless marketed its stolen HSE platform to the general public before Jabil unveiled TenX. Doing so with an inferior product not only unjustly enriched Defendants but also interfered with Jabil’s ability to monetize the TenX program and risked damaging Jabil’s reputation by marketing essentially an outdated iteration of Jabil’s TenX.”
Neither company is currently talking to press, understandably, but Essentium’s Chairman of the Board, Steve Birdwell, recently issued a statement disputing the allegations and stating that:
“Jabil has filed a lawsuit against Essentium and four of our co-founders. This action is entirely without merit, and we are responding to it aggressively. Our corporate values are based around trust, service, transparency, and innovation. We have never detracted from these values.
Since our inception, Essentium has been disrupting traditional manufacturing processes. Together with our customers, partners, and our own supply chain, we are transforming the future of industrial-scale manufacturing. Together we are breaking down barriers of scale, strength, and economics in additive manufacturing.”
A Series A funding round and new facilities indicate ongoing and deepening interest in a variety of 3D printing technologies.
Fortify has announced a $10 million Series A funding round. The company, which is known for its high-strength composite 3D printing Fluxprint process and its Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) platform, has shared that the round was led by Accel, with Neotribe, Prelude Ventures, and Mainspring Capital Partners participating. Fluxprint brings together DLP 3D printing with magnetics to create precisely oriented fibers for reinforced parts — finely tuned for each specific application. Development of materials has taken place already with high-profile partners like DSM and BASF on the Fortify Fiber Platform. Ongoing development based on the new funding round is set to see the team — which has already doubled over the last year — expand more, as the Boston-based company additionally moves to new facilities for expanded floor space. A new Discovery Partners Program is set to launch, allowing for early access to the DCM platform as the beta approaches.
“We’ve achieved so much since our founding, and we’re eager to expand on our platform capabilities,” said Josh Martin, CEO and founder of Fortify. “With the support of our investors, we will focus on innovation, bring our technology to new partners, and grow our product offerings.”
Also expanding is Ventura, California-based venture investment, corporate advisory and product development company XponentialWorks. The company, spearheaded by the iconic Avi Reichental, includes a strong umbrella working with such companies as NXT Factory, Nexa3D, and Apollo Robotics. I recently appreciated the opportunity to visit the company’s site in Ventura, including an early look into the new expansion that has since finished construction and opened for business. Its expanded Innovation Labs and new manufacturing facility are doubling XponentialWorks’ floor space. The expansion is planned to create more than 100 new jobs over the next 12 months. Products such as Nexa3D’s NXE 400 3D printer are now shipping as the partners involved move their technologies to the market, with help from centralized expertise. This is not the first expansion in Ventura — indeed, this is the third over the last two years alone — as XponentialWorks already covers several areas of a busy business park.
“Our ongoing growth and expansion validates our initial site selection in Ventura and reflects the growing needs of our portfolio companies and the resilience and endurance of our unique business model,” said Reichental. “Each of our portfolio companies now has greater resources to develop, manufacture and scale their commercialization efforts and more importantly, more opportunity to collaborate and collide with other startups and mature companies that together are developing game-changing solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.”
St. John’s University in Queens, New York has opened NYC’s first MakerBot Innovation Center. More than 20 MakerBot 3D printers are allowing students increased access at St. John’s University Technology Commons, with the Innovation Center co-located with other advanced technologies including a new e-sports environment and VR pods. When MakerBot shifted focus a few years ago to the professional and educational markets, they meant it, and on-campus Innovation Centers like this highlight the importance of learning to the 3D printing ecosystem. At St. John’s University, courses in Art & Design, Marketing, Foreign Language, Education, and Physiology incorporate 3D printing into their curricula, now more hands-on with this campus access.
“Before the introduction of 3D modeling in Art 1090 Jewelry design, student designs were limited by the physical properties of the materials used. With the introduction of 3D printing, the students’ creative potential has been greatly enhanced,” said Ross Barbera, Associate Professor, Art and Design, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St. John’s University. “Modeling in TinkerCad and Fusion 360, then printing at the Innovation Center with MakerBot printers, provides students with powerful tools enabling them to exercise their creative imaginations to the fullest. With these new technological tools, students are now exploring design possibilities not possible with traditional materials and methods, are limited only to the extent that they can imagine.”
A new 3D printed building is drawing attention for the speed of its construction.
As with any 3D printed construction story, we need to remind readers that the 3D printed components do not account for a completed structure: a finished building, especially a habitable one, requires much more work, including windows, HVAC systems, roofing, plumbing, electrical work, and more. Any stories of speedy construction must then be taken with a grain of salt. That said, Patchogue, New York-based S-Squared 3D Printers has announced its latest 3D printed home, made with the company’s Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS). Details are relatively scarce, but the announcement notes that the 500-square-foot building was 3D printed in “under 12 hours.” That time-friendly building (wall) construction is quite notable, and S-Squared says that its ARCS uses a low-power-consumption technology that “can reduce construction costs by as much as 70%” — and “is up to thirty times faster than traditional construction.”
Several challenges have recently announced winners in competitions designed to challenge designers to use 3D printing and other advanced technologies in viable projects.
The 3D Pioneers Challenge, for which I was proudly a member of the jury this year, held its final judging and announced its winners (pdf) at the end of June at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D. With entries coming from 23 countries on 5 continents, ultimately the 18 members of the jury had to choose among 36 finalists’ entries for the top prizes in eight categories. Winners were selected in the categories of Design, Digital, Architecture, Materials, FashionTech, MedTech, Mobility, and Sustainability. Prizes were valued at more than €40,000, with €35,000 in cash provided by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and the Digital Society and presented by State Secretary Valentina Kerst. Additional prizes included licenses for Autodesk Fusion 360 and NetFabb; The 3D Printing Handbook from 3D Hubs; and for the top student prize, a MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3D printer. Furthermore, a new “Special Mention by Autodesk” saw three projects chosen to participate in the Autodesk Technology Centers Residency program in North America. The top €10,000 cash prize was for MedTech, awarded to the 3D printed heart project from the University of Tel Aviv; all winners and finalists can be seen here.
3DPC organizers Simone and Christoph Völcker summarize the 3D printing trends for 2019: “The latest developments in the three pillars of additive manufacturing technologies – materials, technology and data generation – are reflected in new designs with increasing performance and in the trend towards sustainable projects for people and the environment. 3D printing goes far beyond the technical world. It can no longer be seen only in competition with other manufacturing technologies, but acts as an enabler in the overall context of industrial applications. Additive manufacturing processes is bridging the gap to new business fields. As a hidden champion and problem solver, it also manages to inspire emotion with groundbreaking concepts.”
Another competition for which I was honored to be on the selection jury also announced its winners as this week 3D Hubs unveiled the 2019 Student Grant recipients. Students or recent graduates submitted a wealth of designs in five categories: Product Design, Robotics, Sustainability, Transportation, and Healthcare. Working either individually or as teams, the students’ work had to include some significant use of 3D printing technology — most used FFF 3D printing, while SLA, DMLS, and other technologies also came into play. Each category’s winner will be awarded $1,000 to foster further project development. The three of us on this jury had a tough job ahead to select winners, and votes were tight. Ultimately, winners were selected from the nearly 200 applications that came in from more than 100 educational institutes around the world. All winners and finalists can be seen here.
Filemon Schoffer, Co-Founder and CCO of 3D Hubs, commented: “We are excited to support the efforts of ambitious students who want to turn their projects into reality. Our goal is to give them easy access to state-of-the-art manufacturing, so their ideas are not restricted. The 3D Hubs Student Grant showcases how engineering and design talent will push the industry forward in the years to come.”
Finally, this week SME and Stratasys announced the winners of the 2019 Additive Manufacturing Competition held during the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Three teams at the high school level and three college teams took home awards at the end of the three-day design contest, proving to be best in show of the 47 competing teams. This is the contest’s fifth year, and it has been growing each year; this year that growth included partnering as well with FANUC to develop the challenge. For 2019, students had to design, build, and apply an end-of-arm tool in a simulated manufacturing robotics environment on a full-production sedan assembly line to repeatably (and correctly) place an emblem on a target. The winners received medals, (high school) scholarships from SME Education Foundation, a one-year subscription for Tooling U-SME classes, RAPID + TCT conference passes (for post-secondary level), SOLIDWORKS’ 3D-CAD design software, and a MakerBot Mini 3D printer (for gold medal winners). All winning designs can be seen here.
“Every year the participants in our SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition impress us with how much they know about the technology and how resourcefully they approach the contest challenges,” said Sandra L. Bouckley, FSME, P.Eng., Executive Director and CEO, SME. “Additive manufacturing is an integral part of the future of manufacturing across every industry. We are proud to partner with Stratasys — and this year FANUC — on a contest that encourages students to develop their technical knowledge and hone their creative problem-solving skills — both qualities required for innovating in expanding technology sectors.”
Metal and silicone 3D printing is in focus this week with a plan for a new advanced metal additive manufacturing system as well as market readiness of a silicone 3D printer.
SLA pioneer 3D Systems is diving deeper into metal 3D printing, announcing a $15 million contract with the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as the US Army looks to “create the world’s largest, fastest, most precise metal 3D printer.” The funding goes to both 3D Systems and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), which are partnering with ARL and the Advanced Manufacturing, Materials, and Processes (AMMP) Program (because it’s not a government contract without an appropriate number of acronyms).
The metal 3D printer is intended to come into play for “key supply chains associated with long-range munitions, next-generation combat vehicles, helicopters, and air and missile defense capabilities.” It will be available to aerospace and defense suppliers that work with the Army, and has speed and scale in mind. The announcement notes that the build envelope is intended to be 1000 x 1000 x 600 mm, with a minimum wall thickness of 100µm and layer thickness of 30µm. No word yet on intended materials nor process, though presumably, it will be a powder bed system to fit into 3D Systems’ existing portfolio – though the company notes as well that they may be expanding “new technologies and processes” here as well.
“The Army is increasing readiness by strengthening its relationships and interoperability with business partners, like 3D Systems, who advance warfighter requirements at the best value to the taxpayer,” said Dr. Joseph South, ARL’s program manager for Science of Additive Manufacturing for Next Generation Munitions. “Up until now, powder bed laser 3D printers have been too small, too slow, and too imprecise to produce major ground combat subsystems at scale. Our goal is to tackle this issue head-on with the support of allies and partners who aid the Army in executing security cooperation activities in support of common national interests, and who help enable new capabilities for critical national security supply chains.”
German RepRap’s latest silicone 3D printer is now on the market. With a price by request, the L320 3D printer is in the company’s Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) series, working with injection molding silicone material (Liquid Silicone Rubber, LSR). Complex structures including cross, lattice, and honeycomb geometries, are possible with the LAM system, using an already familiar-to-industry material. The L320 employs Simplify3D software. Thermal cross-linking with a high-temperature halogen lamp reduces print times as compared with other silicone 3D printing offerings. The standalone system uses a touchscreen and in addition to USB can connect via Ethernet and WLAN with browser-based control; webcam monitoring is also possible. The L320 offers a 250 x 320 x 150 mm build platform, with a print speed of 10-150 mm/s and layer height of 0.22-0.9mm.
“The L320 3D printer has proven its reliability in continuous operation in extensive tests and pilot applications in practice. For commercial use, which requires high availability and reliability, a maintenance contract and professional on-site service are available as an option from trained technicians,” the press release notes of its testing.
Investments into manufacturing operations, hopeful investment into maker operations, and a new medical manufacturing facility highlight the importance of strategy on the business side.
Xometry, which announced its $50 million Series D funding in May, has now announced that the round in fact totals $55 million, following new investment from Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC). This brings total investment into the Maryland-based on-demand manufacturing service to $118 million. Especially appealing for its new investor is Xometry’s AI algorithm-powered Instant Quoting Engine, which takes a CAD file and produces a quote quite quickly before offering the customer the ability to send it right into manufacturing. In addition to 3D printing, manufacturing options from Xometry’s 3,000-plus-strong manufacturing partner network include CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, urethane casting, and injection molding. The new funding influx will help Xometry continue to develop its network and capabilities, including expansion into Europe.
RBVC Managing Director Dr. Ingo Ramesohl said, “Xometry’s platform offers limitless capacity and matches jobs with the optimal supplier based on capabilities and past performance. This is of high relevance for companies like Bosch.”
Following news in early June of its bankruptcy, Maker Media may just be seeing some glimmer of resurgence. A report on TechCrunch highlights the latest as Maker Media Founder and CEO Dale Dougherty has laid out a plan to bring back at least the brands, domains, and some content with some staffers. In June, all 22 staff members of Maker Media — behind the popular Make: magazine — were laid off abruptly; Dougherty has told TechCrunch that “with his own money [he] rehired 15 of 22 laid off staffers.” Soon the reinvigorated company will relaunch, this time as “Make Community.” Make: magazine will become a quarterly publication and, most importantly to the community who has come to love them, the “Maker Faire” name will continue to be licensed. That’s for other event organizers, though, as the flagship events traditionally held in the Bay Area and NYC still lack the funding through this bankruptcy hullaballoo. All financing is currently coming from Dougherty, including those staffers’ pay, until or unless revenues start coming in — hence reliance on the community part of the new Make Community, which will be run as a membership-based model.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine reports: “Dougherty was cagey about what they’ll get in return beyond a sense of keeping alive the organization that’s held the maker community together since 2005. He does hope to get the next Make Magazine issue out by the end of summer or early fall, and existing subscribers should get it in the mail.”
Additional investment news this week comes in the form of a new facility. Oxford Performance Chemicals (OPM) is set to open its OPM Japan (OPMJ) subsidiary’s additive manufacturing and office facilities. OPMJ was established last May and will have its new operations centered in Tokyo, offering the company’s PEEK-based 3D printed orthopedic devices and biomedical and dental materials businesses for the Asian market. Clocking in at 6,500 square feet, the new Asian HQ includes a production center for 3D printed biomedical implants, distribution of biomedical polymers, and a materials science lab.
“I am very pleased that our OPM Japan team has successfully brought this world-class facility online – in record time and on budget – to support the dynamic Japanese and Asian orthopedic and medical and dental device industries. Our partners at JSR were tremendously helpful as we navigated a complex new environment, and we look forward to deepening what has already proven to be a highly productive collaboration,” said Scott DeFelice, CEO of Oxford Performance Materials and OPM Japan.
A new accessory seeks to ease and automate the process of 3D scanning.
Artec 3D has announced the Artec Turntable rotating platform for use with a handheld 3D scanner. The Luxembourg-based company, with operations in the US and Russia, is well known for its high-quality 3D scanning equipment. Because a 3D scanner is high quality, though, doesn’t always mean that the results will be, as the perfect scan is hard to get, especially with a handheld device. The Artec Turntable seeks to ease that process: it is powered by Bluetooth and integrated into Artec Studio 3D software, allowing for a smooth process working with products like the Artec Space Spider 3D scanner. The turntable automatically rotates as the data is captured, with an auto-tracking recovery feature ensuring that no data gets lost if tracking is disrupted. Objects on the turntable may need to be reoriented a few times to ensure all sides are captured, and then gathered data can all be stitched together in the software to ensure that all detail is included. Small objects like jewelry may be difficult to capture traditionally, but this new accessory seeks to ensure that all complexities make it into the data.
“Our goal at Artec 3D has always been to make high precision professional tools as user-friendly as possible, reducing the learning curve to a minimum. The Artec Turntable, our handheld scanners and our Artec Studio software all work intuitively together to simplify all aspects of the scanning process,” said Artyom Yukhin, President and CEO of Artec 3D. “No matter how complex an object may be, the Artec Turntable will ensure that no features are missed during the scanning process. The technology nearly does all the work for you.”
New Balance’s latest athletic shoes feature partially 3D printed construction – and a good amount of design know-how went into their creation.
Last week, Boston-based New Balance announced two new shoe designs created in conjunction with Formlabs’ 3D printing technology. The partnership began in 2017 as Formlabs and New Balance have sought to create a new application-specific resin for use in athletic shoes and bring it into commercial use. The now-available 990 Sport and coming-in-September FuelCell Echo are based on the newly-introduced TripleCell platform. The work with Formlabs isn’t the complete story, though, as New Balance has also been working with design company Nervous System since 2015. Previous project work included work on the Zante Generate shoe, data-customized midsoles, and design customization software.
For the TripleCell platform, Nervous System brought its expertise in structural design; the company explains: “Nervous System worked with New Balance on the internal, cellular structures which provide cushion in the 3D-printed heel parts. This builds upon our previous work with New Balance in 2015 where we used centroidal Voronoi structures to create variable density foams which adapt to different runners’ biomechanics. New Balance’s new TripleCell 3D-printing platform with Formlabs will finally make it possible to make data-customized running shoes a reality.”
Netherlands-based Ultimaker has announced some big corporate moves.
These moves are big indeed mostly from a corporate standpoint, but also show the seriousness with which the company is taking 3D printing. From relatively humble origins in desktop 3D printing, Ultimaker has gone beyond the maker and all focus is on professional and educational markets now — and so they are growing accordingly. The company reports that they now comprise a team of approximately 400 employees, serving more than 500,000 unique Cura users per month preparing 1.4 million prints weekly. And those numbers aren’t even touching on their well-regarded 3D printers.
To cater to the growth – which “shows no sign of slowing down,” Ultimaker says particularly regarding their own team – the company has taken its headquarters to a new urban center in Utrecht. Apparently the Netherlands’ fourth-largest city, Utrecht houses Creative Valley co-working space the Noordgebouw, of which Ultimaker HQ now takes up the top two floors. In addition to the new HQ, Ultimaker notes that it “will continue to maintain its presence in Geldermalsen, as well as its manufacturing warehouse in Zaltbommel.”
Such expansion shows the growth in not only the company but in the 3D printing industry as a whole. To go with this serious growth, Ultimaker is getting serious with its branding. This sadly means a farewell to the charming Ultibot, which is giving way to the “simplicity and ease” of a simple, sleeker letter U representing its also-sleek new styling of the full “Ultimaker” branded word logo.
Aerosint and InfraTrac have announced a security-focused collaboration.
Focus on IP protection is growing as digital manufacturing expands. Belgium-based Aerosint has developed a unique multi-material powder bed 3D printing system that has just seen expanded security control. By teaming up with Maryland-based InfraTrac, Aerosint has for the first time made the former’s chemical security taggant approach viable in powder bed 3D printing — based on the latter’s selective powder deposition coater. The “fingerprinting” approach is possible in Aerosint’s polymer and metal processes.
They explain of InfraTrac’s approach:
“InfraTrac’s tagging model uses commodity taggants for scalability. Optimally, taggant is placed during printing, in a small subsurface spot. Selecting a single, highly-detectable taggant and dispersing it throughout the product (in filament, or mixed into pellets or powders) seems like a good idea, but putting taggant everywhere makes it easier for counterfeiters to find it and copy it. Instead, InfraTrac uses compatible chemicals as taggants, as part of the print process, and hides them in a small covert spot for additional deterrence.
This compatible-chemical approach gives InfraTrac millions of taggant combinations, with open supply chain options, but it does rely on a multimaterial print process. Until now, powder bed printing was a problem: clearly important for scalable industrial applications, but limited to single materials.”
Further overcoming existing problems in bringing InfraTrac’s approach to powder bed 3D printers due to standard single-material processes, the companies explain that using Aerosint’s recoater enables this chemical security into this technology:
“Metal or polymer components built using an SLS/SLM system equipped with Aerosint’s recoater can contain InfraTrac-traceable materials embedded at specific sites within the part. As these taggant materials can be made visually identical to the part’s bulk material, counterfeiting is virtually impossible and part sourcing authenticity can be ensured to the highest degree of confidence.”
Sciaky looks to improve the metallurgy of its EBAM technology for aerospace.
US-based Sciaky is looking to the skies in a new R&D initiative with Aubert & Duval and Airbus. The initiative, based in France and driven by the Saint Exupéry Institute for Research in Technology (IRT), also includes an academic partner known as the Metallic Advanced Materials for Aeronautics (MAMA) project. The first phase of the project is built on a $4.8M funding “to develop new processes for manufacturing titanium alloys aircraft parts” by bringing together traditional metallurgy with Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM).
The large-scale EBAM systems can create parts up to 19 feet long, with gross deposition rates up to 25lbs of metal per hour. The speed and scale make the process especially appealing for aircraft manufacture, so it’s no wonder there’s such well-funded interest in this project — and, while half of that sizeable funding comes from the industrial partners, the other half comes straight from the French State, which runs its Programme Investissement d’Avenir (Investing in the Future) program. The state support of next-generation technologies speaks highly to the state of industrial 3D printing and its role in the developing Industry 4.0.
“Sciaky is proud to work with the Saint Exupéry IRT, Aubert & Duval and Airbus on this exciting project,” said Scott Phillips, President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc. “Industrial metal additive manufacturing technology continues to break new ground every day, and Sciaky is committed to keeping EBAM at the forefront of this movement.”
License: The text of "3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – September 20, 2019)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.