3D Printing News Briefs, July 18, 2020: DOMO & RPD, AMPM2021, Alloyed

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, DOMO Chemicals and RPD have announced a partnership related to a Sinterline initiative. The 2021 AMPM event is calling for technical papers related to metal additive manufacturing. Finally, Alloyed has won a prestigious award.

DOMO Chemicals and RPD Partnering

DOMO’s Sinterline PA6 powders combined with RPD’s SLS printer, modified and upgraded by LSS, enable OEMs to step up their 3D printed parts performance. (Photo courtesy of RPD)

Polyamide solutions provider DOMO Chemicals and Rapid Product Development GmbH (RPD), a specialist in prototyping and serial production of complex parts and assemblies, have formed a strategic partnership for the purposes of speeding up the growth of plastic materials for selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing. The collaboration will merge the continuing development of DOMO’s Sinterline Technyl PA6 SLS powder materials with a package of support services for SLS technology, benefiting from RPD’s expertise in application development and the SLS process. Sinterline PA6 powders are an oft-used nylon in the industry, especially by demanding markets like automotive.

“Sinterline® has pioneered the use of high-performance PA6 in 3D printing, and allows us to leverage the same polymer base that has proven so successful in many existing injection molding applications. Backed by the joint application development services of our companies, even highly stressed automotive components can now be successfully 3D printed in PA6 to near-series and fully functional quality standards,” stated Wolfgang Kraschitzer, General Manager and Plastics Processing Leader at RPD.

AMPM Conference Seeking Papers and Posters

The Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy Conference (AMPM2021) will be held in Orlando, Florida from June 20-23, 2021. While this may seem far in the future, the event’s program committee is looking ahead, and has issued a call for technical papers and posters that are focused on new developments in the metal additive manufacturing market. Stuart Jackson, Renishaw, Inc., and Sunder Atre, University of Louisville, the technical program co-chairman, are asking for abstracts that cover any aspect of metal AM, such as sintering, materials, applications, particulate production, post-build operations, and more.

“As the only annual additive manufacturing/3D printing conference focused on metal, the AMPM conferences provide the latest R&D in this thriving technology. The continued growth of the metal AM industry relies on technology transfer of the latest research and development, a pivotal function of AMPM2021,” said James P. Adams, Executive Director and CEO of the Metal Powder Industries Federation.

The submission deadline for abstracts is November 13, 2020, and must be submitted to the co-located PowderMet2021: International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials.

Alloyed Wins IOP Business Award

Alloys By Design (ABD)

UK company Alloyed, formerly OxMet Technologies, has won a prestigious award from the Institute of Physics (IOP), the learned society and professional body for physics. The IOP is committed to working with business based in physics, and its Business Awards recognize the contributions made by physicists in industry. Alloyed has won the IOP Business Start-up Award, which OxMet submitted for consideration before merging with Betatype to form Alloyed, and recognizes the team’s hard work in developing its digital platform Alloys By Design (ABD). This platform is helping to set new metal material development standards, including the commercialization of Alloyed’s ABD-850AM and ABD-900AM alloys for additive manufacturing.

“Everything we do in every bit of our business rests on the foundations provided by physics, and we’re delighted that the judges believe we have made a contribution to the field,” Alloyed CEO Michael Holmes said about winning the IOP Business award.

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3D Printing News Briefs, July 3, 2020: ExOne, 3D Printz & Monoprice, CNPC, Liqcreate

We’re talking about business and materials in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First, the ExOne Company has been added to the Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes, while 3D Printz has signed a distribution deal with Monoprice. Moving on, CNPC is introducing a new aluminum alloy powder for additive manufacturing, and Liqcreate has released its own new 3D printing material.

ExOne Added to Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes

This week, the ExOne Company announced that it has officially been added to the Russell 2000® and 3000® Indexes. FTSE International Limited, trading as FTSE Russell, is a British provider, wholly owned by the London Stock Exchange, that creates and manages a variety of stock market indexes, data, and analytic solutions in order to meet its clients needs. Roughly $15 trillion is presently benchmarked to its indexes, now including ExOne, which was added after the 2020 Russell annual reconstitution of its indexes closed at the end of the US stock market’s day on June 26th.

“We are optimistic about our long-term growth prospects and believe that the inclusion of ExOne in the Russell indexes is validation of the progress we are making with our binder jetting 3D printing technology, the strength of our backlog and the breadth of our updated machine portfolio,” stated ExOne CEO John Hartner. “We look forward to the increased exposure to the investment community.”

3D Printz Signs Distribution Deal with Monoprice

3D Printz director Peter Roberts with the Monoprice printer

3D printing specialist 3D Printz Limited is now the UK supplier of Monoprice 3D printers after signing a distribution deal with the company. The Monoprice printer that 3D Printz is currently stocking comes fully assembled, and at an affordable price as well, which is why the Shropshire company, already a distributor for Magigoo, 3D Gloop!, Micro Swiss LLC, and Antclabs, is glad to supply it. Through this new partnership, will be able to provide some of Monoprice’s 7,000 affordable, high-quality products to customers.

“Our collaboration with 3D Printz means we have a reliable partner to help grow our business in the UK 3D printing industry,” said Christoph Esser, Monoprice sales director for Europe. “We are hoping to expand our working relationship to include more items from our product line before the end of this year.”

CNPC Produces New Aluminum Alloy Powder for AM

Vancouver-based company CNPC Powder announced that its Automated Metal Production (AMP) line is now producing a brand new range of aluminum alloy powder designed specifically for powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing. The company already produces many other metal powders, including copper and iron alloys, stainless steel, and nickel, and its new aluminum alloy material exhibits good sphericity and flowability. CNPC says that the material could be valuable to large-volume additive manufacturing applications in the aerospace and automotive industries.

“We have achieved success with our AMP line and suite of Al alloys by redesigning atomisation beyond existing atomisation capabilities, such as VIGA, PREP and EIGA. This bottom-up redesign has allowed for increased efficiency and lower production costs, all while improving flowability and sphericity, almost eliminating impurities, and increasing output,” the company stated.

Liqcreate Releasing New Material on 4th of July

Professional-grade 3D printing materials manufacturer Liqcreate has announced that its latest material, Liqcreate Flexible-X, will be available for purchase through its distributor network starting on July 4th. The soft material, perfect for open source DLP, LCD, and SLA 3D-printers in the 385 – 420 nm range, is an opaque black photopolymer with 55 Shore A hardness, excellent tear strength, and an elongation up to 160%.

With its durability, excellent rebound, and toughness, Flexible-X, part of Liqcreate’s line of engineering materials, is a great choice for manufacturing industrial-grade flexible touch and elastic parts.

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COVID-19: Ivaldi’s Nora Toure on 3D Printing and the Supply Chain

Last year, Nora Toure made a very interesting talk on the impact of 3D printing on the global supply chain. The topic was a prescient one, given the events to come in 2020. In turn, I have interviewed Toure about how the topic has evolved since the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a year since you last gave your talk on how 3D printing will disrupt the global supply chain. Can you give a review of the supply chain and 3D printing between that talk and now?

A lot has happened since then, as far as implementing Ivaldi Group’s distributed manufacturing solution! Since my TEDx talk on disrupting supply chains with additive manufacturing, we’ve delivered the world’s first maritime spare parts on merchant vessels, we continued digitizing, optimizing and reviewing performance of thousands of spare parts, not only in maritime, but also in automotive, construction and mining.

The world’s first 3D-printed scupper plug.

I believe the adoption of additive manufacturing in supply chains optimization will be boosted in the next few months as heavy industries will go back to business and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential of additive manufacturing goes beyond technical comparison between materials and manufacturing process. Shipping, warehousing,  procurement, CO2 emissions, downtime are all savings that need to be taken into account when comparing current supply chain models to distributed manufacturing enhanced supply chains.

A closer look at the first 3D-printed scupper plug.

We have experienced COVID-19 the world over and it has almost completely changed the way we have been doing things. Have you noticed an impact on 3D printing in the global supply chain, particular as a disruptive technology?

As much as I’d rather COVID-19 wasn’t our new reality, I have to admit I’ve been impressed by our additive manufacturing community. It’s fantastic to see how we’ve organized ourselves in such a short amount of time. What strikes me the most is how fast individuals, but also companies of various sizes organize themselves and build their own supply chains, from designing and testing, producing, sanitizing and getting the PPE to the hospitals.

I see disruption of supply chains on two levels:

  1. Simplification of supply chains, with a more limited number of intermediaries and a collaborative approach in product sourcing and design are leading to efficient supply chains, even when triggered by individuals,

  2. Removing shipping from supply chains and focusing on sending files rather than physical products is not only fastening the entire process and saving on CO2 emissions, it’s also now proven that it’s improving efficiency all over

Interestingly, you are the founder and president of Women in 3D Printing. What role is your organization playing in 3D printing in the global supply chain, if any?

Since we do not provide parts nor any technology service, it was a bit challenging to see how we could contribute in manufacturing [personal protection equipment]. I was involved on a personal level in some local initiatives, but I wanted to keep Wi3DP agnostic because, again, we don’t have a full-time team nor employees we could dedicate to any project.

That being said, being a large community, we get information. So, our contribution has been to provide a directory of those 3D printing responses.

But I have to say, I am impressed with the work our ambassadors have done during this time, as many of them have been involved with local 3D printing responses to COVID-19.

How do you view the impact of 3D printing in the supply chain for developing nations, particularly in Africa?

Wherever supply chains aren’t fully developed and established, I believe there is an opportunity to adopt distributed manufacturing solutions sooner and implement those strategies faster.

Organizations such as 3DAfrica are doing a great job at enabling local businesses adopting 3D printing. This could be taken a step further with corporates adopting the technology as well.

Role of Additive Manufacturing in Supply Chain courtesy of Croftam UK.

What is your financial outlook for 3D printing in the supply chain in the next five years, especially after the effects of COVID-19. Do you see a rise in financial growth for 3D printing services in the supply chain or a drop?

The savings enabled by on-demand distributed manufacturing, enabled by 3D printing services, are so big and are impacting, from a financial point of view, more than unit parts cost comparison. The impact is the entire supply chain—on warehousing, shipping, delivery etc.—that it just makes sense to switch some of the traditionally sourced spare parts to additive manufacturing.

 

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Royal DSM Acquires Portion of Clariant 3D Printing Materials

Royal DSM has announced that it will be taking over portions of the 3D printing portfolio of Swiss chemical giant Clariant, representing a somewhat dramatic shift in the additive manufacturing (AM) materials market. Specifically, DSM will now have a larger collection of filament, pellet and powder products for 3D printing.

The 3D printing materials space has become a competitive one since an increasing number of established chemical companies began entering the space. Among them was Clariant, a near $6.5 billion spin-off of Sandoz, once known as the inventors of LSD but which has since become Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In 2017, Clariant launched its 3D printing business and, only three years later, Clariant has determined that AM materials don’t fit within its general strategy, though it will keep a foot in the market with its additives and flame retardants.

Clariant 3D Printer Filament.

The Dutch nutrition, health and materials multinational DSM, meanwhile, has been in the additive materials business for over 25 years and has been rapidly increasing its growth in the space particularly in recent years. Its finance capital arm, DSM Ventures, has poured money into a number of projects, including material startup Adaptive3D, smart inkjet 3D printing company Inkbit, post-processing firm Additive Manufacturing Technologies and Voxel8, a startup dedicated to multimaterial 3D printing. DSM continues to expand its materials horizons, as well, focusing on such pellet-based extrusion and flame retardant filament, among others.

DSM’s glass-reinforced Arnite AM8527 PET 3D printing material. Image courtesy of Royal DSM.

Clariant is handing over several staff members, its background in powder development, a piece of its filament and pellet materials portfolio to DSM. Additionally included is a small production line for manufacturing small batches of materials, as well as some operations dedicated to 3D printing customer relations.

DSM suggests that these acquisitions will not only increase its overall product portfolio, but will allow for more agile production with “faster product tweaks based on application needs” due to both the expertise of the Clariant team that will be joining DSM and a “dedicated, highly flexible and high-speed compounding setup.”

Joris Peels, 3DPrint.com Executive Editor and SmarTech analyst, provided his insight into the news, saying, “[I loved] their rail product; the packaging was awesome, the marketing was really good; it was very slick and well done. It was smart of them to use their compounding and additives expertise to make flame retardant and other highly functional products. If the Clariant team brings its agility and speed, as well as application knowledge, to DSM it should make the [Dutch] giant nimbler.”

In particular, Peels noted how quick the Clariant team was in the market, adding that the acquisition could provide DSM with its mark in 3D printing filaments:

“Relative to other polymer companies the Clariant team really our executed and in a very rapid manner met the market with high quality compounds and filaments for specific applications. Clariants products, filaments, compounds and the selected additives are all very high grade and their products were very application focused and ahead of the curve,” Peels said. “DSM has yet to really make a mark in filaments and the Clariant teams’ agility and market knowledge could give DSM the edge that it seeks on application focused FDM filaments.”

As DSM continues to grow in the additive space, it will be competing against the likes of BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, which is also making serious moves within the space and at a rapid pace. The most notable and recent may be the purchase of 3D printing service bureau Sculpteo, as well as its large investments in Materialise and Essentium. As these transformations continue to occur in materials, we will certainly see the AM industry as a whole change shape in new and unexpected ways.

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Made In Space Acquired by New Space Company Redwire

In an era of endless mega-mergers and acquisitions, perhaps nearly every startup’s dream is to one day become big enough to be bought out. That dream has now been fulfilled by Made In Space (MIS), the company to first install a 3D printer in the International Space Station (ISS). MIS has announced that it was purchased by a firm called Redwire.

Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility, the first commercial 3D printer in space. Image courtesy of Made In Space.

MIS is already well-known in the additive sector for its work in 3D printing in space. In addition to the aforementioned ISS machine, the company subsequently sent up the first commercial system in space. This allowed customers to print objects on the ISS. Other projects explored by MIS include the Archinaut, a system meant for the additive construction of large-scale objects, such as satellites, in space, as well as in-space fiber optics pulling, material recycling, and metal 3D printing.

While, in many cases, corporate buyouts are performed by much more established businesses to grow their portfolios, MIS has announced that it was purchased by Redwire, a seemingly unknown new space company. Part of the reason for Redwire’s lack of name recognition is the fact that it was only formed in June 2020, the result of strategy by private equity firm AE Industrial Partners. AEI acquired two other space firms, Adcole Space and Deep Space Systems (DSS), earlier in 2020 to form Redwire. The company’s goal is to be a leader in “mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy.”

In the new space industry, there is plenty of opportunity to take advantage of media and investment hype due to the fact that much of the sectors goals are on a very protracted timeline. Mining on earth has already proven to be ripe for fraud, as discovery and extracting valuable metals can take years to achieve and may never be realized, allowing the purported mining operations to cover up financial malfeasance. Mining asteroids in space is that much more abstract.

For this reason, it would pay to be skeptical of nearly any new space company. However, whereas Redwire may have come out of the blue, AEI and the companies purchased have much more established histories. AEI was founded in 1998 to expand middle market aerospace companies using its team of over 30 investment staff and resulting in the closure of 46 acquisitions.

The team is made up of numerous aerospace veterans, with Managing Partner David Rowe having served at GE Aerospace and GE Capital before becoming executive vice president at Gulfstream Financial Services Corp. and then building AEI. Other members worked at such companies as UBS, Boeing, GE and Hawker Beechcraft, with some serving as U.S. federal officials, including former acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan.

Commercial Lunar Payload Services Small Lunar Lander from Deep Space Systems. Image courtesy of Deep Space Systems.

Both DSS and Adcole Space are fixtures in the space industry, with DSS involved in the development and management of space systems, including parts and spacecraft. Since its founding in 2001, DSS has created complete spacecraft, data recovery systems, fully qualified payloads and has been involved in projects related to the Space Shuttle, ISS, Orion, Dream Chaser and more. Adcole Space was founded in 1957, when it began working on satellite technology that has since been used in hundreds of low-earth orbit, geosynchronous and interplanetary spacecraft, including missions to Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.

The purchase of MIS is meant to expand Redwire’s portfolio from space sensors and payloads, flight hardware and space craft to include MIS’s in-space manufacturing technology.

Of the acquisition, Redwire CEO Peter Cannito said, “To truly realize the full potential for space exploration, innovation must change the economics. Made In Space has been driving these innovations and is now positioned to revolutionize the industry.”

Cannito, it is worth noting, worked as an operating partner at AEI after serving as CEO of Polaris Alpha, a developer of technology for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

In other words, while Redwire may be new as a business entity, its team is not, and MIS is joining what may be an altogether formidable group of space experts. It will be taking along with it its sister company, Made In Space Europe, which develops space-capable robotic systems. In addition to its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, MIS has offices in California, Alabama and Ohio. Andrew Rush, president and chief executive officer of MIS, said that the purchase by Redwire would allow the company to grow and advance its technology.

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3D Printing News Briefs, June 10, 2020: 3D Systems, nTopology, Jellypipe

We’re discussing an upcoming event and some business news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. 3D Systems is holding a virtual trade show next month. nTopology and Yamaichi have signed an agreement, and a 3D printing platform has announced the onboarding of Europe’s largest purchasing and marketing association for industrial B2B.

3D Systems Holding Virtual Trade Show

On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 3D Systems will be holding an exclusive virtual trade show centered on helping manufacturers keep their competitive advantage by using digital manufacturing solutions to fix supply chain dependencies, streamline supplier distribution, reduce supply interruptions, and lower risk. By integrating both additive and subtractive technologies into the environment, businesses can improve their productivity and agility, and offer customers new innovations. 3D Systems’ own Phil Schultz, Executive Vice President, Operations, and Radhika Krishnan, Executive Vice President and General Manager – Software, will give the keynote address for the event.

“Phil Schultz and Radhika Krishnan outline the essence of agile manufacturing, explaining in practical terms how to transform your environment to deliver a digital end-to-end manufacturing workflow that is fit for today and perfect for tomorrow.”

The event will kick off at 9:30 am EST and, in addition to the keynote, will include live webinar presentations and a virtual exhibit hall. Register here. If you’re unavailable to attend on the day of, the virtual trade show will be available on demand for the 30 days following the event.

nTopology and Yamaichi Sign MoU

Software startup nTopology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Yamaichi Special Steel (YSS) to bring its next-generation nTop software platform to Japan. YSS is part of the automotive and heavy industry manufacturing supply chain in Japan, and its additive division promotes 3D printing and DfAM in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. The two have set up a reseller and service agreement, where YSS will bring nTop to its Japanese customers, providing support and training to users. Then, the Cognitive Additive solution of YSS will be connected to the nTop platform, to help users predict cost and printability.

To kick off the partnership, the YSS Additive Manufacturing team used topology optimization to redesign a brake caliper. As the part is used in a high temperature and fatigue environment, YSS designed a TPMS-based heat exchanger for the caliper, and also added an oil circuit and shielding surfaces. The brake caliper was 3D printed out of aluminum alloy AlSi10 using laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) technology.

Jellypipe Onboards PVH Future LAB and E/D/E

German 3D printing platform Jellypipe uses its Jellypipe Eco-system to help companies take their 3D business to the next level, and features a comprehensive marketplace and the largest 3D printing factory in the D-A-CH region. Now, it’s announced the onboarding of PVH Future LAB, an innovation platform for technology-driven business models, and Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler GmbH (E/D/E), which drives PVH and is the largest purchasing and marketing association for industrial B2B in Europe. Both will now connect to the Jellypipe Eco-system.

“With Jellypipe’s 3D ecosystem – the connection with 3D specialists and our partners is a most important step in the digital automation and supply of 3D printed parts,” said Thilo Brocksch and Frederik Diergarten, both General Managers at PVH FUTURE LAB GmbH. “We can now offer our customers a new and wide process range for 3D printed products.”

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3D Printing News Briefs May 31, 2020: M. Holland, Nexa3D, Formlabs

We’re sharing materials and business news with you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First up, M. Holland is distributing Braskem polypropylene filament, and Nexa3D has launched a new high-performance polymer material, in addition to partnering with 3DZ. Finally, Formlabs is expanding its APAC management teams.

M. Holland Distributing Braskem’s Polypropylene

Thermoplastic resins distributor M. Holland Company is partnering with Braskem to exclusively distribute the petrochemical company’s new high-performance 3D printing polypropylene (PP) filament, enhancing its own material offerings in order to better support clients with applications development and prototype creation. Polypropylene typically has high failure rates with 3D printing, so M. Holland’s AM engineers tested out Braskem’s PP material first, and found that it generates clean surfaces, great layer adhesion, and better surface performance in support material. It features a proprietary formula, which allows users to achieve low warpage, consistent extrusion, and high stability, in addition to less stringing and more repeatable outcomes.

“The 3D printing market has seen increased adoption of additive manufacturing technologies and applications due to machinery commoditization and expanded material offerings. Our partnership to distribute Braskem’s 3D printing polypropylene products will enable injection molders to finally use genuinely 3D printable and easy-to-use polypropylene, opening up a world of applications,” said Haleyanne Freedman, Market Manager, 3D Printing at M. Holland.

Nexa3D Launches High-Performance xCE-Black Polymer

Belt pulleys 3D printed on NXE400 with xCE-Black

This week, stereolithography 3D printer manufacturer Nexa3D launched its new high-performance polymer material, xCE-Black, which is meant for high-speed printing of injection molding tools, heavy duty parts, and end-use plastic components, such as belt pulleys. Extensive testing by the company found that the single cure polymer exhibits long-term environmental stability and great isotropic properties, which makes it perfect for electronics, industrial, and automotive applications. xCE-BLack also has excellent thermal stability and higher flexural strength.

Brent Zollinger, Customer Success Lead at Nexa3D, stated, “When I needed to produce thousands of belt pulleys in our flexible factory overnight, I selected our new xCE-Black material for the job because of its high flexural strength and long-term stability. Within the first 2.5 hours into the project, I was able to print 2,000 pulleys in a single build or 13 parts every minute. That’s really fast and extremely practical for serial production of industrial parts.”

Nexa3D Announces Reseller Partnership with 3DZ

More news today from Nexa3D, as the company is entering the southern European 3D printing market thanks to a new reseller partnership with 3DZ Group, the largest AM value-added reseller in that region and an authorized dealer of 3D printers and scanners for some of the industry’s biggest names, including Artec 3D, Formlabs, HP, Markforged, Materialise, and 3D Systems. 3DZ has offered AM services and consultancy to the industry for several years, and will be able to help grow Nexa3D’s global reseller network so the company can increase the distribution of its flagship NXE400 3D printer.

“It is full speed ahead for us at Nexa3D as we continue to expand our global reseller network, and we’re honored to partner with a company with the vision, reach and proven performance of 3DZ. Manufacturers are adapting processes to become much more agile in their design and resilient in their supply chain in the face of changing circumstances. We believe that our products are at the heart of enabling customers to make that adjustment by converting current 3D printing speeds from dialup internet to broadband-like productivity,” said Avi Reichental, the Executive Chairman and CEO of Nexa3D. “We’re very excited to build together with 3DZ the future of design agility and supply chain resiliency for the benefit of our mutual customers.”

Formlabs Expanding APAC Management Teams

L-R: Jiadong Sun, Yoshinori Hasebe

This week, Formlabs announced that it is expanding its management team for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region by appointing two new hires, in order to continue growing its global operations and scale its growth in these markets. Jiadong Sun, with broad experience leading global sales and marketing at top tech companies across several industries, will be joining the team as the China General Manager, while Yoshinori Hasebe, who brings over 20 years of management experience at multinational companies to the table, will serve as the Japan General Manager. Together, they will help guide the company’s business strategy in these new markets, so that Formlabs users in the APAC region can continue to localize manufacturing and reduce costs and lead times with 3D printing and rapid iteration.

“As Formlabs continues to expand our global operations, Jiadong and Yoshinori will provide strategic guidance as we expand and scale in the important APAC region. These appointments will enable Formlabs to remain at the forefront of 3D printing as needs for additive manufacturing in major industries, including healthcare, continue to grow,” said Luke Winston, Chief Business Officer of Formlabs.

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

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Additive Industries CEO Daan Kersten Steps Down as Firm Receives $14M Investment

One of a newer generation of metal laser powder bed fusion (PBF) manufacturers, Additive Industries is continuing to grow rapidly. The latest news is a $14 million investment from its existing shareholder, Highlands Beheer. With the funds, the company aims to expand its product portfolio, speed up its technological development strategy and shore up its working capital. This last use for the investment is meant to ensure financial resilience for the company amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outgoing Additive Industries CEO Daan Kersten (L) with Jonas Wintermans (R). Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

Highlands has acquired the shares of the startup’s CEO and co-founder, Daan Kersten, who will leave the company by June 30, 2020. In the interim, Chief Technology Officer Mark Vaes, who has been with Additive Industries since 2013, will fill the role. Kersten said of the decision:

“This substantial investment confirms the long-term commitment of Highlands to the growth ambitions of the company and it allows Additive Industries to make yet another significant step on its mission to revolutionize the productivity for the additive manufacturing of high-quality metal parts. After eight intense years of fast growth I feel the time is right to make way and hand over the reins to new leadership.”

The firm has quickly rolled out a modular metal PBF system with a high degree of automation and throughput. By reducing the need for operator intervention, the MetalFAB1 system is able to produce parts more rapidly, with pre- and post-processing operations happening in parallel to the build job. The next step in its roadmap was the development with SMS Group of automated factories called the Scale4Series, in which parts can be printed and post-processed automatically. In the process, Additive Industries has earned a number of high profile partners and clients, including Airbus/APWORKS, Volkswagen and the Sauber F1 team.

Cutaway of the MetalFab1 from Additive Industries. Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

As Highlands is increasing its share of the 3D printing firm, it’s worthwhile to learn a bit more about the company. In fact, Highlands now says that it owns Additive Industries, in addition to a cigar machinery manufacturer, ATD Machinery, and NTS Group, which produces optomechatronic systems and mechanical modules for original equipment manufacturers. Interestingly, the CEO of NTS is also stepping down this August.

A rendering of the Scale4Series in development by Additive Industries and SMS Group. Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

Highlands is owned by the Wintermans, a Dutch family that founded and ran Royal Agio Cigars, one of the largest cigar manufacturing businesses in Europe, before selling it to Scandinavian Tobacco Group last year. The family divvied up 10 million Euros among its employees as a part of the deal. Highlands maintains its ATD business, meaning that it will continue to focus on the tech side of cigar making, but its investment in Additive Industries and its ownership of NTS Group signifies a continued shift in the family’s business operations overall, which previously had been making cigars since 1904. The sale of Royal Agio seems to suggest that the transition of Highlands from a cigar company to a tech company is near complete.

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3D Printing News Briefs, May 18, 2020: Fraunhofer, Formnext, Visagio & DiManEx, BCN3D Technologies

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, Fraunhofer will soon discuss adoption of Industry 4.0-related technologies in a webinar, and we’ve learned that Formnext 2020 is still planned for this November. Moving on, Visagio and DiManEx have announced a partnership. Finally, BCN3D’s technology was used to make an interesting event installation.

Fraunhofer’s Industry 4.0 Webinar

Tomorrow, May 19th, the Fraunhofer Project Center (FPC) at the University of Twente will be holding a free webinar called “The Road to Digitalisation” that explains some of the challenges in adopting technologies related to Industry 4.0, such as 3D printing, as well as the solutions. Industry 4.0 is about optimization, and can offer companies many benefits, such as increased revenue, better quality, and reduced cycle times and costs. But, it can be a tough journey to start, and companies looking to start could use some help.

“Industry 4.0 is all about optimization; from managing big data to efficiency in the production line. All this aims at enabling businesses to make quicker, smarter decisions while minimizing costs. This webinar sets out to explain the challenges and to offer solutions in the adoption of I4.0 related technologies.”

The webinar, featuring Join Biba Visnjicki, Managing Director of FPC, and Thomas Vollmer, Head of Production Quality Dept. from Fraunhofer IPT, will last 60 minutes; register for free here.

Formnext 2020 Still a Go in Frankfurt

As many places in the world are cautiously reopening after recent mass shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to look to the future. In that vein, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH is still planning to hold the AM industry’s biggest event, formnext 2020, this November 10-13. Recently, the Federal Government and the Federal States of Germany ruled that trade shows are no longer under the ‘major events’ category for health risks, but the health of all the employees, exhibitors, and visitors are still considered the highest priority if the event does indeed take place this fall. That’s why the exhibition organizer is working around the clock to develop an updated health concept, such as introducing contact tracing and decreasing visitor density, along with a supplementary digital/virtual program.

“We remain convinced of the unique value and advantages of a physical exhibition. And although digital interaction will never be able to replace face-to-face contact, it does offer more scope than previously thought possible only a few weeks ago,” stated Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

“Ultimately, even in these challenging times, we want to organize a trade show that is as responsive as possible to the current situation and the needs of participants and the market.”

Visagio and DiManEx Partnering to Improve AM Supply Chains

(Image: DiManEx)

Management consultancy Visagio Ltd and DiManEx BV are partnering to strengthen end-to-end 3D printing usage in supply chains. Companies are looking to conquer supply base disruptions, and by pairing Visagio’s supply chain services with DiManEx’s end-to-end 3D printing platform, they can do so by digitizing their inventory and 3D printing parts on demand, which can delivered all over the world. The collaboration is a representation of how both companies address market needs, especially in these challenging times as COVID-19 disrupts the global supply and demand process.

“Companies are increasingly looking for ways to optimize their supply chains and mitigate risks, such as those brought about by pandemics or geo-political tensions. Our platform embeds 3D printing in supply chains easily, realising the concept of ‘Digital Inventory at your Fingertips, Ordered at a Click of a Button’. Coupled with Visagio’s industry and management expertise, this is a winning combination for supply chain optimization,” said Tibor van Melsem Kocsis, the Founder and CEO of DiManEx.

3D Printed Cisco Live 2020 Installation

Thanks to 3D printing, it was possible to quickly iterate not only the main design, but also all the smaller parts of the internal mechanisms.

Speaking of collaborations, Barcelona data interpretation firm and design studio Domestic Data Streamers pairs data and arts with storytelling to develop “participatory projects” for community building and education. Its workshop has long used 3D printers from BCN3D Technologies, and recently turned to the technology again to create an installation for the Cisco Live 2020 event. The studio wanted to give attendees “a better experience” by displaying the event schedule on an interactive Recommendation Wall of clickable screens; once clicked, the animated image turned into a QR code, which visitors could scan for more information. The screens had to be custom-made, and so Domestic Data Streamers turned to its in-house printer farm, and the BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer. They used PETG to print over 40 of the main covers in just four weeks, which equaled major cost savings.

“The printers work very well, we count on a very high success ratio, and the support from the team is always quick and helpful,” said Pol Trias, the Head of Design at Domestic Data Streamers.

“It gave us great agility when it comes to functionally and aesthetically validating the designs at a very low cost…our processes were more efficient and much faster thanks to our BCN3D Epsilon.

“This could not have happened without 3D printing. For a project like this one, where you want high-quality results in a short time and within a limited budget, there is no better option than 3D printing.”

You can learn more about the project here, or check out the video below.

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3D Printing News Briefs: May 12, 2020 Nanofabrica, Voxeljet, Elementum, AMPOWER

We’re all business today in 3D Printing News Briefs – Nanofabrica has raised $4 million in funding, and voxeljet is expanding its presence in India. Elementum 3D has achieved an important industry certification. Finally, AMPOWER has released its 2020 report.

Nanofabrica Raises $4 Million in Funding

Tel Aviv startup Nanofabrica, which makes 3D printers for fabricating complex electronic and optical parts for semiconductors and medical devices, has raised $4 million in funding, and the round was led by Microsoft’s venture arm M12, which invests in enterprise software companies in Series A through C funding with a focus on infrastructure, applied AI, business applications, and security, and NextLeap Ventures, an investor group made of former Intel Corp employees. The startup says it will use the funding – it’s raised a total of $7 million so far – to expand its sales and continue its R&D work.

M12 partner Matthew Goldstein said, “Nanoscale, precision manufacturing is a growing need for R&D organizations, as well as production-scale manufacturing companies,” and that the technology allows for the “digital mass manufacturing of precision parts.”

voxeljet Grows Presence in India with Sale of VX4000

The VX4000 is voxeljet’s largest 3D printer and has a building volume of 8 cubic meters

Industrial 3D printing solutions provider voxeljet AG has expanded its Asian presence with the announcement that Indian steel casting experts Peekay Steel Castings Pvt Ltd is investing in its 4000 x 2000 x 1000 mm VX4000 3D printer – the company’s largest industrial system. Peekay Steel, which makes high-quality steel castings, will use the printer to expand into new business areas and better cater to its current clients’ increasing demands. The flexibility, size, and speed of the VX4000 will allow the company to continue supporting the foundry industry in its native India, but also give them the opportunity to build a new Knowledge Center centered around the large 3D printer that will provide open access to a training facility. The VX4000 will be set up at a new Bangalore location in the Airport City.

“We want to offer our customers an end-to-end solution and position ourselves as a supplier of high-quality, ready-to-install components in record times. With the VX4000, we are able to increase the flexibility of our production in order to be able to react quickly, even to complex projects,” said K.E. Shanavaz, Jt., Managing Director, Peekay Steel Castings (P) Ltd. “3D printing gives us a unique competitive advantage, especially when it comes to expanding our business areas. Since the beginning, we have emphasized the importance of co engineering with our customers, most of these are Fortune 500 companies, to optimize and customize the product design, to lend better functionality and a clear competitive advantage. A specialized Design Center aligned to the VX4000 will help add value for our customers.”

Elementum 3D Achieves Quality Management Certification

Colorado metal 3D printing materials company Elementum 3D announced that it has received the important ISO 9001:2015 certification. This is recognized as the worldwide standard for quality management practices and systems, and was issued to the company through the Denver-based ISO 9001 management certification firm Platinum Registration, Inc. The scope of its certification includes manufacturing prototype and production parts to customer specifications, designing and manufacturing advanced composites, metals, and superalloys, and developing new manufacturing processes.

“This is an important milestone for Elementum 3D. It’s a rigorous process to become ISO 9001 certified. Our staff worked very hard with Platinum Registration’s auditors to demonstrate we meet the requirements of the standard. Not only does that make us feel confident we’re the most efficient that we can be, it assures our customers that we have a completely transparent and robust management system; and that means we have reliable, repeatable, continuously improving business processes so that our customers receive the best value for their money,” said Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein, Elementum 3D President and Founder.

AMPOWER Releases 2020 Metal AM Report

Metal additive manufacturing consultancy AMPOWER has released its new 2020 report, containing analysis based on over 250 data sets of metal AM supplier and user surveys. If you purchased the previous AMPOWER Report, you can get the latest edition for free through the online portal, or you could subscribe to the report to start getting it; either way, the publication is chock-full of helpful information. For instance, a separate section analyzes the possible impact scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic on the metal AM industry in both 2020 and 2021, and new contributions from the worlds of standards and startups are included from ASTM and AM Ventures, respectively. The report includes in-depth market data, and has also added new databases with over 700 entries, so readers can browse through a list of material, service, and systems suppliers; the new interactive cost calculator has been updated with the most recent productivity values.

“We hope the AMPOWER Report 2020 continues to support our customers in making the right decisions in these challenging times,” AMPOWER’s Matthias Schmidt-Lehr, Dr. Maximilian Munsch, and Dr. Eric Wycisk wrote in an email.

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