HP and Dyndrite Partner to Create Next Generation 3D Printing Solutions

Seattle startup Dyndrite announced a strategic new partnership with Hewlett Packard (HP) to license Dyndrite’s geometric kernel technology and power the next generation cloud and edge-based digital manufacturing solutions. By combining HP’s end-to-end manufacturing management expertise with Dyndrite’s cutting edge additive technology, HP is hoping to deliver a software platform capable of powering the additive manufacturing (AM) factories of the future.

In 2019, 26-year old Harshil Goel’s company Dyndrite emerged out of stealth mode to reveal the world’s first GPU-native geometry engine, the Dyndrite Accelerated Geometry Kernel (AGK). Since geometry kernels were first introduced decades ago, they have been a crucial component in advancing 3D CAD/CAM/CAx software. Still, the company claimed this software have not kept pace with changing computational architectures, modern manufacturing technologies, and modern design needs. In order to address this challenge, Goel teamed up with veteran mathematicians, computer scientists, and mechanical engineers to develop a new solution that could level the playing field so that the manufacturing hardware no longer surpassed the software, facilitating the AM industry to reach its potential.

“The promise of 3D printing is to deliver unique parts and tools not possible through traditional methods, and do so on an industrial and global scale. For this to happen the industry must evolve and Dyndrite’s mission is to accelerate this change,” said Goel, now CEO of Dyndrite. “HP is a clear leader in industrial 3D printing and this collaboration speeds the game-changing impact our technology brings to the AM community at large. We applaud HP’s vision and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership for years to come.”

The new alliance builds on HP’s focus on expanding its software and data platform to help customers fully realize the transformative power of 3D printing technology. Through the development of new solutions that leverage the Dyndrite kernel, HP expects to improve efficiency, enhance performance and quality, enable mass-personalization, automate complex workflows, and create scalability and extensibility for continued partner and customer innovation. The ultimate goal for both companies is to change how the software works in the AM industries, driving new performance and functionality.

In that sense, Dyndrite claims that its fully native GPU Kernel easily handles additive specific computations such as lattice, support, and slice generation, in some cases reducing compute times from hours or days to minutes or seconds. For heavy use cases, the Dyndrite kernel is naturally scalable with access to additional GPU nodes, whether locally or in the cloud and provides both C++ and English-readable Python APIs, making application development accessible to a wide variety of users, including non-programmers such as students, mathematicians, and mechanical engineers. Probably what most interests HP is providing developers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM)s with a tool capable of representing all current geometry types, including higher-order geometries such as splines (NURBs), surface tessellations, volumetric data, tetrahedra, and voxels, allowing the development of next-generation applications and devices.

Using Dyndrite solution for additive manufacturing (Image courtesy of Dyndrite Corporation)

“Innovations in software, data intelligence, and workflow automation are key to unlocking the full potential of additive manufacturing,” said Ryan Palmer, Global Head of Software, Data and Automation of HP 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing. “We are committed to advancing our digital manufacturing platform capabilities and this strategic collaboration with Dyndrite is an exciting next step on the journey.”

Building upon HP’s leading position as a behemoth technology firm, the company has acquired and partnered with dozens of companies to broaden its ecosystem and accelerate innovation and speed product development and supply chain efficiencies. HP also supports numerous 3D printing and digital manufacturing open standards to ensure data interoperability and choice for customers.

As a global provider of industrial-grade 3D printing and digital manufacturing solutions, HP offers systems, software, services, and materials science innovation to its customers. These solutions already include numerous software and data innovations, like its HP 3D Process Control and HP 3D Center software offerings.

Dyndrite’s new GPU-powered, python-scriptable, additive manufacturing build processor at work (Image courtesy of Dyndrite Corporation)

The new HP and Dyndrite partnership builds on a relationship that first began when HP became one of the inaugural members of the Dyndrite Developer Council, a group of leading 3D printing systems, software, and solutions providers. Along with Aconity3D, EOS, NVIDIA, Plural Additive Manufacturing, and Renishaw, HP was chartered with steering the future direction of the company’s roadmap. The driving force behind Goel’s venture is advancing the design and manufacturing software tools used today, which he said were built more than 30 years ago and are becoming bottlenecks to today’s creativity and productivity. Especially when compared to the manufacturing hardware that over the past few years has given rise to new design philosophies and a whole new paradigm of manufacturing production.

In this sense, Dyndrite is creating next-generation software for the design, manufacturing and additive marketplace, with the goal to dramatically increase the workflow and efficiency of AM technologies. With Dyndrite joining HP’s global ecosystem, HP advances 3D printing and digital manufacturing solutions, improving the overall experience for its customers and moving the industry forward.

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US Air Force 3D Prints Part for $2.2 Billion Stealth Bomber

The mission of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s B-2 Program Office is to ensure the B-2 Spirit bomber jets stay relevant and in-flight through the early 2030s until replaced by its stealthier new version, the B-21s. To extend the life of the deadly aircraft and keep the existing B-2 bomber fleet ready and active for future missions, aerospace engineers at the B-2 Program Office turned to additive manufacturing. The technology was used to create a permanent protective cover that prevents the unintentional activation of the airframe mounted accessory drive (AMAD) decouple switch, which controls the connection of the engines to the hydraulic and generator power of the aircraft.

Each one of the 20 B-2 aircraft has a four-switch panel AMAD that sits on the left side of the two-person cockpit. When all switches are activated simultaneously, the crew has no choice but to eject as the aircraft will be without electrical and hydraulic power. In 2018, a B-2 jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Colorado Springs after the crew flipped one of the switches, forcing the B-2 Program Office to come up with an innovative solution to solve the critical issue.

At the time, B-2 pilot and commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, John J. Nichols, turned to a team of students at Knob Noster High School, also in Missouri, that designed and 3D printed prototype AMAD panel covers in 72 hours at $1.25 a piece. Now, the B-2 Program Office has come up with 20 new additively manufactured covers that cost approximately $4,000 and will be delivered to the fleet in late 2020 or early 2021.

Students from the Knob Noster High School robotics team designed a protective panel that covers four switches in the cockpit of the B-2 Stealth Bomber (Image courtesy of US Air Force/ Sgt. Kayla White)

“Additive manufacturing is the way of the future,” said Roger Tyler, an aerospace engineer with the B-2 Program Office. “The B-2 is a low volume fleet. There’s only 20 of them, so anytime something needs to be done on the aircraft, cost can be an issue. But with additive manufacturing, we can design something and have it printed within a week and keep costs to a minimum.”

The development of the covers was aided by the Additive Manufacturing Design Rule Book, which was created by the Product Support Engineering Division, part of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC). According to Jason McDuffie, Chief of the Air Force Metals Technology Office (MTO), the rule book provides design guidelines and lessons learned in the additive manufacturing field, specifically the use of direct metal laser melting and fuse deposition modeling technologies, and has been applied to help create a variety of important parts for the Air Force.

3D printed protective cover for the airframe mounted accessory drive decouple switch in B-2 aircraft (Image courtesy of US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center)

“This part [AMAD cover] is unique, and there was never a commercial equivalent to it, so we had to develop it in-house,” Tyler added. “Additive manufacturing allowed us to rapidly prototype designs, and through multiple iterations, the optimum design for the pilots and maintainers were created. We have completed the airworthiness determination and are currently in the final stages to get the covers implemented on the B-2 fleet, which will be the first additively manufactured part to be approved and installed on the B-2.”

The B-2 stealth bomber (Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman/US Air Force)

Originally created to evade radar detection and attack without warning from the Soviet Union’s command and control centers during the Cold War, no B-2’s have ever actually flown over Russian aerospace. Even so, over its 31-year life span, the B-2 Spirit bomber has been a veteran of several conflict operations, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the war in Kosovo, where it took out 33 percent of the Serbian targets in eight weeks. Described by its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, as “practically indestructible”, the B-2 can fly 6,000 miles without the need to refuel, and the capacity to haul in excess of 20 tons of weapons in any weather completely undetected.

At $2.2 billion per aircraft, it is one of the most expensive warplanes ever made, capable of delivering large and precision-guided weaponry, both conventional and nuclear. Yet, up until now, the B-2 has only been used to drop non-nuclear bombs. For decades, experts have warned against deploying mission bombers with nuclear weapons that might trigger an accidental nuclear war, and this comes as no surprise, with nine nuclear-armed states possessing an estimated 13,400 weapons, the risk always remains latent – even more so with sophisticated bombers like B-2 that cannot be detected.

The B-2 stealth bomber (Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman/US Air Force)

As the world’s only known stealth bomber, the aircraft continues to be a display of military force for the U.S., especially amid escalating tensions with countries like North Korea, China, and Russia. Recently, the B-2 Spirit bombers were deployed in the South China Sea amid a military exercise drill with troops practicing how to seize back the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam from an “invading” force; most likely as a response to China stepping up defensive military operations and exercises around Taiwan. In spite of its many years in the US Air Force fleet, the B-2 continues to be one of the most feared aircraft ever built, which is why sustainment modifications today remain an important aspect of the B-2 program, from coming up with cost-effective ways to repair and maintain the jets to teaming up with Northrop Grumman to ensure the units remain mission capable.

The U.S. Air Force often requires low-cost creative ways to replace parts on many of its aircraft. As such, it has already launched numerous research initiatives into additively manufacturing parts, from creating 3D printed replacement parts for F-35 fighter jets to saving thousands of dollars by using 3D printing to make cup handles and modify standard-issue gas masks. The latest 3D printed protective cover could become a great solution for an underlying problem that has already caused some havoc to B-2 pilots. For high operating cost aircraft like the B-2 (at a reported $122,000 per flight hour), repairs can be equally costly, but in-house production technologies like additive manufacturing can help aerospace engineers tasked with maintaining decades-old jets up to date and working as stealthily as they did 30 years ago.

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What’s In A Technology Name?

The good news is that a technology by any other name might perform as sweet, to riff off of Juliet’s centuries-old question — but we still have to ask: what’s in a name?

This question comes up all the time when
talking about manufacturing processes used today, especially those newer to
shop floors like 3D printing. (Or is that additive manufacturing…or rapid

Let’s start at the beginning. This technology suite traces its current roots back to the 1980s when processes like stereolithography (SLA) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) were being developed. These technologies found their initial usage in prototyping applications, achieving faster results than traditional processes. As these and other layer-by-layer approaches developed and matured over the last few decades, applications evolved as well, including into end-use production.

Throughout this briefly laid out history, we
see several stages of evolution in both process and usage. At each stage, a
different name has been appropriate, growing along with the fledgling industry
surrounding these technologies. Now that we’re in 2020, though, and have four
decades of experience in this maturing manufacturing area, we’re able to take a
step back and look at what the best terminology is to use today.

Printing or Additive Manufacturing?

A question that comes up a lot is simple:
“What’s the difference between 3D printing and additive manufacturing?”

At the simplest level of response, these terms
are often used interchangeably. Use either phrasing and anyone in the industry
will understand what you mean. But of course, there are ways to be more
accurate in discussing these processes, and more precise in nomenclature.

3D printing is the process of actually
building up a part, as a step in the overall additive manufacturing workflow.
Additive manufacturing itself can be seen to encompass the total process: CAD
design to slicing to 3D printing to post-processing to finished product. Rapid
prototyping would then be an application, rather than referring to the process

That’s one way of looking at it, and
understanding what is meant when any of these terms are bandied about.

Another way is in terms of the user. Additive
manufacturing is recognized as a more industrial term, and tends to encompass
expensive professional machinery being used in applications from prototyping to
end-use product production. 3D printing can refer to the process of
layer-by-layer building of an object, or more generally to refer to any usage
of this technology, from hobbyists using inexpensive desktop systems to
professionals using industrial equipment. Rapid prototyping was one of the
first terms used for these technologies, which in the 1980s were geared toward
the rapid production of prototypes and for a few decades so dominated usage
that this application was synonymous with the tech itself.

These conversations are ongoing, and opinions among experts are still fairly varied. When, for example, in working to understand viewpoints on the terminology of technology, I turned to industry professionals, responses extended from ease of understanding to familiarity of phrasing.

That conversation was perhaps best summed up by industry veteran Rachel Park, long-time journalist and currently a principal at PYL Associates, who said of 3D printing (3DP) and additive manufacturing (AM):

“3DP versus AM will not be resolved any time
soon, and like many others here, I often use them interchangeably depending on
application, audience and process being used. On that – I have noticed that
process names (re the 7 categories identified by ASTM) are being used more
frequently, to differentiate capabilities and applications for manufacturing /

Printing Technologies

That leads into an important conversation in
its own right, as the different 3D printing processes each have their own
terminology to take into account.

Industry expert Terry Wohlers, Founder of independent consulting firm Wohlers Associates, which puts out the annual Wohlers Report, recently discussed the importance of terminology through the lens of industry standard phrasing. He brings up several key points in this Wohlers Talk piece, chief among them the very availability of industry standards.

ASTM International, which defines standards in
a number of industries including additive manufacturing, has been publishing
terms for AM to serve as recognized standards. The first version, as Wohlers
points out, was published in 2009 as the ASTM F2792 Standard Terminology for
Additive Manufacturing Technologies defined 26 terms. That work was
foundational for the current ISO/ASTM 52900 Standard Terminology for Additive

As laid out from that standard in Wohlers
Talk, the presently recognized seven AM processes include:

  • Material extrusion—an additive manufacturing process in which material is selectively dispensed through a nozzle or orifice
  • Material jetting—an additive manufacturing process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited
  • Binder jetting—an additive manufacturing process in which a liquid bonding agent is selectively deposited to join powder materials
  • Sheet lamination—an additive manufacturing process in which sheets of material are bonded to form a part
  • Vat photopolymerization—an additive manufacturing process in which liquid photopolymer in a vat is selectively cured by light-activated polymerization
  • Powder bed fusion—an additive manufacturing process in which thermal energy selectively fuses regions of a powder bed
  • Directed energy deposition—an additive manufacturing process in which focused thermal energy is used to fuse materials by melting as they are being deposited

Different companies, of course, refer to
technologies that fall under these umbrellas by proprietary names. Think of the
ongoing conversation regarding FFF v. FDM (that is, the common term Fused
Filament Fabrication versus the trademarked Fused Deposition Modeling), both of
which effectively refer to the same process and are in fact classified as
material extrusion.

Seeking to differentiate may lead many a
company to brand copiously; why say the standard “material extrusion” when they
could tout FFF, which as an acronym may sound more intriguing — or, if that
branding is from Stratasys, why not further herald FDM, which is trademarked
and is one of the original 3D printing technologies invented decades ago.
There’s certainly something to be said for standing apart from the crowd by
owning a process name.

Still, it absolutely comes across clearly to
everyone what sort of process is up for discussion when the term is universal;
material extrusion will convey just what’s meant quite neatly, and without any
potential confusion.

Naturally we must include a disclaimer that
while these seven ISO/ASTM recognized processes cover most of what we see in 3D
printing, they do not cover every technology. Significant R&D is ongoing
around the world, with efforts to create wholly new 3D printing technologies
abounding. Most of even these new processes will still fall generally under one
of these categories, but some will be new unto themselves. This is why
standards creation is so important, as these experts regularly discuss and
evaluate new processes that may need to be added.

In A Name?

So ultimately, what is in a name?

Everything, when it comes to clarity,
legality, and precision. Certainly it never hurts to be precise when sharing
information about industrial technologies.

At the same time, if you say “additive manufacturing” to someone unfamiliar with today’s advanced production processes, it’s perfectly fine to clarify that you mean “3D printing”, which may be more easily understood. There’s a time and place for full accuracy, but as always the most important part of communication is establishing understanding.

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Exactech Transitions from EBM to Laser 3D Printing Implants for Shoulders

Orthopedic implant device maker Exactech wants to scale up the production of its Equinoxe Stemless Shoulder implant by switching from electron beam metal additive manufacturing to direct metal 3D printing with high precision lasers. In an official statement released on July 21, 2020, the Florida-based company announced plans to transition all US stemless shoulder procedures to its laser-printed devices throughout the rest of the year.

As the latest addition to the company’s extremities product line, the Stemless Shoulder, launched in 2018, is a bone conserving prosthesis designed for anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty. Comprised of a stemless cage, humeral head, and cage glenoid, the device offers intraoperative flexibility which is ideal for conserving the bone, said the company. Furthermore, to enhance the probability of biological fixation, it incorporated a laser 3D printed porous bone cage structure that allows bone-through growth, and without the need for a stem, there is more ease of implantation, reduced operating time, and blood loss. Exactech indicated that the innovative combination of 3D porous material and bone cage technology is what differentiates it from competing products on the market.

The new Equinoxe Stemless Shoulder uses laser-printed AM (Image courtesy of Exactech)

Currently, there is a growing trend towards minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries, like stemless shoulder implant procedures mainly led by experts in Germany and France. However, US surgeons also took notice of the benefits of using stemless implants to perform arthroplasties with less bone removal and fewer complications than more conventional anatomic shoulder prosthesis.

Driven by an upsurge in the aging population, longer life expectancy, and rising prevalence of arthritis, the global shoulder arthroplasty market is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2023, and that includes increased demand for stemless shoulder implants, as forecasted by Koncept Analytics last year. In the US alone, over 53,000 people have shoulder replacement surgery each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and with only a handful of stemless shoulder implants cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2015 (including the Equinoxe Stemless Shoulder), there is a wide-open market opportunity for medical device manufacturers to exploit. Expecting to become a leading force in the stemless implant market, Exactech is switching technologies to deliver quick solutions for patients and surgeons.

“We have been incredibly pleased with our original EBM [electron beam melting] Stemless Shoulder implant and the early positive clinical feedback we received from our surgeon customers. The new laser-printed device is built on this solid foundation while also giving us the ability to ramp up production to serve even more patients, which drives us and fulfills our mission,” said Exactech Vice President of Extremities, Chris Roche.

Orthopedic surgeons Curtis Noel, of the Crystal Clinic in Akron, Ohio, and Stephanie Muh, of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, were the first shoulder specialists to perform the surgeries with the Equinoxe Stemless Shoulder implant earlier this month. As a member of the design team, Noel expressed how proud he was to be one of the first to implant the laser-printed Stemless Shoulder, mainly due to the bone conserving design, along with its compatibility to the Equinoxe Shoulder Platform System.

Laser 3D printed porous structure designed to promote bone-through growth (Image courtesy of Exactech)

Muh described that “one of my favorite features of the Stemless implant is its bone cage structure that is designed to provide initial press-fit fixation while also allowing for bone-through growth. That intentional design element, along with the porous structure being designed to mimic the trabecular nature of cancellous bone, differentiates it from competitors.”

In order to design the Stemless Shoulder implant, Exactech engineering researchers collaborated with orthopedic surgeons that combined their knowledge, expertise, and background to come up with a final design structure that could be additively manufactured with optimized pore size, porosity, and count. The design team included Noel; shoulder and elbow surgery expert’s Felix Henry Savoie, from Tulane University, and Joseph Zuckerman from New York University (NYU)’s Langone Orthopaedic Hospital; Pierre-Henri Flurin, from the Clinique du Sport in Bordeaux-Mérignac, in France; Ryan Simovitch, the Director of the Shoulder Division at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Thomas Wright, Director of Interdisciplinary Center for Musculoskeletal Training at the University of Florida.

Pre-operative X-ray (left) and postoperative X-ray (right) showing the laser-printed Stemless Shoulder and Equinoxe Cage Glenoid. (Image courtesy of Stephanie Muh)

As a developer, and producer of innovative implants, instrumentation, and computer-assisted technologies for joint replacement surgery, Exactech targeted clinical evaluations of the Stemless Shoulder immediately after release and has been aggressively expanding and upgrading its product ever since. Just like other manufacturers of stemless implants, the goal here is to try to reproduce the native shoulder anatomy and minimize humeral bone removal. Recent studies. have outlined the numerous advantages – as well as a few disadvantages – of stemless shoulder implant arthroplasty, and although its use is still emerging outside of Europe, the implant is gaining ground with surgeons and patients and is expected to surpass stemmed implants by 2025.

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3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup, July 19, 2020

A variety of topics will be covered in this week’s webinar and virtual event roundup, including additive manufacturing in aerospace, CAMWorks, product management, post-processing, and more. Read on to learn more about, and register for, these online opportunities.

AM in Aerospace Virtual Panel

On Tuesday, July 21st, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) will host the third event, “Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace”, in its virtual panel series. Sponsored by AlphaSTAR and Link3D, the panel will focus on how AM is used in the aerospace industry. Moderated by AM-Cubed founder Kristin Mulherin, the speakers are Anna Tomzynska, Director and Additive Manufacturing Chief Engineer for Boeing; Deb Whitis, GE Aviation Chief Engineer; and Eliana Fu, Senior Engineer, Additive Technologies, at Relativity Space.

Pre-registration will begin at 11 am EST, with a welcome speech at 11:25. The hour-long panel will begin at 11:30, with plenty of time for live Q&A, and there will be a virtual networking reception at 12:30. Register for the virtual panel here.

3DEO Webinar – Why I Switched From CNC Machining

Also on July 21st, metal 3D printing company 3DEO is hosting a live webinar, entitled “Why I Switched From CNC Machining: An Engineer’s Perspective on Transitioning to Metal 3D Printing.” The webinar, which starts at 1 pm EST, will feature 3DEO Applications Engineer Julien Cohen, who will explain the major differences between metal 3D printing and CNC machining. The following topics will be covered:

  • Compare CNC machining and 3DEO’s proprietary metal 3D printing process

  • Understand the value metal 3D printing offers engineers in design and flexibility

  • Learn about the pros and cons of each process and when metal 3D printing makes sense

  • Discover three real-world case studies of 3DEO winning versus CNC machining

  • See 3DEO’s process for going from first articles to production

You can register for the webinar on 3DEO’s website.

Free CAMWorks Webinar Series

To make sure professionals in the CAM industry have easy access to educational and training materials during the COVID-19 crisis, a free CAMWorks webinar series has been launched. Each session will give attendees the opportunity to increase their CAM skills, learning about more advanced features that can help maintain business operations. SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks: Getting Started” is on Tuesday, July 21st, at 10:30 am EST, and will be a training session on using the integrated CNC programming system SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard. It will also provide an introduction to the Technology Database (TechDB), which can automate the CNC programming process. “SOLIDWORKS CAM for Designers: A Path to Better Designs” will also take place on July 21st, at 2 pm EST, and will focus on how to use SOLIDWORKS CAM to reduce cost, improve design, and make it easier to manufacture parts.

You’ll need to attend the “Getting Started” webinar before attending “SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks: Getting Started with the TechDB” on Thursday, July 23rd at 10:30 am EST. This is a more in-depth training session for using the TechDB included in SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks. The final webinar in the series is “The Future of Manufacturing in the COVID Era,” also held on July 23rd, at 2 pm EST. This session will help attendees learn how to automate part programming to stay productive and competitive during and after the pandemic.

Protolabs Webinar: HP’s Multi Jet Fusion

On Wednesday, July 22nd, at 2 pm EST, Protolabs will be hosting a webinar with HP, called “Tips and Tricks to Leverage Multi Jet Fusion in your Product Development Cycle.” One of the company’s Applications Engineers, Joe Cretella, and Brent Ewald, HP’s Solution Architect, will discuss design tips that result in good MJF parts, how to implement the technology, and where MJF fits within additive and subtractive manufacturing.

This webinar will help attendees understand how the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology 3D printing process can be leveraged in various stages of the product development lifecycle. The experts at HP and Protolabs have teamed up to give you key insights into Multi Jet Fusion materials, processing capabilities, and part quality. Whether the attendee is new to additive manufacturing or evaluating Multi Jet Fusion for their production project, this presentation will help identify when the technology provides the most value and what to consider when manufacturing Multi Jet Fusion parts.”

Register for the webinar here.

Dassault Systèmes on Project Management Solutions

At 10 am EST on Thursday, July 23rd, Dassault Systèmes will hold a live webinar,”Discover How to Deliver Projects on Time and Under Budget, a Real-time Online Experience,” all about collaborating with integrated project management solutions connected to 3D engineering data in order to drive project success. Dassault speakers Maximilian Behre, the Online Industry Business Consultant Director, and 3DS Industry Process Consultants Siddharth Sharma and Alessandro Tolio, will discuss project management challenges, shortening the design cycle through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, provide a demonstration of Project Management on the cloud, and answer questions.

“Whether you are managing big programs that involve hundreds of people or are leading a smaller project, an easy to use integrated project management solution will help you to seamlessly collaborate across all disciplines with any stakeholder. Connect the dots between Marketing, Engineering to Manufacturing and customer services.”

Register here.

KEX Knowledge Exchange on Post-Processing

Finally, former Fraunhofer IPT spinoff KEX Knowledge Exchange AG is holding its second webinar on its KEX.net web platform, “Online Seminar Post-Processing for Additive Manufacturing,” on Thursday, July 23rd. Lea Eilert, the project and technology manager for the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing, will teach attendees about typical heat treatment for AM materials, the necessity of post-processing for 3D printed components, and various post-machining and surface finishing methods.

Register for the webinar here. In addition, Eilert will also present the third KEX webinar on August 6th, entitled “Market, Costs & Innovation.”

Will you attend any of these events and webinars, or have news to share about future ones? Let us know! 

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MDA and Burloak to Make 3D Printed Space Satellite Parts

Family-owned metal manufacturing network Samuel, Son & Co. provides industrial products and related value-added services all across North America, and one of its most important company divisions is Burloak Technologies, which was responsible for establishing the first full advanced manufacturing and production additive manufacturing center in Canada back in 2014. This Canadian 3D printing leader was founded in Ontario in 2005, and offers design and engineering services for a variety of technologies, including additive manufacturing, high precision CNC machining, materials development, metrology, and post-processing, to companies in multiple sectors, including automotive, industrial, aerospace, and space. To that end, it recently announced a five year agreement with Canadian technology firm MDA, which provides innovative solutions to government and commercial space and defense markets.

These two companies are partnering up to 3D print components and parts for applications in satellite antennae that will be sent to outer space.

“Over the last two years we have worked closely with MDA’s Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue business to apply and evolve additive manufacturing to their product offerings. This collaboration has allowed us to optimize antenna designs in terms of size, mass and performance to create a new set of possibilities for the industry,” Colin Osborne, Samuel’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a press release.

Spacecraft Interface Bracket for an antenna

This collaboration seems to be a continuation of an existing partnership between the two companies. In the summer of 2019, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded Burloak and MDA a two-year project under its Space Technology Development Program (STDP) for the purposes of using 3D printing to develop RF satellite communication sub-systems. As part of that project, Burloak, which is a member of GE Additive’s Manufacturing Partner Network, scaled up AM application to create more complex sub-system components, using flight-certified material processes for titanium and aluminum.

MDA, a Maxar company founded back in 1969, is well-known for its abilities in a wide array of applications, including communication satellite payloads, defense and maritime systems, geospatial imagery products and analytics, radar satellites and ground systems, space robotics and sensors, surveillance and intelligence systems, and antennas and subsystems. The last of these capabilities will obviously serve MDA well in its latest venture.

As of now, the two companies have successfully completed multiple combined efforts which have resulted in 3D printed parts being more readily accepted for use in the unforgiving conditions of outer space.

“With challenging technological needs, it’s important that we find the right partner to help us fully leverage the potential of additive manufacturing for space applications,” Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA, said. “We’re confident Burloak Technologies is the ideal supplier to continue supporting our efforts. This collaboration is a perfect example of partnerships that MDA develops under its LaunchPad program.”

(Image courtesy of MDA)

As part of this new agreement, MDA and Burloak will continue working together in order to improve upon the manufacturability and design of multiple antenna technologies through the use of additive manufacturing. We’ve seen that using 3D printing to fabricate components for satellite, and other types, of antenna can reduce the cost and mass of the parts, which is critically important for space communication applications. As a whole, the technology is transforming how we build complex space systems.

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MULTI-FUN Consortium Aims to Improve Metal 3D Printing

As the focus continues to shine on metal additive manufacturing (MAM), 21 partners are coming together from eight countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal and Belgium) in a three-year, multi-tiered project to advance AM processes, materials, and equipment for multi-material parts.

Dubbed MULTI-FUN, this long-term endeavor will solve issues in metal printing with powder bed fusion, where only basic alloys are available. Overall, key performance indicators expected are improvement in AM products by 40 percent, better use of resources and with smaller environmental footprint, and the emergence of greater potential and opportunities for businesses in Europe.

The consortium members involved plan to refine 3D printing with metal using new active and structural materials like aluminum and low-alloyed steel for wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). They also plan to design complex parts without any restrictions due to size—whether printing on the nano-level or the large scale.

Research into the use of nano-materials spans studies from integration of conductive materials into textiles to economic analysis of nano-metals within a wide range of applications—including critical industries like automotive and aerospace. In the MULTI-FUN project, the researchers will explore nano-materials further, integrating them into thermal materials, electronics, sensors, and more as four different objectives are explored:

  1. Development of five new materials (with at least three related to nanotechnology), customized for AM processes.
  2. Study of new processes and development of AM hardware and software for the production of desired materials. The consortium has outlined a plan for a minimum of ten new materials combinations using five new materials to be displayed by seven demonstrators engaged in different applications.
  3. Manufacturing and evaluation of seven physical demonstrators using multiple materials and functionalities. Three use cases in the areas of structural parts, molds, and testing equipment will serve as examples to show the potential in four applications like automotive, aeronautics, space, and production.
  4. Ongoing evaluation and improvement in AM processes in regard to the economy and the environment, use of materials, strategies, and demonstrator design—ultimately all leading to better standards and support of necessary regulatory bodies.

Consortium members follow.

A turnkey solution from WAAM3D (Image: WAAM3D)

[Source / Images: Chronicle]


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The Future Of Aerospace 3D Printing

Innovations in the aerospace industry have been seeing huge strives when it comes to 3D printing. Aerospace companies and organizations from around the globe are using 3D printing for both prototyping and end-use parts. These applications have been ramping up for years — and now we’re looking ahead to the future of 3D printing in aerospace.

3D Printing Today

Aerospace is a unique fit for 3D printing, offering a prime application area for many of the benefits of additive manufacturing technologies. Among these benefits are:

  • Part consolidation
  • Lightweighting
  • Complex geometries (“freedom of design”)
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Low-volume production
  • Digital inventory

Leveraging these benefits is proving
transformative for aerospace manufacturing as today’s aircraft, rockets, and
other commercial, private, and military aerospace builds are increasingly able
to perform better than ever before. Fewer, lighter parts mean fewer assembly
points that could be a potential weakness as well as a lighter weight
structure, enhancing fuel efficiency and load capabilities.

Aerospace has long been a ‘city on a hill’ for
additive manufacturing, offering highly visible proof points of the
technology’s high-flying potential to very literally fly high.

Like in the automotive industry, many
aerospace entities have been using 3D printing internally for years, if not
decades. Also like the automotive industry, though, many companies have seen
the technology as a competitive advantage best kept somewhat under wraps. This
has perhaps benefited these companies’ bottom lines — but it has limited the
visibility of these applications.

The GE fuel nozzle — which famously reduced from approximately 20 welded pieces into one 3D printed (and 25% lighter weight) piece — was among one of the highest-profile individual applications to be publicly shared. Such use cases are only ramping up; between 2015 and 2018, for example, GE 3D printed 30,000 of those fuel nozzles. Still, though, these examples are often heard over and over again because many other specific use cases are still seen as proprietary ‘secret sauce’ and not public knowledge.

The cat’s out of the bag by now, though, and
it’s almost an assumption that any aerospace company is in some way utilizing
3D printing in its operations.

From SpaceX and NASA to Boeing and Airbus,
this is certainly the case. These companies are among the highest-profile in
aerospace to share at least some look into their 3D printing usage.
Applications range from visible cabin components in passenger airplanes to
made-in-space tools on the International Space Station, with both mission
critical and aesthetic uses well represented.

The secrecy of ‘secret sauce’ is slowly
changing, too, as in addition to broadening adoption of 3D printing, space
exploration is becoming privatized.

Organizations like SpaceX certainly have their fair share of trade secrets but are also open about their use of 3D printing in applications from spacecraft to personalized astronaut helmets. 3D printing is often coming into play as well to not only make components of rocket engines, but also in new uses such as at Rocket Crafters for their fuel grains.

Smaller, private companies working in the
space industry are celebrating the technologies they use to gain traction in
technological advance and out-of-this-world achievements. By highlighting
instead of hiding the tech helping them to accelerate toward their own
liftoffs, these new entities are contributing directly to a shift in the
conversation around aerospace technologies.

3D Printing Tomorrow

When we look ahead, we can see an even brighter
future for an aerospace industry making more and better use of additive
manufacturing opportunities.

While certainly the technologies will improve,
providing natural points of improvement even from those areas already
leveraging additive manufacturing, the largest single point of future impact
for aerospace overall will simply be wider spread adoption.

While the 3D printing industry has
historically been excellent at internally sharing the benefits of the
technology (like those bulleted above), a sticking point has been in
externalizing this message. Aerospace becoming a more open industry with these
new private entities on the rise, and with more participants discussing the
advanced technologies they put to use every day, will see industrial additive manufacturing
gaining more attention, and more traction, overall.

If the GE fuel nozzle made anyone do a
double-take, the next innovations to come — or even those already accomplished
and not yet publicized — are sure to be fully head-turning.

Further parts consolidation, lightweighting,
and other means of taking advantage of the freedoms that DfAM (design for
additive manufacturing) enables have the potential to see massive advances in
aircraft and spacecraft manufacture.

By optimizing every part of an aircraft,
completely rethinking and redesigning the whole, a manufacturer might see
unprecedented capabilities emerge. In an industry where every ounce of
structural weight matters and lessening any possible point of failure is a
must, industrial 3D printing is an obvious fit.

The technology will only continue to make headway into the aerospace industry going forward, and with that larger general footprint will come more significant discrete advances. The future of aerospace and 3D printing is a relationship that will be ever more tightly intertwined.

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The post The Future Of Aerospace 3D Printing appeared first on Shapeways Blog.

The Business Case For 3D Printing Prototypes

If practice makes perfect, then prototyping should lead to the perfect final product. But how does your business select the best-fit technology to prototype?

Dozens of options are available to choose
among when making a prototype. We’re going to explore why businesses are
choosing 3D printing for their prototypes.

From Concept To Creation

Prototyping typically involves a number of
stages, each requiring a physical product made to meet the needs of a
go-to-market step of a new design and subject to an array of testing

These, broadly, include:

  • Concept
  • Assembly / Fit
  • Functional
  • Life Test
  • Regulatory

From a rough conceptual creation that prioritizes speed and appearance, a prototype is necessary to bring a design from idea to the physical. The earliest stages of prototyping often require the fastest turnaround in fabrication, as getting an actual object in hand is the only way to gauge viability for product development.

As each stage of prototyping progresses,
though, needs change. The prototypes must become less rough around the edges as
those edges will be subject to testing for fit, functionality, mechanical
properties, and other physical needs.

A final prototype may often be visually if not
tactilely indistinguishable from an end-use product, which can help in showing
potential investors or creating marketing materials for a new product even
before mass production ramps up.

Time-To-Market With Rapid Prototyping

3D printing is a young technology suite, and
one with many names. While it is increasingly referred to as additive
manufacturing today, with end-use part production possible, most notably for
low-volume or spare parts manufacture, the technology’s first nomenclature in
the 1980s was synonymous with its initial primary use: rapid prototyping.

When you speak to someone who’s been in this
industry since its early days, they may still naturally refer to “rapid
prototyping” or “RP” more often than “3D printing” or “additive manufacturing”
through many years of ingrained habit.

Decades later, rapid prototyping remains the
primary application for 3D printing technologies across the world.

What is it about 3D printing that adds the
“rapid” to “prototyping”? Digitization.

Taking a 3D model directly to a 3D printer for
fabrication speeds the process of prototyping. Digital models can be made quite
quickly using a variety of 3D printing technologies, removing the needs for
many steps in other, more traditional fabrication technologies. No tooling is
needed, for example, nor is there a waiting period while molds are made and
filled. It’s also much faster and more precise than hand-fabricating.

Additive manufacturing adds material, rather
than removing it from blocks as is done in subtractive methods like CNC, saving
on costs of materials that even for prototypes can run up total project costs.

Printing Process & Materials For Prototyping

The selection of 3D printing process and
material can be adjusted for specific needs at every stage of product design.

During initial prototyping stages, a low-cost
material can be used with low infill and thicker layers, lowering material
costs and speeding print time to create a rough-and-ready first look at a new

Whether plastic or metal, 3D printing can
quickly fabricate a product that will come to look and feel just like the
desired end result.

By starting with a low-cost plastic material
and moving after a few iterations to metal, for example, a product that will
eventually be conventionally fabricated using metal can come to market much
more quickly than would be the case by machining each iteration — a
traditional pathway that ultimately costs much more in terms of time, money,
and labor.

Following early proof-of-concept stages,
subsequent versions can be made similarly quickly to get to just the right look
and fit before moving into more finessed prototypes. Tweaking a digital file to
adjust for better look, fit, appropriate scale, or other needs can be done
quickly, with a next iteration 3D printed potentially same-day.

Some 3D printing options, like HP and Carbon, also enable the capability of prototyping and producing on the same system or family, as different materials and parameters can move ever closer to a market-ready product. By iterating on the same system that will be used for the final product, quality control can be kept in-hand every step of the way, meaning there are no surprises when the first end-use production begins.

Printing For Prototyping

When working with a service bureau like
Shapeways, additional expertise and access to different technology suites comes
into play for a high-quality experience every step of the way.

Shapeways’ rapid prototyping services offer:

Fast Turnaround

Our quick print turnaround times ensure that you’ll get your prototypes back faster than you would with traditional manufacturing processes.

Variety of Materials

Our wide selection of materials allows you to test your products in everything from plastic to metals.

Reliable Quality

Our high quality enables you to assess factors such as ergonomics, usability, manufacturability, and material testing.

When it’s time to move to the next phases of prototyping, a different 3D printing process and/or material may be in order to start getting into the right look and feel for a final product. Working with an experienced service partner offers helpful guidance in making these selections and moving on rapidly to the next iteration, ensuring the right choice is made at every step and keeping your project on track, on time, and looking just as you designed it.

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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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