Featured image of 3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – July 19, 2019)

3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – July 19, 2019)

by Sarah Goehrke
Jul 19, 2019

Here‘s what happened in the Additive Manufacturing industry last week: Read about 3D printing from metal to plastic, from industry to small businesses, from production to bleeding-edge innovations.

3D Printing Industry News (Weekly Digest – July 19, 2019)

Table of Contents

From lawsuits to investment rounds, it’s been a very busy summer in 3D printing. A major lawsuit questions the ethics of commercialization, while other businesses thrive with funding and new facilities. Construction 3D printing advances as well, and finally several competitions highlight winning projects from a variety of impressive innovators.

3D Printing Industry News - Week 28, 2019

Week 28, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Jabil Sues Essentium

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The disputed HSE180•S 3D printer as displayed at RAPID + TCT 2019 (Image: Essentium)

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.”

Week 28, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Investments: Funding, New Facilities

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(Image: Fortify)

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.”

Week 28, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3D Printed House

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S-Squared 3D Printer's Autonomous Robotic Construction System (A.R.C.S.)

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.”

Week 28, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Challenge Winners Announced

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S-Squared 3D Printers’ Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS) / (Image: S-Squared 3D Printers)

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.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 27, 2019

Week 27, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Metal and Silicone 3D Printers

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3D Systems’ new metal 3D printing technologies will revolutionize key supply chains associated with long-range munitions, next-generation combat vehicles, helicopters, and air and missile defense capabilities. (Image: U.S. Army)

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.

Week 27, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Investment News

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Manufacturing capabilities from Xometry (Image: RBVC)

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.

Week 27, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3D Scanning Accessory

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The Artec Turntable (Image: Artec 3D)

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.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 26, 2019

Week 26, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Design for Partially 3D Printed Shoes

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990S TripleCell shoes (Image: New Balance)

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.”

Week 26, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Ultimaker Relocates, Rebrands

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The Noordgebouw in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Image: Ultimaker)

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.

Week 26, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Aerosint, InfraTrac, and Anti-Counterfeiting

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Metal 3D Print (image: Aerosint)

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.”

Week 26, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Sciaky, Aubert & Duval, Airbus Announce R&D for Titanium Aircraft Parts

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The R&D initiative partners (Image: Sciaky)

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.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 25, 2019

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Carbon Raises Money And Rises

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Digital Light Synthesis technology (Image: Carbon)

Carbon has announced a new growth funding round and massive valuation.

This round brings in more than $260 million, raising Carbon’s total funds above an impressive $680 million. This, according to the company, raises Carbon’s valuation to $2.4 billion. Carbon is now squarely leading the pack, ahead of other unicorns valued at more than $1 billion.

The new influx is set to pave the way for the next steps for the company’s digital manufacturing platform, including investment into R&D, facilities, materials, software, and personnel. R&D efforts will include a new facility, the company’s first Advanced Development Facility (ADF), housing engineering teams to work on the platform and workflows used with Carbon’s technology and to support work with customers and partners. International expansion in Europe and Asia is also in sight for the California-based company. On the materials side, recyclable and biocompatible materials will continue their development. Software advances will include focus on the company’s Digital Manufacturing Cloud, with emphasis on automation solutions. With more than 400 employees today, personnel will see growth in sales, marketing, and customer experience to support the new capabilities and customers. The funding round was co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford, with additional participation from Temasek and Arkema, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), Fidelity Management & Research Company, adidas Ventures, and JSR Corporation.

“Carbon’s business model is as innovative as its technology. Its “hybrid SaaS” business model is an industry first for manufacturing, enabling a high level of predictability and recurring revenue,” said Ellen Kullman, Lead Director of Carbon and former Chairman and CEO of DuPont. “Having designed smart hardware from the ground up that is updatable via regular, over-the-air software upgrades, the team is ushering in a new era of high-tech manufacturing, one destined to unlock the full promise of Industry 4.0.”

Along with the announcement of its investments and new investor Arkema, this week Carbon announced a partnership with Arkema.

The partnership, forged through a $20 million investment in the $260M round, is focused on delivering “a new era of materials performance and supply chain model for Carbon’s manufacturing partners.” Carbon and Arkema’s Sartomer business line have had an existing relationship, tracing back to Carbon’s 2013 founding, that will now be deepened. Focus is on scaling process technology and resin manufacturing as DLS continues to see use in scale manufacturing operations — reliability and cost competitiveness will be key going forward, and so the collaboration continues.

“We are eager to continue and strengthen our joint efforts in delivering Carbon next-generation products and full solutions to our partners & customers, disrupting the way parts are mass manufactured and accelerating new market opportunities,” said Thierry Le Hénaff, Chairman and CEO of Arkema.

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Boom Brings Metal Additive Manufacturing to Mach 2.2

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Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 demonstrator (Image: VELO3D)

Boom Supersonic will be bringing metal 3D printing into its supersonic flight operations.

The company has previously announced work with polymer technologies, and this week has gone public with its relationship with VELO3D for prototype and end-use metal 3D printed parts. Boom is working toward the development of its eventual supersonic passenger aircraft, the Overture, which is slated to take flight in the mid-2020s. The precursor to that craft is XB-1, the subscale demonstrator, which will also reach Mach 2.2 speeds — that’s 1,687 mph. It’s designed to be the fastest supersonic airliner in history. Helping the aircraft take flight will be 3D printing. VELO3D’s Intelligent Fusion metal 3D printing technology brings in necessary process control for an exacting industry — and VELO3D already has experience in aerospace. Metal 3D printed flight hardware is set to enhance the development of XB-1 and build up Boom’s familiarity with the “capabilities and limitations of metal additive manufacturing and the positive impact it would potentially have on our supersonic aircraft,” as Mike Jagemann, Head of XB-1 Production, Boom Supersonic notes. Validation trials have already shown promising results and two titanium flight hardware parts are set for installation on XB-1’s ECS (environmental control system) early next year.

“Boom is reimagining the entire commercial aircraft experience, from the design, build, and materials used,” said Benny Buller, CEO of VELO3D. “Our technology is designed to help innovators like Boom rethink what’s possible, empower advanced designs with little or no post-processing, and enable an entirely new approach to production. Boom needed more than just prototypes and we’re thrilled to help them create the first 3D-printed metal parts for an aircraft that will move faster than the speed of sound.”

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest New Resin Introductions

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Accura prints (Image: Shapeways)

Shapeways and Zortrax have introduced new SLA 3D printing resins this week, expanding materials options for specific applications.

Shapeways’ three new SLA resins are all “super tough.” The materials — Accura 60, Accura Xtreme, and Accura Xtreme 200 — are acrylate-based resins developed with durability in mind. As 3D printing continues to move deeper into the production workflow, functional parts are increasingly in demand — and these will fit right in for creating visual prototypes, low-volume production, and mass customization; Shapeways indicates applications including:

  • Master patterns for vacuum casting
  • Shell investment casting patterns for metal casting
  • Complex assemblies
  • Wind tunnel models
  • Rapid production of flow test rigs
  • Mass customization production (orthodontic, dental)
  • Custom assembly jigs and fixtures

Accura 60 is similar to molded polycarbonate (PC). It is a clear plastic capable of fine detail and appropriate for use in functional prototyping and creation of parts like lighting components and medical instruments. Accura Xtreme is said to be similar to polypropylene (PP) and ABS, an “ultra-tough” grey plastic material with use in snap-fit assemblies, vacuum casting master patterns, and more. Accura Xtreme 200 is a white plastic, “the toughest SLA material available.” A strong quote for a strong material that Shapeways says “can replace CNC-machined polypropylene and ABS articles,” this material is designed to endure challenging environmental conditions for automotive parts, drill/tap applications, and more.

Poland-based Zortrax has released two biocompatible resins this week. Suited for medical applications — dentistry and prostheses — the new Raydent Surgical Guide Resin and Raydent Crown & Bridge Resin are ready for a major 3D printing market. Suited for use with the Zortrax Inkspire 3D printer, the new materials are safe for use in body-contact applications. Raydent Crown & Bridge Resin is approved for up to 30-day use in the human body, suiting it for use in 3D printing temporary crowns and bridges. The Raydent Surgical Guide Resin is intended for 3D printing dental surgical guides. It is waterproof and clear, enhancing use in oral surgery applications with good visibility and, once sterilized, is safe for body contact.

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest New AMUG Board

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The 2019-2020 AMUG Board. Front row (L to R): Leslie Frost, Gary Rabinovitz, Jamie Cone, and Todd Grimm. Back row (L to R): Andrew Allshorn, Vince Anewenter, Tom Sorovetz, Carl Dekker, and Paul Bates. (Image: AMUG)

AMUG has announced its full Board for 2019-2020.

The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) is a well-known industry group dedicated to realistic use of industrial additive manufacturing technologies. Made up by members of the industry for the advancement of the industry, AMUG has a big role in 3D printing. Its annual conference draws in 3D printing companies and users from around the world, and it was at this year’s event that the 2019-2020 Board election took place. The group builds the program for the next year’s conference (in 2020, that’s March 22-26 in Chicago), planning the conference, exhibitors, workshops, and more.

The 2019-2020 AMUG Board comprises:

  • President: Carl Dekker, Met-L-Flo
  • Past President: Paul Bates, UL
  • Vice President: Jamie Cone, BD
  • Vice President: Andrew Allshorn, At 3D-Squared
  • Event Manager: Tom Sorovetz, FCA
  • Secretary: Leslie Frost, GE Additive
  • Chairman: Gary Rabinovitz, Reebok
  • Treasurer: Vince Anewenter, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • AM Industry Advisor: Todd Grimm, T. A. Grimm & Associates

“I am excited to be AMUG’s 2020 president. We have an excellent and experienced team leading us on the path to the next event,” said Carl Dekker. “The recent growth of AMUG has been astounding! This brings many challenges, which I am pleased to say the new AMUG Board is being very proactive in addressing.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 24, 2019

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest New 3D Printing Facilities

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Ramon Pastor (left) and Christoph Schell moments after cutting the ribbon at the new HP 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Center of Excellence (image: Sarah Goehrke)

Last week, HP opened its new 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Center of Excellence; this week, Hawk Ridge Systems opened a new Midwestern additive manufacturing facility.

I was in Barcelona for its inaugural press day, touring the 152,000-square-foot facility and speaking with executives, customers, and partners. Ramon Pastor, General Manager and Global Head of Plastics Solutions for HP 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing, and President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Christoph Schell cut the ribbon to the Center together, marking its grand opening. The Center of Excellence, or Building 10, is the tenth building on HP’s Sant Cugat del Vallès campus. It includes dedicated labs for both Multi Jet Fusion polymer 3D printing and Metal Jet metal 3D printing systems. Hundreds of engineers devoted to HP’s activities in 3D printing are based on-site — a site that was also built for collaboration. Partners like Siemens and Materialise and customers like ZiggZagg were in Barcelona for the grand opening festivities to share their perspectives on both MJF and Metal Jet 3D printing. Applications from medical to consumer goods, from industrial to automotive, were on display to share a look at some of the real-life use cases for HP’s technologies. HP execs also shared a look at how the company itself is making use of its 3D printing capabilities in other business lines, such as large-format (2D) printer manufacturer. The Center is a testament to sustainable architecture as well, featuring a large photovoltaic roof and water reuse throughout the building. The structure is one of the world’s largest — according to HP, it may be the largest — dedicated to 3D printing R&D. It stands as a testament to HP’s strong and deep-rooted commitment to a future of not just 3D printing, but digital manufacturing.

Silicon Valley-based Hawk Ridge Systems, for its part, opened a new additive manufacturing location in Ohio. The Midwest, formerly the Rust Belt, is being reinvented as the Tech Belt and is home to a growing amount of activity in additive manufacturing. The new Hawk Ridge facility is located near Cincinnati, which houses a good amount of 3D printing activity already, showing smart attention to the market. The digital manufacturing lab offers a Midwestern base for Hawk Ridge’s client meetings and training operations, as well as a production showroom for Markforged and HP 3D printing systems. Hawk Ridge now has 22 offices located in the US and Canada.

“The Cincinnati area is an ideal location because of the strong engineering and manufacturing presence that Ohio offers. We are extremely excited about this expansion and look forward to working with companies, both big and small, for their additive manufacturing needs,” says Paul Rudin, VP of Digital Manufacturing for Hawk Ridge Systems.

Dale Ford, CEO of Hawk Ridge Systems, commented that, “Hawk Ridge Systems is thrilled to open our new location in Ohio and expand our additive manufacturing capabilities. We look forward to becoming a member of the Cincinnati community and an integral part of the local manufacturing sector.”

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3D Printing Systems: New and Newly Available

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VJET X 3D Printer for Additive Mass Manufacturing (Image: voxeljet)

Metal 3D printing is gaining a hardware boost with new systems announced and broadening availability for on-the-market offerings.

The new VJET X technology from Voxeljet is nearing its public debut. Designed for serial production via 3D printing — or “additive mass manufacturing” as creator Voxeljet dubs it — the technology is geared toward the creation of complex sand cores for the automotive industry. VJET X will be fully introduced at next week’s GIFA event as the casting industry gathers in Dusseldorf. 3D printing for metal casting is taking its place right alongside traditional machinery, which is just what Voxeljet intends. The first commercial customer is an unnamed “premium German car manufacturer” that will use its new acquisition to create complex water jacket cores. 3D printers with VJET X technology are said to be 10x faster than Voxeljet’s previous models, achieving sub-5-second layering speeds. Automation is also in focus, with loading and unloading handling pre- and post-processes, and robotic systems cleaning printed parts.

Desktop Metal’s eponymous desktop metal 3D printing offering, the Studio System, is now shipping in Europe. Customers in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom have now received their first Studio System installations. The CE-certified system has already seen early use with select strategic customers for early evaluations as Desktop Metal has been ramping up for this expanded global availability. Companies like BMW Group (Germany) and institutions including the University of Sheffield (UK) are among the customers to bring the Studio System into their operations now. The system is designed for use in functional prototyping and low-volume manufacturing in an office-friendly package, including the 3D printer, debinder, and furnace, and run using Desktop Metal’s cloud-based software.

“We decided to invest in the Desktop Metal Studio System in order to provide our customers a complementary solution to our machining expertise,” said Jean-Baptiste Frenel, Director at France-based Soprofame. “This innovative technology will allow us to answer our customer needs with more effectivity and reactivity, bringing a real value added to our know-how and a differentiating offer in an ever-changing market.”

Norsk Titanium is also prepping a new introduction, with a larger-scale Rapid Plasma Deposition machine. The G-IVL is scaling up Norsk’s patented RPD technology to a 190 x 40 x 60 cm build envelope, depositing more than 8kg of material per hour. RPD, a DED process that has received FAA approval, is focused on structural titanium components. The G-IVL is designed to work with complex geometries and to “have the material qualities equivalent to forgings.” Norsk is highlighting its RPD tech at this week’s Paris Airshow, which seems to feature an increased amount of additive manufacturing each year.

“The G-IVL machine will significantly expand Norsk’s capabilities and expand the addressable component market able to use RPD technology. This will reduce buy-to-fly ratios, machining costs and lead times. We have used the same robust process controls proven in commercial aircraft applications in this larger machine,” said Norsk’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer Carl Johnson.

Week 25, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Focus on Applications

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3D printed composite part tooling (Image: Stratasys)

Aerospace, makeup, and cardiac: the applications for 3D printing are many, and are getting a boost with new introductions, clearances, and announcements.

Stratasys has extended its agreement with Boom Supersonic for seven years of 3D printing. Colorado-based Boom Supersonic is looking to use FDM 3D printing in operations as it continues to work toward its mission: a new, faster supersonic airliner. Over the next seven years, Boom will work with Stratasys’ tech, including the F900 3D printer with the Aircraft Interiors Solution (AIS) package, to 3D print flight hardware. Starting with the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator and eventually moving into the Mach-2.2 commercial Overture airliner, Boom is bringing FDM into qualified flight parts for aircraft installation. The new seven-year agreement builds on an existing relationship that has seen Boom 3D print prototypes, tooling, and jigs and fixtures. Next up: production-grade aircraft parts. The timeline laid out will see the XB-1 out later in 2019 and in supersonic flight next year, while the plan now is consumer travel at Mach-2.2 on the Overture set for the mid-2020s. More information is being shared this week at the Paris Airshow.

“By being able to print critical parts and components on site rather than purchasing them from a supplier, we can create custom parts, increase our speed from engineering to manufacturing, and focus on building the aircraft and fulfilling our vision,” said Mike Jagemann, Head of XB-1 Production at Boom. “During the first three years of our partnership, we 3D printed more than 200 parts for tooling, prototypes and test benches using Stratasys’ F370 and Fortus 450mc 3D printers, and have saved hundreds of hours of work time, enabling rapid iteration of design cycles. Stratasys’ standing as a global leader in 3D printed aerospace applications made them an ideal partner for Boom, and we’re excited to extend this partnership long-term.”

From flight-qualified to face-qualified: the Mink 3D printer is here to 3D print your makeup. The 8” x 6” x 4” system weighs in at 2.2lbs and is designed to customize makeup via an app, social media imagery, and a makeup sheet. The concept debuted a few years ago, and this week Mink introduced its go-to-market system with a tri-color cartridge and proprietary makeup sheets — all of which adhere to FDA guidance for cosmetics. Once a user chooses an image (from the internet, social media, or their own camera), the full image or just one color from it will be printed onto a makeup sheet and instantly ready for application. The system is being shown now, but won’t see delivery until next autumn; pre-order pricing is $295, a savings of 25% off the full $395 MSRP.

“Consumers today have higher expectations on how and where the products they consume fit into their lifestyle. Mink understands the shifting landscape for on-demand and flexibility, and beauty is no exception. We are excited to provide a new distribution platform for beauty as well as connecting to the different consumer touchpoints across physical, web and social. Finally bridging images that inspire beauty and transforming them into makeup in a snap,” said Janet Kim, President and co-founder. “Our relationships with our partners and investors are integral to delivering the Mink experience to consumers.”

We end with one for the heart: Materialise has introduced its new cardiovascular planning software suite, Mimics Enlight, which has achieved FDA clearance. The suite debuts with a focus on transcatheter mitral valve replacement workflow, Mimics Enlight Mitral. Materialise worked closely with Dr. Dee Dee Wang and her team at Henry Ford Hospital System in Detroit to develop a strong, usable workflow-based software focused on planning transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR) procedures. Mimics Enlight will help to support in patient selection and planning for structural heart and vascular therapy, including reliable means of taking critical measurements. TMVR procedures are inherently complex, and are being seen with more frequency in an aging population; proper planning can help provide substantially better patient outcomes. Materialise provided more detail about their workflow offerings for the medical field last week in Chicago at the Transcatheter Valve Therapies TVT2019 – Structural Heart Summit.

“We believe in the power of our mission to create a better and healthier world,” said Bryan Crutchfield, vice president and general manager of Materialise North America. “We work very closely with teams at our partner hospitals and medical device companies to identify areas where 3D planning and printing can improve their ability to plan procedures. With the FDA clearance of Mimics Enlight, we are expanding the 3D toolkit for cardiologists working to treat patients with complex cardiovascular issues, starting with mitral valve replacement.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 23, 2019

Week 23, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3D Printed Gamer Gear

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A 3D printed wrist rest (Image: UNYQ)

IKEA and UNYQ deepen their gamer-focused collaboration.

Swedish DIY furniture stronghold IKEA has long been interested in 3D printing, and last year at its Democratic Design Days introduced the first prototype from an intriguing collection. The company teamed up with UNYQ, best known for its work with photogrammetry and prosthetic fairings, to create an ergonomic seat for gamers, 3D printed for each gamer’s own derrière. The collaboration continues, as at DDD 2019 the companies launched three new personalized products for gamers. In the UPPKOPPLA (“online”) collection, set for release in 2020, users will be able to select and customize three new products to enhance their individual gaming experience.

UNYQ describes the designs as:

  • A biometric wrist support which maintains the correct height of the gamers’ wrist to the keyboard, reducing strain on their tendons;
  • Soft pliable, vented keycaps which make the keyboard feel like a physical extension of a gamers’ fingers; and
  • A portable mouse “bungee” which clamps the users’ mouse cable in place, preventing tangling and enabling full freedom of movement.

With about 2.2 billion gamers around the world playing 14 billion hours weekly, that’s a lot of time spent sitting at the keyboard. (Hence the start with comfortable seating.) Personalized accessories can help ease the strain, and so UNYQ brings in its expertise with 3D scanning. Users will be able to scan their wrists, for example, to ensure the right fit for their new support, perhaps even adding their name to it. The pieces will all be 3D printed using Carbon’s DLS technology. The collection will eventually expand to reach other underserved communities, though details on who those might be have not yet been released.

“This is an exciting partnership for IKEA. UNYQ has developed a method of creating solutions that fit everyone’s unique needs and tastes, letting customers take design into their own hands. It is a great way to give customers exactly what they want, and it also minimizes waste as production is directly aligned with demand and there is no inventory. We are really looking forward to see where this new way of working will take us and are excited to continue to collaborate with UNYQ,” said Michael Nikolic, Creative Leader at IKEA of Sweden.

Week 23, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Bioprinting In Space

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The 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) is the first 3D printer capable of manufacturing human tissue (including, someday, organs) in the microgravity condition of space. (Image: Techshot)

Techshot and nScrypt have announced the very literal launch of a new 3D printer next month.

The machine, pleasantly called the BFF – or, more formally, the 3D BioFabrication Facility – will launch in July. That launch isn’t commercial, but into space: the BFF is headed for the International Space Station upon the launch of the SpaceX CRS-18 cargo mission. The BFF is designed to 3D print human tissue in microgravity. It works with bioink, created following consultation with Bioficial Organs, containing adult human cells and adult tissue-derived proteins. This launch will mark the BFF’s first phase. The system will begin in testing, 3D printing “cardiac-like tissue of increasing thickness” for about two years. From there, phase two will see the BFF 3D print heart patches on the ISS that will then be examined back on Terra Firma, potentially including animal testing, for about another two years.

The hopes for the BFF are the same as are seen throughout bioprinting R&D: creating organs and tissue for human use. That’s still a long ways off, either on Earth or in orbit, but the BFF may see unique benefits in this next stage of bioprinting development. While gravity can make printing soft human tissue tricky, as the delicate structures can fall under their own weight, such structures may have more hope in microgravity. These then could be strengthened and brought back down to Earth.

“The concept of developing tissue or an organ in space with a 3D bioprinter has been with us for years,” Techshot President and CEO John Vellinger said. “From the technological and biological perspectives, making it real has been a painstaking process of experiments and testing. To see this coming together is an amazing thing for the team, as well as for all of medical science.”

Week 23, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest STEPping Up Materials Development

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Parts made by Evolve’s STEP 3D printing (Image: Evolve Additive Solutions)

A new materials joint development agreement is targeted specifically at selective thermoplastic electrophotographic process (STEP) technology.

Evolve Additive Solutions has teamed up with Evonik to expand the thermoplastic portfolio for use with STEP additive manufacturing. Evolve’s unique STEP is focused squarely on production and, while the technology remains in alpha development, commercialization is in sight for late next year. At that time, the hope seems to be a release with a decently developed materials portfolio. Working with a well-established specialty chemicals leader with, by now, a deep understanding of the unique needs of the 3D printing industry, Evolve hopes to see good STEPs forward through its work with Evonik.

The first materials in development through the agreement are polyamide 12, PEBA, transparent polyamide, and polymer of the polyamide 6 series. These will be set to expand in the future, joined by other materials “with more 3D printing material choices for production that are commonly used in traditionally manufactured products.”

“STEP has been developed for volume manufacturing so offering the widest range of thermoplastic materials to our customers is a critical element for production,” said Steve Chillscyzn, CEO of Evolve Additive Solutions. “The joint development agreement with Evonik allows us to broaden the spectrum of STEP materials to include materials currently accepted by OEMs from additive manufacturing, but more importantly to debut a whole new set of materials opening up more applications that can take advantage of everything additive manufacturing offers.”

Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, the Head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik added, “Evolve’s entirely new technology approach will allow us to expand the range of applications of our high-performance materials, which are produced through a unique production process. With more than 20 years of experience in 3D printing, we will also develop a wider range of customized material formulations to unlock the full potential of the STEP technology”.

Week 23, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Protolabs’ Production Metal 3D Printing

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Metal 3D printing at Protolabs (Image: Protolabs)

Protolabs has announced production capabilities in metal 3D printing.

The digital manufacturing company has long offered metal 3D printing as a service, developing expertise in particular with DMLS — they run more than two dozen GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab and M2 machines. This week, the company has launched production capabilities (pdf) that “use secondary processes to improve the strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of metal parts,” including the option for enhanced inspection reporting. As metal 3D printing continues to move into more industrial usage, quality is of the utmost concern, and delivering these technologies as a service entails the need to ensure that customers have all their needs fulfilled. Protolabs’ DMLS operations have already gained ISO 9001 and AS9110D certifications, laying a strong groundwork for quality. Customers turn to their offerings for all kinds of parts, from aerospace to high fashion.

The company notes several of its capabilities with its production announcement: “Once parts are built, several secondary options like post-process machining, tapping, reaming, and heat treatments are possible, and quality control measures like powder analysis, material traceability, and process validation are taken.”

“We see it every day. The designers and engineers we work with in industries like aerospace and medtech are choosing additive manufacturing for complex components in high-requirement applications,” said Greg Thompson, global product manager for 3D printing at Protolabs. “These new production capabilities help them optimize their designs to enhance performance, reduce costs, and consolidate supply chains—and do so much faster than ever before.”

Week 23, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Artec 3D Releases Artec Studio 14

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New features for Artec users (image: Artec3D)

Artec Studio is a well-known software for well-known 3D scanners.

This week, the company has announced the release of Artec Studio 14, which includes a healthy slew of new features to make users’ lives easier (and their scans better). In brief, Artec lays these features out as including, among others:

  • Integration with metrology-grade desktop 3D scanner Artec Micro
  • Target-free registration for 3D laser scanner Artec Ray
  • Directly export of unlimited numbers of open and closed contours in polyline format over to SOLIDWORKS or other CAD/CAM applications
  • Glare Removal, which uses advanced PBR (Physically Based Rendering) algorithms to produce uniform colored surfaces
  • Bridges, a feature which lets users organically mend and repair holes and gaps in scans using existing scan geometry

Additionally, Artec Studio 14 allows for experienced users to gain more control, such as manually rather than automatically aligning their model with the Autopilot feature. One-Click Auto-Positioning, also new, enables the creation of a default position for scans, so users can have their own settings as the standard. Scans will then always appear in their preferred position when opened. Texture mapping also gained an 800% boost “to save as much time as possible when creating professional 3D models.”

“The new Artec Studio 14 supports Artec’s entire line of 3D scanners, allowing our users to digitize the very smallest objects, such engine valves or connectors, right up to a cargo aircraft with metrology grade precision,” said Artyom Yukhin, President and CEO of Artec 3D. “In addition, all of our new software features lead to a more intuitive user experience for users in every industry, from quality inspection to CGI and 3D printing.”

3D Printing Industry News - Week 22, 2019

Week 22, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest SME’s Industry Achievement Award

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Ely Sachs’ acceptance speech at RAPID + TCT (Image: Sarah Goehrke)

This year’s SME Industry Achievement Award was presented to Professor Emanuel “Ely” Sachs.

Sachs’ legacy is tremendous and reaches widely through the 3D printing industry as we know it. Literally, as we know it: Sachs coined the phrase “3D printing” back in the ‘80s, shortly after inventing binder jet printing.

While “pioneer” is thrown out a lot these days in this young industry, Sachs is one, with decades of experience and some impressive patents to his credit. More recently, Sachs is a co-founder of Desktop Metal, serving as Co-CTO and helping to develop the Production System.

He is well worth the recognition, and the applause was great at the opening keynote of RAPID + TCT. Colleagues shared their stories of Sachs’ contributions to 3D printing in a touching video shown when he received his award:

Week 22, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Software Introductions: AI and Slicing

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Markforged's Blacksmith AI software (Image: Markforged)

Markforged has stepped into artificial intelligence with its new Blacksmith AI-powered software.

Metal 3D printing such as that available with Markforged’s Metal X system generally relies on sintering as a key step after the print is done, resulting in shrinkage from the fresh green part. Reliably predicting that shrinkage is critical for metal technologies to advance — and as it turns out, has applicability well beyond additive manufacturing, or even just metal.

Blacksmith will initially be available for the Metal X and X7 systems starting later this year, but will eventually become more widely available — including to traditional manufacturing equipment, such as CNC machines. Blacksmith is designed to analyze designs — millions of designs — and compare to a scanned part, automatically adapting the end-to-end process to create objects to specification.

The software was introduced and demoed at RAPID + TCT; I watched it in action and appreciated hearing first-hand from visitors that this is a much-desired offering.

For the last hundred years, machines have been unaware of what they’re creating and would happily waste millions of dollars producing out-of-spec parts. We’re going to fix that by connecting the machines that make parts, and the ones that inspect them, with a powerful AI,” said Greg Mark, CEO of Markforged. “Much like the way Tesla is building autopilot for cars, we are building an autopilot for manufacturing.

At the desktop, Prusa has revamped its slicing software. Built upon the open-source Slic3r, Prusa’s offering has previously followed that naming suit, dubbed Slic3r Prusa Edition or Slic3r PE. The new — and still open source — software is now known as PrusaSlicer. Developed in-house and compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, PrusaSlicer introduces some impressive new features for users.

Week 22, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3D Printer Introductions

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(Image: Nexa3D)

Nexa3D and Impossible Objects were among the many companies debuting new 3D printers.

Nexa3D offers high-speed SLA 3D printers and has a lot to show for itself just now. Newly available, the NXE400 is said to have print speeds “up to 6 times the speed and 2.5 times the build volume of all other comparable products on the market today,” and was willing to prove it with live 3D printing demos throughout RAPID + TCT. Shipments are set to begin in H2 2019 for the system, which is priced at $59,950. To go with it, Nexa3D also introduced a partner program for “qualified preferred third-party materials’ suppliers.

The NXE 400 is designed with user-friendliness and automation readiness in mind including active resin management, easy to change materials, automation ready access and plug and play user interface. Its cognitive capabilities facilitate optimized prints and offers complete automation from print to product,” said Izhar Medalsy, Chief Product Officer, Nexa3D. “Our NXE400 printer comes equipped with unique materials that are tailored for ultra-fast printing of functional prototyping, production tooling and full-scale manufacturing of end-use parts, casting patterns, and dental restorations.

The addition of cognitive software and integrated sensors lead to a system that offers a detailed overview of what exactly is happening, and where attention is required by the user. Pulling on this thread of user self-reliance, the NXE400 is said to be easily serviceable via replaceable modules.

Impossible Objects had not just its new CBAM-2 3D printing system to debut at RAPID + TCT, but a partnership with BASF and a notable $4.1M investment. These announcements drew some solid attention to Impossible Objects, which showcased parts from the CBAM-2 and noted that it “delivers complex parts on an industrial scale — speeding up the additive manufacturing process as much as 10x.” The strong results bring together engineering-grade polymers with long-fiber carbon and fiberglass sheets, offering capabilities to “3D print parts from composites that are not available through any other 3D printing method.” CBAM-2 systems will be available starting in Q3 of this year.

The BASF partnership means that Impossible Objects’ Model One and CBAM-2 systems will support Ultrasint PA6 powders from BASF, enabling new high-performance composite capabilities. Finally, the $4.1 funding round — led by returning investor OCA Ventures — builds upon previous funding rounds and sees total investment raised exceeding $13 million. The company says the new funding will help “to meet the demand for its products.

It’s been exciting to see how our customers are putting our approach to work to create high-performance parts for everything from aircraft and cars to lightweight athletic gear,” said Impossible Objects Founder and Chairman Bob Swartz. “We’re continuing to bring machines, materials, and expertise to the market to transform the entire manufacturing process, from prototyping through to high-volume production.

Week 22, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Partnerships Abound

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Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is part of an elite group of professional racing teams empowered by Stratasys 3D printing to raise their level of competition (Image: Stratasys)

Stratasys, Jabil, and Desktop Metal have announced new partnerships and agreements that see business race forward.

Stratasys has had a busy May, culminating in a few announcements. The company has partnered with Solvay, announcing an authorized materials partner program that will start with developing new polymers for the Stratasys F900. Stratasys has also formed some interesting agreements, starting with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The IndyCar racing company is working with the Fortus 450mc and F370 3D printers to create conceptual models, functional prototypes, manufacturing tools, and production parts.

Because just one racing agreement isn’t enough, Stratasys has also announced a collaboration with Don Schumacher Racing, “the winningest team in the National Hot Rod Association.” Don Schumacher Motorsports, the racing team’s production arm, is also working with the Fortus 450mc and F370. They note key applications including chassis or weldment fixturing, prototype development, final design proof-of-concept, and finished usable ultralight components.

Why only race on land, though? Stratasys also announced some watersports racing, with a supplier agreement with the New York Yacht Club, American Magic. Yacht racing is increasingly turning to 3D printing, and so American Magic is racing for the America’s Cup and bringing the Fortus 450mc along for the ride. 3D printing is coming into play here with carbon fiber to help create lightweight production parts, along with applications in prototyping, and creating brackets, fittings, and mounts.

Jabil is also going to the races. The digital solutions company has announced an additive manufacturing agreement with Renault F1 Team to create 3D printed parts for the Renault R.S.19 race car. Renault F1 Team is very familiar with 3D printing, and is now looking to leverage Jabil’s extensive offerings to “gain fast and efficient access to top-quality parts.” The Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network has been growing, and more capabilities at more Jabil facilities are seeing capacity rise — along with customer interest.

We’re excited to be part of Renault F1 Team’s strategy to improve performance with additive manufacturing,” said John Dulchinos, VP of digital manufacturing, Jabil. “Our ability to consolidate a global supply chain and scale qualified processes as needed will enable the production of chassis and on-car components in record time.

Finally, in agreements, Desktop Metal has announced a strategic partnership with Indo-MIM. Indo-MIM, which maintains facilities in India and Texas, is among the leading global suppliers of metal injection molding (MIM), creating more than 100 million metal parts each year. The company is installing a Desktop Metal Production System at its San Antonio facility, bringing metal 3D printing into its offerings for customers as early as this autumn as it becomes a full-service manufacturing partner for Desktop Metal. Additional services will also be available, such as consulting services in the means to production metal 3D printing. Production 3D printing is often thought to be competitive with MIM, but this partnership shows that the technologies are complementary and do well when working together.

This is a major step forward in the progress of additive manufacturing,” said Krishna Chivukula, Jr., CEO of Indo-MIM. “As the world’s largest MIM house, we know our customers in automotive, aerospace and other key industries will reap the benefits of this new mass manufacturing technology. We are excited to partner with Desktop Metal to bring metal additive manufacturing closer to those companies looking to achieve the speed, cost, and quality benefits to their businesses. With the Production System now joining our state-of-the-art factories, we will be fully integrated to provide customers with a one-stop resource for the manufacturing of complex precision components and sub-assemblies with additive manufacturing.

Week 22, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Beery and Out-of-This-World Applications

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Ultimaker technology at Heineken (Image: Ultimaker)

Ultimaker and Nano Dimension have announced new use cases for their 3D printing technologies.

Ultimaker has beery good news as they announce Heineken as a user of their 3D printers. The large brewing company operates a facility in Seville, Spain that makes up to 500 million liters annually of beers under the Heineken, Cruzcampo, Desperados, and Amstel brands. They recently set up a 3D printing lab, bringing Ultimaker in-house, beginning with targeting safety latch design. Fast success with the latches soon led to more — including spare parts manufacture.

The team at Heineken is also now iterating designs, such as a redesigned quality sensor part, and creating custom tools, jigs, and fixtures. They note that tool production was decreased by 70%, with timing taken down from three days to one. They note that the average part delivery is 80% faster than externally sourcing, while costs are also cut by 80% from historical sourcing.

Nano Dimension has announced a collaboration to get more 3D printed parts into space. Grant approval from the Israel Innovation Authority will lead Nano Dimension to cooperate with Harris Corporation to develop hardware for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Israeli company is well known for its DragonFly Pro system that 3D prints electronics — which is set to come in handy as the project “will provide a systematic analysis of 3D printed materials for radio frequency (RF) space systems, especially for Nano-satellites.

The year-long project will see Nano Dimension and Harris create and optimize designs for the 3D printed RF components, preparing a system for flight studies on the ISS. The experiment will see the project, complete with 3D printed materials and circuits, circulate in Low-Earth Orbit for one year, deepening understanding of “how 3D printed circuits, systems, and materials will endure in various space environments.

3D Printing Industry News - Week 20, 2019

Week 20, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Investments

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Xometry raises $50 million (source: Xometry Website)

AstroPrint and Xometry have each announced significant financial investments.

AstroPrint, which offers a cloud platform that has seen use in more than 1.6 million 3D prints from more than 90,000 users, has announced a $1 million second funding round. To date, that puts investment into the venture-backed company at more than $2.1 million. Stanley Ventures, the venture capital arm of Stanley Black & Decker, and Alma Mundi Ventures led the round. AstroPrint says that the investment will be used “to further enhance our business and enterprise solutions, and scale our presence around the world.” The Enterprise Cloud solution is a relatively new offering that emerged from the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator — deepening the connection to Stanley Black & Decker, which runs the accelerator together with Techstars and is a multi-facility user of the enterprise solution. Worldwide presence is also set to scale, adding a Connecticut office to those already open in San Diego and Malaga.

“Having won the faith and trust of VCs like Stanley Ventures and Alma Mundi Ventures tells us that we are on the right track to fill an important gap in the additive manufacturing industry and to add tremendous value for companies that are increasingly global and multi-location,” said Drew Taylor, CEO AstroPrint. “The next step for us is two-fold: First, we want to help existing manufacturers create smarter Additive Manufacturing networks so they can share and optimize resources within their companies. Second, we want to identify industries and companies that are yet to take advantage of 3D printing in their prototyping and testing processes, and help them overcome the traditional obstacles of distributed locations and remote expertise.”

On-demand manufacturing platform Xometry has announced $50 million in equity funding. Led by Greenspring Associates, the round brings in Dell Technologies Capital together with existing venture and strategic investors and creates a new total of $113 raised to date for Xometry. 3D printing, CNC machining, and other manufacturing technologies are available through Xometry’s large network — which is now set for further expansion. The company reports that revenues have doubled in the last year. Funding will go into further expansion, which will include additional capabilities in 3D printing with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology.

“Xometry’s vast network, massive data sets and AI breakthroughs make it easier for engineers and designers to buy custom manufacturing and help manufacturers more efficiently operate their businesses,” said Randy Altschuler, co-founder and CEO of Xometry. “We’re planning to invest these funds behind growth initiatives, product development and global expansion.”

Week 20, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Rail Industry 3D Printing Investment

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Investments into new additive manufacturing systems and into a company are seeing rail industry participants continue to focus on 3D printing.

Pennsylvania-based Wabtec has announced that it has purchased at least two H2 binder jetting systems from GE Additive. The first system, installed currently at GE Additive’s lab in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the initial basis for the Wabtec team to work with the technology, beginning with co-located teamwork in technology development. The rail company is seeking to accelerate its strategy regarding additive manufacturing, and this undisclosed investment into the GE Additive systems is set to help the company work toward its goal of 3D printing more parts for its supply chain. Wabtec has already identified as many as 250 components where additive manufacturing could come into play within the next six years, and will bring the H2 system to its Grove City, PA facility before the end of 2019. The early system is another beta installation; full commercial release is slated for 2021.

“Additive is one of the key technology pillars for our company and central in our efforts to drive innovation in the industries we serve,” Philip Moslener, global director of the WabtecOne Platform & Applied Innovation. “This binder jet machine will help us design and produce reliable, low-cost components for our current and developmental engines, locomotive, transit and mining programs.”

Bombardier Transportation is also interested in 3D printing for train components, and this week invested into a Stratasys F900 3D printer. The intent is to 3D print end-use rail parts, tooling, and prototyping for DACH region countries. The F900 will be installed in Hennigsdorf, Germany, where Bombardier Transportation houses its largest manufacturing facility. Among the parts targeted for production are air ducts, housings, and cable holders, as both interior and exterior train parts are targeted. The F900 enables the company to 3D print with high-strength ULTEM 9085, which has proven well suited for such parts.

“The Stratasys F900 3D Printer allows us to widen our service offering in such a way that we are now able to 3D print large spare parts, customized rail parts and manufacturing tools – all in-house and on-demand,” comments André Bialoscek, Head of Vehicle Physical Integration Hennigsdorf, Bombardier. “Having previously used fiber glass and tin for train components, the ability to now utilize ULTEM 9085 resin meets our application criteria and takes us to a new level in terms of reducing the costs and lengthy lead times associated with those traditional materials.”

Week 20, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest New Facilities

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(Image: Protolabs)

Protolabs and Sintavia have opened large new manufacturing facilities this week.

Brooklyn Park, Minnesota is now home to Protolabs’ dozenth global manufacturing plant (the company’s eight in the US). The new manufacturing facility dedicates its 215,000 square feet to CNC machining with almost 300 mills and lathes housed. Protolabs is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and what better way than with a new advanced manufacturing facility? The CNC focus of this new site fits in with the company’s dedicated facilities; for example, a large site near Raleigh, North Carolina is dedicated to 3D printing. Protolabs offers a strong portfolio of manufacturing technologies to meet its customers’ broad needs — they now say their 1,000+ machines worldwide are producing almost four million parts monthly in their now twelve facilities.

“Protolabs has exceeded my wildest dreams,” said Larry Lukis, Protolabs’ founder. “The company was born out of personal frustration that manufacturing parts took months, when it could take days or even minutes. There needed to be a way to make it easier and faster for product developers to get prototype parts and accelerate development cycles. Protolabs has achieved that goal and made advanced manufacturing technologies accessible for everyone, from makers to startups to Fortune 500 companies.”

Earlier this week, Sintavia opened its new 55,000-square-foot Hollywood, Florida advanced manufacturing facility and headquarters. The aerospace-focused company welcomed more than 150 customers and partners to the grand opening, keen to show off $25 million of advanced manufacturing equipment. Several metal additive manufacturing systems are housed there, alongside EDMs, post-processing machines, wet-booths, and several furnaces. Sintavia says production from the facility can go up to tens of thousands of parts and more than $100 million annual revenue from additive manufacturing.

“This new facility is the first of its kind in North America to offer large-scale AM production coupled with a robust aerospace quality management system,” said Brian Neff, Sintavia’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As we grow, it will serve as a template for future vertically-aligned advanced manufacturing facilities around the U.S. and the world.”

Week 20, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest ExOne Welcomes New Execs

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(image: ExOne)

ExOne has announced a new CEO and CCO.

The new executive appointments come on the heels of disappointing financial results for Q1 2019.

S. Kent Rockwell will remain in place as ExOne’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, but yields the title of CEO to the newly-elected John F. Hartner. No explanation was given for the transition, but Hartner’s experience includes two years as EnvisionTEC’s COO among his three decades of experience in electronics, cleantech, automation, and digital printing industries. Hartner has been ExOne’s COO since November 2018.

“John is an outstanding leader and has proven to be a strong addition to our global leadership team. In his new role, he will lead the organization in the execution of our strategic initiatives that focus on profitable growth. These include expanding binder jetting applications, broadening our machine platform range and growing our recurring revenue base,” Rockwell said of the new CEO.

ExOne has also created a new position as Charles Grace joins the company as its first Chief Customer Officer. Grace claims more than 25 years of customer-facing experience, including tenures at Xerox and 3D Systems.

“We are excited to welcome Charlie to the ExOne executive leadership team. He brings extensive experience in developing and executing go-to-market initiatives in 3D and 2D printing industries. Our first and third strategic pillars focus on customers and applications as well as recurring revenue, to drive growth in new markets and expand margins. In this newly created leadership role, Charlie will have extensive customer interaction as we continue to advance our machine adoption, expand binder jetting applications and improve our recurring revenue base in alignment with our strategy,” said new ExOne CEO Hartner.

3D Printing Industry News - Week 19, 2019

Week 19, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest HP’s MJF Expansion

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Jet Fusion 5200 Series production setup. (Source: HP Inc.)

HP has announced an expansion of its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers and its push toward digital manufacturing.

The company has introduced its Jet Fusion 5200 Series, available now for order. Adding to the existing MJF line — which currently includes the low-volume production 4200 Series and full-color prototyping 500/300 Series — the new 5200 Series sees several advances for polymer 3D printing. The systems are designed for heavy industry use for serial production. HP is also introducing its first flexible material suitable for MJF: Ultrasint from BASF. The new TPU material has already seen some success with early adopters, including HP itself, which uses the material in 3D printed parts for its 3D printers, both textile and 3D. HP has also introduced new software focusing on enhancing production quality and in-print monitoring, as well as targeted services.

Additionally, HP has announced an expansion of several important relationships. The company is deepening relationships with BASF, Materialise, and Siemens. HP has also (also) introduced its global HP Digital Manufacturing Network. With initial production partners in the US, Europe, and Asia, the goal is to see qualified partners expand as digital manufacturing capabilities can be offered to customers around the world. Initial partners include Forecast 3D, GKN, GoProto, Jabil, Materialise, Parmatech, and ZiggZagg.

3D Printing Industry News Digest ExOne, ORNL, and Binder Jetting

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Binder jetting. (Source: ExOne)

ExOne and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are collaborating to advance binder jet 3D printing.

The recently-announced collaboration is geared toward ExOne’s additive manufacturing focus: binder jetting. The project will first focus on developing the technologies necessary for new binder jetting systems, “focusing on optimizing chemistry and process parameters for ExOne’s sand and metal systems.” ORNL offers a strong history and interest in additive manufacturing and is able to leverage significant resources to further industry projects. The entities have been working together for several years; this new relationship deepens this particular focus.

“We look forward to continuing binder jetting research with ExOne,” said Amy Elliott, ORNL lead researcher on binder jetting. “Over the past several years, we’ve worked with ExOne on four binder jetting systems and we’ve made exceptional progress in enhancing this additive manufacturing technique. Industry collaborations such as this help the U.S. remain competitive in manufacturing.”

“By collaborating with a world-class lab like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, we accelerate ExOne’s binder jetting technology capabilities. We believe these collaborative efforts will effectively and efficiently result in the establishment of new materials, binders and process developments, retaining our significant edge over competitors and other technologies in the industrial manufacturing space,” said Rick Lucas, ExOne’s Chief Technology Officer.

3D Printing Industry News Digest International Expansions

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GKN Powder Metallurgy is among the companies expanding outside their home countries. (Source: GKN Powder Metallurgy)

GKN Powder Metallurgy, Aleph Objects, and 3D Hubs have announced expansions outside their home countries.

Germany-based GKN Powder Metallurgy has opened its new North American HQ and Additive Manufacturing Customer Center in Michigan. The 38,260-square-foot facility houses more than 80 employees across GKN businesses (Hoeganaes, GKN Sinter Metals, GKN Additive), with space devoted to collaborative work areas, shop floor, and the Customer Center with two EOS DMLS systems.

“We are excited to start a new journey in Auburn Hills with a space that is dedicated to our team, our community and the advanced technology we create for our customers,” said Reid Southby, President, GKN Sinter Metals Large Segment. “This building reinforces our commitment to the North American market and continued global growth.”

Colorado-based Aleph Objects, well known for its expanding LulzBot line of 3D printers, has opened its new European HQ, Aleph Objects Netherlands B.V., in Rotterdam. To be led by Managing Director Jeroen Wijnen, the new European operations — including new holding company Aleph Objects Europe Holding B.V. — will focus on expanding the company’s success across the pond.

“Creating a strong presence for LulzBot to assist our existing and new customers and resellers in Europe is my first priority,” said Wijnen. “I’m convinced LulzBot’s dedication to reliability of its 3D printers and unrivaled customer support will be appealing to the European market….this will enable LulzBot to set new standards with the unveiling of upcoming product launches. I am excited to be part of the team.”

Netherlands-based 3D Hubs has announced that its new North American HQ will be located in Chicago, opening in June and housed at mHUB. Landing operations in the US only makes sense as 3D Hubs notes that the country is its fastest-growing market; revenue in North America has reportedly tripled over the last year. The US team will double, with emphasis on sales, customer service, and engineering (open positions are here).

Bram de Zwart, CEO and co-founder of 3D Hubs also commented: “3D Hubs’ decision to locate their North American headquarters in Chicago speaks to the city’s status as a global tech hub and a leader in manufacturing. Our thriving tech ecosystem continues to attract top companies and talent from around the world.”

3D Printing Industry News Digest Financial Results

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Financials are rolling in. (Source: Stock Image)

Another week, another set of financials roll in: now from 3D Systems, Arkema, and ExOne.

Q1 results are in from 3D Systems, and it’s not a rosy picture. The company saw an 8% decrease in revenue compared to Q1 2018. Despite higher 3D printer sales (90% higher, in fact), revenues in this segment were down 29%. 3D Systems has been leaning on its healthcare strategy; revenues in this area fell 5%. Other decreases were seen in materials revenues (-3%), software (-8%), and on-demand services (-12%). On the back of all of these, stocks dipped 20%.

“While we expected seasonality in our revenue this year from ordering patterns of enterprise customers, the first quarter was lower than anticipated as a result of shipment timing and additional on demand weakness,” commented Vyomesh Joshi (VJ) chief executive officer, 3D Systems. “We are taking actions to improve performance for the balance of the year, including accelerating cost reductions.”

Full results available here.

Q1 results from Arkema tell a markedly different story. The specialty chemicals and advanced materials company is relatively new to 3D printing, but is seeing success already. On the whole, company sales were up 2% for the quarter. 3D printing operations fall under the company’s High Performance Materials division operations, where “demand was lower year on year in the automotive, electronics and oil & gas markets and overshadowed the success of innovations in several growing segments, such as batteries and 3D printing.” New expansions such as the Kepstan PEKK site in Alabama and Sartomer’s capacity extension at its photocure liquid resin production plant in China highlight what in both cases is referred to as “strong demand” as Arkema continues to commit to this growth area.

“The Group’s first-quarter financial performance, close to its record-high levels, was in line with the guidance issued at the beginning of the year and demonstrates the Group’s good resilience in a global economic environment that was less favorable compared with the first quarter of 2018,” said Chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff. “…
Our transformation strategy towards specialty chemicals therefore continues to bear fruit and, beyond the short-term, Arkema will continue to pursue its reflections and projects in order to further increase the share of specialties within its business portfolio.”

Full results available here.

ExOne saw a 19% decrease in overall revenues for Q1 2019 versus Q1 2018. Still, the company is looking ahead as they also saw a 13% drop in operating expenses, an increased backlog, and other indicators that the second half of the year should represent the majority of revenue distribution for 2019.

S. Kent Rockwell, ExOne’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Order activity started strong this year, building backlog in support of our expectations for robust revenue growth for 2019 and reinforcing our excitement around the building momentum for our binder jetting printing technology. As we told you in March, our revenue in the first quarter was below last year’s first quarter as a result of timing, and we remain confident in our outlook for a strong second quarter. Importantly, our focus on profitable growth is demonstrated in the measurable reduction in operating expenses and we expect to realize strong operating leverage as we grow through the year.”

He added, “We are enthusiastic about our ongoing new product development efforts. Our new X1 25PRO larger format fine powder direct printing machine is receiving positive reviews during beta tests. Additionally, development of our new advanced indirect machine is progressing well. We continue to work closely with customers to identify innovative application opportunities, to further the adoption of binder jetting technology for additive manufacturing.”

Full results available here.

3D Printing Industry News - Week 18, 2019

Week 18, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Smash-Proof Auction

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Yngwie Malmsteen signs the guitar (Image: Sandvik)

A rockstar-proof guitar could be yours, for the right price.

The advanced guitar, created with metal 3D printing and precise milling by a team of skilled engineers from Sandvik, withstood the full rockstar treatment. That is, Yngwie Malmsteen played the guitar on stage and following his smashing performance, tried to smash the guitar. Despite his vast experience in guitar smashing, the piece withstood his efforts. And now that strong, highly engineered instrument is up for auction. The 10-day auction runs through May 12 and is already in full swing; as of the time of writing on the first day, bids are up to $4,050.

“This guitar is a beast! Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours, I can relate to that,” Malmsteen said. “The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”

Week 18, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Solvay AM Cup Winners

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(Image: Solvay)

Solvay’s annual AM Cup has now named its top prizes for 2019.

The AM Cup is a student-focused international competition that challenges competitors to 3D print using Solvay’s Radel PPSU filament. This year, Solvay reports, “winners were selected from 35 student teams from 32 universities across three continents.” Dimensional accuracy, mechanical performance, and creativity were evaluated in challenges to 3D print a tensile bar and a wavy pressure pipe. The student teams were very much up to the challenge this year, and the winning team — Gekko Performance from the Technical University of Munich — achieved the most impressive results. Second and third place (PPSUsual and PPSUPER, respectively, both of Ghent University) were separated by “very little” as they also produced excellent results. Prizes awarded were €10,000, €5,000, and €3,000 for the top three.

“It was inspiring to see the various approaches to solving the challenges of fused filament fabrication (FFF) such as bed adhesion and chamber temperature management. The winning team demonstrated once more that 3D printed parts can virtually match the performance and quality of conventional injection molded parts, provided material, hardware, and process are optimised together,” said Ryan Hammonds, R&D platform manager for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit and president of the AM Cup Jury. “We look forward to sharing with our customers the benefits gained from this edition of the Solvay AM Cup for 3D printing the best possible PPSU parts for applications in various industries such as aerospace, healthcare and industrial.”

Week 18, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest NCDMM and America Makes Announce New Program, Reorganizations

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Logos for America Makes (left) and NCDMM (right)

America Makes and NCDMM have announced a new supply chain-focused program as well as their own executive restructuring.

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which NCDMM manages, have had a very busy week. First they announced a partnership with Catalyst Connection to launch AMNOW. The new program is designed to support the integration of additive manufacturing technology into the supply chain for the US Army. Military supply chains are critical, and enabling closer-to-the-troops production of spare parts and more can cut costs and time significantly. AMNOW is “potentially” a multi-phase, multi-year contract. The first phase, funded to the tune of $3.7 million, is underway to provide the foundation for future project work.

Petra Mitchell, Catalyst Connection President and CEO, added, “Catalyst Connection has maintained an ongoing strategic partnership with NCDMM since its inception. With the AMNOW Program, we are excited to play an integral role in advancing AM technologies into the U.S. Army’s supply chain while growing our region’s manufacturing capabilities. The AMNOW Program signifies a tremendous regional economic growth opportunity for small- to medium-sized manufactures within the SWPA region. By developing a fully integrated plan to help these local manufactures adopt AM technologies and demonstrate the return on investment of AM for them would be an economic game-changer for the manufacturing sector of our region.”

On the heels of the introduction of AMNOW, NCDMM and America Makes had their own announcements to make. Leadership at the top of both organizations is shifting. Effective May 1, NCDMM’s President and CEO, Ralph Resnick, is stepping down from this position. Incoming President and CEO is current NCDMM Board Member Dean L. Bartles, Ph.D., FSME, FASME. Resnick will be continuing to work with NCDMM in a new position as the Vice President of Strategy — as well as helping in another transition.

Resnick, the Founding Executive Director of America Makes, will be functioning in a strategic advisory role as the organization bids farewell to Executive Director Rob Gorham. Gorham, who has been the Executive Director of America Makes for two years, with a six-year NCDMM tenure, has announced his resignation as of the end of May “to pursue other opportunities.” While a permanent successor has not yet been named, the Acting Executive Director as of June 1 will be John Wilczynski. Wilczynski, currently the Technology Director, will see his role turned over to NCDMM VP and CTO Randy Gilmore, who at that time will take on the role of Acting Technology Director.

“The NCDMM is thriving and these changes simple reflect not only the ongoing evolution of a growing organization, but also the flourishing professional careers of individuals,” Dr. Bartles said of all the changes.

Week 18, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest 3Diligent Expands On-Demand Manufacturing Network

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(image: 3diligent)

California-based 3Diligent has significantly expanded its global manufacturing network.

The company offers 3D printing alongside a good many other manufacturing capabilities including machining, casting, and injection molding through a vast, vetted network of qualified digital manufacturing facilities. Now that network encompasses almost 250 contract manufacturing partners in more than a dozen countries spanning six continents — and 1,2000 machines. Each of the partners has been qualified for consistent quality, offering results consistent with 3Diligent’s quality standards. The breadth of the network now means that more customers around the world have closer access to on-demand manufacturing, localizing production and reducing time and costs of shipping and streamlining tracking and project management.

“The promise and power of digital manufacturing – especially 3D Printing – lies in its ability to quickly and easily get the same part made in different places using the same 3D design file,” said 3Diligent CEO Cullen Hilkene. “We are proud to have qualified and networked expert manufacturing partners around the world who are capable of making this vision of the future a reality.”

Week 18, 2019 3D Printing Industry News Digest Q1 Results Roll In: Materialise and Statasys

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Materialise and Stratasys have announced their Q1 2019 results this week.

Belgium-based Materialise shows a strong first quarter with a 7.3% revenue increase. The company lists the highlights:

  • Total revenue increased 7.3% to 47,115 kEUR for the first quarter of 2019 from 43,899 kEUR for the first quarter of 2018.
  • Total deferred revenue from annual software sales and maintenance contracts increased by 2,305 kEUR to 24,911 kEUR from 22,606 kEUR at the end of 2018.
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 12% from the first quarter of 2018 to 5,829 kEUR for the first quarter of 2019.
    Net loss for the first quarter of 2019 was (304) kEUR, or (0.01) EUR per diluted share, compared to (183) kEUR, or 0.00 EUR per diluted share, over the same period last year.

Executive Chairman Peter Leys commented, “In the year’s opening quarter, all three of our segments performed well. Materialise Software and Materialise Medical, which continue to invest in both sales and marketing and research and development, combined healthy double-digit revenue growth rates with solid double-digit EBITDA margins. In spite of the continuing macro-economic uncertainties, in particular in the automotive sector, Materialise Manufacturing also realized growth, both in terms of revenue and, more significantly, in terms of EBITDA. We believe we are on track to meet our financial guidance for 2019.”

Full results are available here.

Israel- and Minnesota-based Stratasys has also had a strong showing for Q1, with a bump up in revenue and a lower operating loss. The company highlights:

  • Revenue for the first quarter of 2019 was $155.3 million, compared to $153.8 million for the same period last year.
  • GAAP gross margin was 49.2% for the quarter, unchanged from the same period last year.
  • Non-GAAP gross margin was 52.0% for the quarter, compared to 52.8% for the same period last year.
  • GAAP operating loss for the quarter was $3.3 million, compared to operating loss of $6.5 million for the same period last year.
  • Non-GAAP operating income for the quarter was $6.8 million, compared to non-GAAP operating income of $4.9 million for the same period last year.
  • GAAP net loss for the quarter was $2.3 million, or ($0.04) per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $13.0 million, or ($0.24) per diluted share, for the same period last year.
  • Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $5.7 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $2.7 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, reported for the same period last year.
  • The Company generated $4.6 million of cash from operations during the first quarter and ended the period with $367.8 million of cash and cash equivalents.

“We are pleased with our first quarter top-line results, and are particularly encouraged by the continuation of the strong performance we have seen in North America over the last several quarters, demonstrating steady adoption of our systems and materials in our largest market,” said Elchanan (Elan) Jaglom, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Stratasys. “We are also pleased with our non-GAAP profitability in the first quarter, demonstrating our continued commitment to controlling expenses and delivering shareholder value. Our recent new product introductions are generating significant interest from our customers and expanding our addressable markets, and we look forward to additional announcements as we move through 2019 and into 2020.”

Full results are available here.

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