regenHU CEO: Bioprinting Will Strengthen OrganTrans Project to 3D Print Liver Organoid

The European consortium OrganTrans is preparing to develop a tissue engineering platform capable of generating liver tissue. The proposed automated and standardized disruptive alternative solution to organ donation for patients with liver disease will stand on 3D bioprinting know-how from Swiss biomedical firm regenHU. Coordinated by Swiss research and development center CSEM, the eight partners and two transplantation centers engaged in the consortium will be using regenHU’s 3D bioprinters to produce organoid-based liver constructs with organoid laden bioinks.

In April 2020, we reported that OrganTrans would tackle the important healthcare challenge of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) by capitalizing on advancements in the regenerative medicine field, like using biofabricated liver tissue, to develop an entire value chain from the cell source to tissue engineering, biofabrication, post-processing and testing, and liver transplantation under the “compassionate use exemption” regulation (which provides an important pathway for patients with life-threatening conditions to gain access to unproven human cells and tissue products). To understand the key role of biofabrication in this innovative project, asked regenHU’s new CEO, Simon MacKenzie, to tell us more about the challenges that lie ahead for the European consortium and his company.

regenHU CEO Simon MacKenzie (Image courtesy of regenHU)

The project officially began in January 2020, what can we expect when it ends in December 2022?

The current goal of this project is to create a functional biofabricated liver construct that can be implanted into a mouse model. I consider that the OrganTrans team will accelerate new solutions for patients with liver failure. It is challenging, but we do envision successful in vivo trials. Of course, this major achievement will not be the end of the story; significant work and research will still be required to transfer these results to human clinical trials. The major remaining challenges will probably be the process scale-up to produce larger tissue and regulatory aspects.

Will this research be groundbreaking to treat liver disease in the future?

Demonstrating the feasibility of the approach in a mouse model will be groundbreaking for the disease because it will demonstrate its potential as an alternative to transplantation. Diseases like NASH [nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an aggressive form of fatty liver disease] are increasing dramatically, and likely to be a leading cause of death within the next few years. Moreover, the difficulty of detecting the disease until it is potentially too late leads to significant challenges for therapeutic intervention, meaning transplantation will remain the main option for severely affected patients. This well-recognized need, along with the lack of donor organs will ensure bioprinted livers will continue to be well funded. But the value of the project goes beyond liver disease, as the new technologies developed in the frame of OrganTrans will not be limited to liver applications. They relate to the challenges of biofabrication of any organoid-based tissue, which can potentially be beneficial for a large variety of indications.

Can you tell me more about the role of regenHU within the OrganTrans consortium?

Such a complex and ambitious endeavor needs very different and complementary knowledge and competences. Teamwork will be a central element, first to enable, then to accelerate, these new solutions. With this in mind, we have been reorganizing regenHU to bring better project collaborative capabilities to this project, and others like it that we are engaged in. regenHU is a pioneer and global leader in tissue and organ printing technologies converging digital manufacturing, biomaterials, and biotechnology to lead transformational innovations in healthcare. We focus on delivering advancements in the instruments and software required for tissue engineering, and our technology evolving along with the biological research of our partners. We, therefore, consider these partnerships with the scientific community critical for our development.

An outline of the OrganTrans project (Image courtesy of OrganTrans)

regenHU is one of the largest contributors to this project, is this part of the company’s commitment to regenerative medicine?

We can see the need for biotechnology solutions for a wide range of disease states. Our strengths are in engineering the instruments and software necessary to allow the producers of biomaterials and the suppliers of cells to combine their products to achieve functional tissues and organs. Our commitment is to provide disruptive technologies that will enable the community to make regenerative medicine a reality, with precision and reproducibility in mind, for today’s researchers and tomorrow’s industrial biofabrication needs. One of the key challenges is the current limitation in the scale and volume of bioprinting which is linked to the reproducibility of the print. To progress into the manufacture of medical products, bioprinters will need to operate at a scale beyond current capabilities. We design our instruments with these goals in mind and have assembled a team to solve the many challenges to achieve this.

How advanced is the bioprinting community in Europe?

The 3D bioprinting field is several years behind mainstream 3D printing, with the industrialization of the instruments, biomaterials, and cells required before bioprinting can progress to commercial-scale biofabrication. However, as with continued development seen in 3D printing, the technology convergence required for tissue and organ printing that changes medical treatments will become a reality through the efforts of engineering companies like regenHU, biomaterial developers, and human cell expansion technologies, being combined in projects such as OrganTrans.

As the newly appointed CEO of the company, how do you feel taking on this project?

Successfully entering the OrganTrans consortium is just one part of the company. regenHU investors see my arrival as the catalyst to bring regenHU to the next stage in its evolution. Our goal remains the production of industrial biofabrication instruments capable of delivering the medical potential of bioprinting, novel bioinks, and stem cells. To achieve this, we are enhancing the team and structure of the company, bringing forward the development of new technologies and increasing our global footprint to better support our collaborative partners. I have spent many years in regenerative medicine and pharma and can see the potential of bioprinting to revolutionize many areas of medical science, so joining regenHU was an easy choice. As CEO, my main role is to provide the right support structure to enable our entrepreneurial engineering teams to thrive and be brave enough to push boundaries. Additionally, as we cannot achieve our end goal on our own, I am here to nurture the important connections with our user community. Only by listening to their valuable insights and solving problems with them, we will push the technology onward.

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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.

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Protolabs Expands European Presence with Larger German 3D Printing Operations

Digital manufacturing bureau Protolabs is investing USD$12.87m (£10.5m) into a new German production facility. The funds will expand the company’s 3D printing capacity in Germany by 50 percent, complementing its existing additive manufacturing (AM), CNC machining, sheet metal and injection molding capabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down large swaths production and shipping globally, in turn highlighting the ability of on-demand manufacturing to provide parts locally. Perhaps spurred by this turn of events, the U.S.-based service bureau is opening a new 5,000 square-meter production facility in Putzbrunn, Germany. Construction begins on the site as general public restrictions and distancing measures are eased in the city, with the initial shell scheduled for completion by the end of December and machinery to be installed beginning in May 2021.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Protolabs’ new German 3D printing facility: (l-r) Michael Meier (Protolabs), Edwin Klostermeier (Mayor of Putzbrunn) and Daniel Cohn (Protolabs). Image courtesy of Protolabs.

This equipment will include up to 25 more 3D printers, along with a 5-axis mill for finishing 3D-printed parts, as well as systems for finishing, coloring and painting. By increasing the 3D printing capacity of its German location by 50 percent, the company will be able to augment its European 3D printing services. According to Protolabs, the company can currently produce over 50 3D printed parts in one to seven days, over 200 CNC parts in one to three days, and over 10,000 injection molded parts in one to fifteen days.

Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing at Protolabs. (Image courtesy of Protolabs.)

The project comes on the heels of a USD$6.13m (£5m) extension being finalized at Protolabs’ European Headquarters in Telford in the U.K. The Telford location represented the Minnesota company’s entry into the European continent when it was established in 2005. This was followed, in 2009, by the opening of a location in Japan. In addition to these and several offices in the U.S., Protolabs now has positions in Sweden, Italy and France.

This latest site in Putzbrunn, outside of Munich, will house all of its current departments from its existing Feldkirchen office. The production facility will support the company’s U.K. activity and will include the ability to produce medical devices certified under ISO 13485.

The metal AM service bureau segment is expected to reach $9.4 billion in revenues by 2025, according to the recent “The Market for Metal Additive Manufacturing Services: 2020-2029” report from SmarTech Analysis. The company’s recent “Polymer Additive Manufacturing Markets and Applications 2020-2029” report has additive polymer parts from service bureaus reaching $7.8 billion by the same year.

SmarTech believes metal 3D printing service bureaus in particular can solve the short-term disruptions associated with the pandemic and then aid in production re-shoring to prevent future disruptions. To reflect the changes in the metal AM service bureau segment from the pandemic, the company will be providing updated forecasting in June 2020.

A metal powder bed fusion room at Protolabs. Image courtesy of Protolabs.

Protolabs can definitely see the direction that the market is headed. In 2016, the company began integrating multiple metal powder bed fusion systems from Concept Laser (now GE Additive) into a new 77,000 sq. ft. facility. By 2018, it was one of the first partners in the GE Manufacturing Partner Network and more recently installed over 25 GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab and M2 machines in one of its production facilities. As for polymers, Protolabs has also been an early adopter of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology, which is becoming continuously important for AM service bureaus.

The company is not alone in the segment, however, even when matched against other digital manufacturing providers and service networks that also do not focus solely on AM. While it may still be larger than startups like 3D Hubs and Xometry, it contends with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and 3D Systems on Demand, who also provide a multitude of manufacturing options. This also doesn’t include the pureplay service bureaus or those owned by much bigger conglomerates. Sculpteo, for instance, is now owned by BASF, the largest chemical company in the world and Siemens owns selective laser melting experts Material Solutions.

Protolabs, then, is in an increasingly competitive industry and, with the benefits of distributed production becoming more and more evident, we can safely say that that industry is only going to increase in its competitiveness.



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A Bioprinting World Map

With 109 established bioprinting companies and many entrepreneurs around the world showing interest in the emerging field, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes one of the most sought after technologies. Mapping the companies that make up this industry is a good starting point to understand the bioprinting ecosystem, determine where most companies have established their headquarters and learn more about potential hubs, like the one in San Francisco. The technology has gained increasing attention due to the ability to control the placement of cells, biomaterials, and molecules for tissue regeneration. Researchers are using bioprinting to create cardiac patches meant to be transplanted directly onto a patient’s heart after a cardiovascular attack, as well as custom printing an implant to precisely fill the space left after removal of diseased bone. Bioprinting has been used to conduct testing for 3D printing of tailored skin grafts for patients with large wound areas, print muscle, and even for microstereolithography 3D printing to repair damaged nerve connections. Bioprinting companies around the world are continuously innovating in regenerative medicine, drug therapies, tissue engineering, stem cell biology and biotechnology; getting a lot of attention from a public eager to envision a future with better patient care, alternatives to organ transplants and customized medical treatments. In an attempt to increase knowledge and research, most bioprinting firms have established partnerships with a number of research organizations, universities, and even government institutions, to jointly create and develop projects that are often published in academic journals. Actually, the literature available on the subject to date is quite vast and growing thanks to the advances in biotechnology, and a great tool for communicating and validating most of this breakthrough knowledge.

The data we collected reveals that the United States is the biggest player, with 39 percent of the companies headquartered in 18 states. And although 28% of the total number of companies in the US are located in California, 33 percent have emerged in East Coast states like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. The European continent is home to 35 percent of the companies, followed by Asia with 17 percent, Latin America (5%) and Oceania (3%). Countries like Great Britain, Germany, and France absorb most of the businesses, which represent a 53% stake out of all the European companies. The leader in Asia is China with three big names, although the country is heavily relying on university research to advance the technology and researchers are using their own in-house designed research, which is probably why we are still waiting to see an expansion of companies.  

Researchers, private companies and universities everywhere are very interested in advancing bioprinting technologies. And although there is a long way to determine how these results will perform in a clinical setting, advances show that the potential in therapeutic and regenerative medicine, surgeries, and overall healthcare are huge. Even 4D bioprinting may have the potential for greater strides in medicine and tissue regeneration since it shows more control over pore size, shape, and interconnectivity. The bioprinting business is giving scientists and medical researchers the tools to prototype, model, build and solidify living human tissues. From printing machines to bioinks, even scanners, and software to further enhance their work, this interconnected environment has the potential to transform life as we know it.

Pioneer companies such as Organovo, regenHUCELLINK, and Digilab have been at the forefront of bioprinting for years, creating some of the most innovative machines in the market, which, in the right hands, can make all the difference. Such as the case with Organovo’s bioprinting platform, recently implemented by Leiden University Medical Center scientists to develop stem cell-based bioprinted tissue treatments for kidney disease or Cellink’s Bio X machine which a Florida A&M University professor used to create the first 3D print of human cornea in the United States.

Many of these businesses are focusing on tissue engineering, like Cyfuse Biomedical, Regenovo Biotechnology, Aspect Biosystems or nScrypt. For instance, researchers using Allevi printers have been automating the creation of tumor models, printing vasculature within 3D gels, and achieving physiological markers unseen before in tissues. This requires a ton of knowledge about the microenvironment of the specific tissues and organs through biomimicry, or by the manufacturing of artificial tissues or organs by reproducing cellular and extracellular components natively present. This know-how is essential for in vitro manufacturing of living tissues with the same size and geometry as native organs.

Many commercially available 3D bioprinters are used in several research areas, like bioengineering, disease modeling, or studies of biomaterials. There are different versions, including syringe based extrusion of hydrogels or bioinks, inkjet printing, laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT), (which is a relatively new printing technique that enables transfer from a thin-film donor material onto a chosen receiver placed nearby), and stereolithography (a form of 3D printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerization).

Bioprinting is leading the way into some of the most advanced research ever done in medicine, in a way becoming a beaming source of hope for hundreds of thousands of people who consider the future of healthcare to be focused on patient-specific treatment and an increased life expectancies. Thanks to many of the breakthroughs done at research facilities around the globe and booming interest in the applications of the technology, perhaps in a year, our map will need to be updated and bioprinting companies will have increased significantly. Still, the core of what they are doing has remained the same for the past couple of years, and partnerships continue to emerge among businesses, scientists and researchers, eager to apply their innovative spirit, knowledge of biological sciences, engineering, mathematics and other fields that are contributing to the unstoppable evolution of bioprinting, so that it can eventually transition from the research and development phases to the pre-clinical and trial, getting one step closer to changing people’s lives.


The US and Canada bioprinting market include the following companies:

  1. 3D BioTherapeutics
  2. 3D Biotek
  3. Advanced BioMatrix
  4. Advanced Solutions Life Sciences
  5. Aether
  6. Allegro 3D
  7. Allevi
  8. BioLife 4D
  9. Biospherix
  10. Brinter
  11. Cell Applications
  13. Celprogen
  14. DigiLab
  15. Embodi3D
  16. Frontier Bio
  17. Hyrel
  18. International Stem Cell
  19. Koligo Therapeutics Inc.
  20. Lung Biotechnology PBC
  21. Nano 3D Biosciences
  22. Nanofiber Solutions
  23. nScrypt
  24. OrganoFab Technologies
  25. Organovo
  26. PreciseBio
  27. Prellis Biologics
  28. Qrons
  29. Rainbow Biosciences
  30. Ronawk
  31. Rooster Bio
  32. Samsara Sciences
  33. SE3D
  34. STEM Reps
  35. SunP Biotech
  36. Superlative Biosciences Corporation
  37. SuperString
  38. TeVido Biodevices
  39. TheWell Bioscience
  40. Tissue Regeneration Systems
  41. United Therapeutics Corporation
  42. Vivax Bio
  43. Volumetric
  44. Aspect Biosystems
  45. Biomomentum


The European bioprinting ecosystem is as follows:

  1. Poietis
  2. regenHu
  3. CTI Biotech
  4. Cellenion
  5. I&L Biosystems SAS
  6. Innov’Gel
  7. Printivo
  8. Cellbricks
  9. GeSim
  10. Black Drop Biodrucker
  11. Medprin Biotech
  12. Greiner Bio-One
  13. Innotere
  14. BiogelX
  15. OxSyBio
  16. ArrayJet
  17. Manchester BIOGEL
  18. 3Dynamics 3D Technologies
  19. Oxford MEStar
  20. ProColl
  21. FabRx
  22. Roslin Cellab (Censo Biotechnologies)
  23. PhosPrint
  24. Ourobotics
  25. Vornia Biomaterials
  26. Prometheus
  27. Twin Helix
  28. Xilloc Medical
  29. Labnatek
  30. 3D Bioprinting Solutions
  31. Regemat 3D (Breca)
  32. Artificial Nature
  33. Ebers
  34. Fluicell AB
  35. Biolamina
  36. CELLnTEC
  37. Morphodyne
  38. Axolotl Biosystems


Asia’s new and booming bioprinting market:

  1. FoldInk Bioprinting
  2. Revotek
  3. MedPrin
  4. Regenovo
  5. Pandorum technologies
  6. Next Big Innovation Labs
  7. IndiBio
  8. BioP India
  9. OrgaNow
  10. 3DPL
  11. CollPlant
  12. Accellta
  13. Next 21 K.K.
  14. Cyfuse
  15. KosmodeHealth
  16. Nephtech 3D
  17. Osteopore
  18. Rokit


Latin America’s incipient bioprinting environment:

  1. Tissue Labs
  2. 3D Biotechnologies Solutions
  3. BioPrint 3D
  4. WeBio
  5. Life SI

Is your company not listed? Email joris (at)

European Innovation Hub and Test Bed to Focus on Developing and Implementing 3D Printed Electronics

More and more, we are using special industrial 3D printers, with inkjet and aerosol jet technology, to embed conductive components within our intelligent products in what we call 3D printed electronics. Items like ECG electrodes and contactless payment cards use these embedded components to perform wireless activities and readings, like measuring the frequency of a person’s heart beats and paying for something at the store. The technology makes it possible to 3D print conductive circuits on nearly any surface imaginable, and the market for it is estimated at $32 billion outside Europe alone. Now, the continent is working to play catch-up.

In a move to increase Europe’s competitiveness in this field, and further prepare for Industry 4.0, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 has granted €10.6 million in funding to a new European innovation hub, led by the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), that will focus on 3D printed electronics.

“Printed electronics opens up a whole world of new opportunities, as complex constructions can be embedded just like using 3D printing, at prices able to compete with mass-produced goods,” said Zachary James Davis, DTI’s Project Coordinator for the hub. “Quite simply because electronics can be produced from CAD drawings and printed on flexible materials, as already used in architecture and 3D print.”

DTI researchers have been working with 3D printed electronics since 2016. This work, coupled with its efforts in encouraging the adoption of 3D printing, is what makes the university the perfect leader for the new hub as it works to help Europe’s manufacturing industry gain a strong position. Together with 16 RTOs and businesses, such as Fraunhofer, Eindhoven University of Technology, RISE, and Axia, DTI will develop an open innovation test bed, or LEE-BED, which will function as the hub and focus on 3D printed electronics.

Enterprises that apply to join LEE-BED will have their businesses cases evaluated first. If they are selected to participate, they will receive access to RTOs which most closely match their personal requirements. In addition, the chosen enterprises will also have access to expertise and equipment from designated RTOs in order to support their own 3D printing electronics development efforts, with no financial risk, all the way from the prototyping phase up to pilot production and full-scale manufacturing.

Davis explained, “All the partners in LEE BED will provide their various skills and facilities within printed electronics to enterprises that want to integrate and embed electronics into their products.

“Enterprises will be able to prove the viability of new technologies without major investment and financial risk during the all-important initial phase. We have already started working with jewellery giant Swarovski, looking into the idea of intelligent light in their crystals that can be integrated with clothing and home interiors.”

In addition to Swarovski, LEE-BED also has three other industrial cases with European companies: Acciona, Grafietic, and Maier.

LEE-BED is made up of three phases:

  1. Technological & economic modeling, including lifecycle analysis, patent research and safety/legislation audit
  2. The pilot project using current, and upgraded, pilot lines for nanomaterials, nano-enabled formulations, and 2D/3D printing of components
  3. Knowledge transfer, to include evaluation of intellectual property rights (IPR) and patents, investment possibilities, and standards/safety screening

The purpose of LEE-BED is to spread awareness about 3D printed electronics, and develop and implement them across Europe in order to “break down barriers” for the technology to be used. The goal is to keep the European manufacturing industry in the EU, as opposed to outsourcing high-tech projects elsewhere.

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[Images provided by Danish Technological Institute]

3D Printing News Briefs: February 16, 2019

We’ve got business, events, software, and materials news for you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. MELD has introduced a new operator training course, and Protolabs is launching a range of secondary services. AMUG announced the keynote speakers for its upcoming conference, while the call has gone out for submissions to the 2019 Altair Enlighten Award. This week at SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2019, Stratasys introduced AdvancedFDM software for GrabCAD Print. Finally, a gold partner at America Makes has created an Ultem 9085 materials database for FDM 3D printing, and 3D MicroPrint is using a powder rheometer to push the limits of additive manufacturing.

MELD Manufacturing Offers Training Program

MELD Manufacturing Corporation is launching a new operator training program to teach participants how to operate its award-winning technology, which uses an innovative no-melt process to additively manufacture, repair, coat, and join metals and metal matrix composites. The 4-day courses will provide both classroom instruction and hands-on machine training, and attendees will also review the history of MELD’s development.

“This program creates certified MELDers and delivers the capacity to integrate and innovate with MELD. Our customers have raved about the elegance of the MELD process and the ease of training. We’re excited to offer more of these opportunities,” said MELD’s CEO Nanci Hardwick.

The size of the classes, which will be held at MELD’s Virginia headquarters, will be limited so that each attendee can have the maximum amount of machine time in order to become certified, so you should register ASAP.

Protolabs Launches Secondary Services in Europe

Protolabs is a digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts and offers all sorts of traditional and additive manufacturing services. This week, the company announced that it was introducing detailed measurement and inspection reporting, which will be only the first part of its newly launched in-house Secondary Services across Europe. These services will provide support for the company’s On-Demand manufacturing requirements, and will also help in launching more value-add secondary operations, like assembly and surface treatment, in the future.

“Our customers really value our rapid manufacturing services for low-volume parts and prototypes, but they now want the benefit of On-Demand manufacturing for production parts, which have higher expectations for sampling, measurement and process documentation,” said Stephen Dyson, Protolabs’ Special Operations Manager. “The marked increase from customers across all industries wanting to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of On-Demand manufacturing brings with it a desire to simplify the supply chain. We are offering Secondary Services to reduce the number of process steps that the customer has to manage, saving time and resources.”

Protolabs will hold a webinar for designers and engineers on February 28th as part of its Secondary Services launch.

AMUG Announces Keynote Speakers

L-R: Brian McLean, Brad Keselowski, Todd Grimm

The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) recently announced who the keynote speakers will be for its 2019 conference, which will be held in Chicago from March 31st to April 4th. The conference, which will have nearly 200 presentations, workshops and hands-on training sessions, is designed for both novice and experienced additive manufacturing users, and the three keynote speakers will address the use of additive manufacturing in a variety of different applications. Brian McLean, the director of rapid prototype for LAIKA, will take attendees on a visual journey of how 3D printing has helped to redefine stop-motion animation, while NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, the owner and founder of Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (KAM), will share how technology such as 3D printing can help companies win the race. Finally, Todd Grimm, the president of T. A. Grimm & Associates, is returning to the conference as a keynote speaker again.

“We are extremely excited about our 2019 AMUG Conference keynote speakers,” said Gary Rabinovitz, the AMUG chairman and chair of its program committee. “They will provide a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping the AM industry today.”

2019 Altair Enlighten Award Submissions

Michigan-based technology company Altair, together with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), are now taking submissions from around the world for the 2019 Enlighten Award, which is the only award from the automotive industry for dedicated lightweighting. The award will be presented in the categories of Full Vehicle, Module, Enabling Technology and The Future of Lightweighting, and winners will be recognized during the CAR Management Briefing Seminars (MBS), along with getting the chance to ring the Nasdaq stock market opening bell in New York. Suppliers and manufacturers can learn more about the criteria and submit an entry for the awards here.

“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with Altair because of their global leadership in solutions that produce the optimal balance between weight, performance and cost. This award helps drive innovation in lightweighting, which is critical to the success of e-mobility solutions,” said Carla Bailo, the President and CEO of CAR. “We can’t wait to see the key contributions the 2019 nominations will bring in new approaches to automotive engineering and design, contributing to further reductions in weight, fuel consumption, and emissions.”

Stratasys Announces AdvancedFDM Software for GrabCAD

At this week’s SOLIDWORKS World 2019 in Dallas, Stratasys introduced a new feature for its GrabCAD Print software that will remove more complexity from the design-to-3D print process. Advanced FDM will use intuitive model interaction to deliver lightweight yet strong and purpose-built parts to ensure design intent, and is available now via download with GrabCAD Print from versions 1.24 on up. The software feature will help users avoid long, frustrating CAD to STL conversions, so they can work in high fidelity and ramp up parts production, and it also features CAD-native build controls, so no one needs to manually generate complex toolpaths. Advanced FDM can automatically control build attributes, as well as calculate 3D print toolpaths, in order to streamline the process.

“For design and manufacturing engineers, one of the most frustrating processes is ‘dumbing down’ a CAD file to STL format – only to require subsequent re-injection of design intent into the STL printing process. This software is engineered to do away with this complexity, letting designers reduce iterations and design cycles – getting to a high-quality, realistic prototype and final part faster than ever before,” said Mark Walker, Lead Software Product Manager at Stratasys.

America Makes Ultem 9085 FDM Properties in Database

America Makes has announced that its gold-level member, Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing LLC. (rp+m), has created and delivered a complete, qualified database of material properties for the FDM 3D printing of high-performance ULTEM 9085 thermoplastic resin. This comprehensive database, which features processing parameters and both mechanical physical properties, was released to America Makes, and the rest of its membership community, in order to ensure the widespread use of the Type I certified material for 3D printed interior aircraft components. The database is available to the community through the America Makes Digital Storefront.

“The qualification of the ULTEM 9085 material and the establishment of the material properties database by the rp+m-led team are huge steps forward for AM, particularly within the aerospace and defense industries. On behalf of all of us at America Makes, I want to commend rp+m and its team for enabling the broad dissemination of the collective knowledge of ULTEM 9085 for the innovation of future part design,” said Rob Gorham, the Executive Director of America Makes. “The ability to use AM to produce parts with repeatable characteristics and consistent quality for certifiable manufacturing is a key factor to the increased adoption of AM within the multi-billion dollar aircraft interior parts segment.”

3D MicroPrint Identifying Ultra-Fine 3D Printing Powders

Additive Manufacturing Powder Samples

Germany company 3D MicroPrint uses 3D printing to produce complex metal parts on the micro-scale with its Micro Laser Sintering (MLS) technology, and announced that it is using the FT4 Powder Rheometer from UK-based Freeman Technology, which has over 15 years of experience in powder characterization and flow, in order to push the technology to its limits by identifying ultra-fine metal powders that will process efficiently. The system can differentiate raw powder materials, less than five microns in size, with the kinds of superior flow characteristics that are needed to produce accurate components using 3D MicroPrint’s Micro Laser Sintering (MLS) technology.

“With MLS we are essentially pushing standard AM towards its performance limits. To achieve precise control at the micro scale we spread powders in layers just a few microns thick before selectively fusing areas of the powder bed with a highly focused laser beam. The ultra-fine powders required typically behave quite differently to powders of > 25µm particle size,” explained Joachim Goebner, the CEO at 3D MicroPrint. “We therefore rely on the FT4 Powder Rheometer to identify materials which will perform effectively with our machines, with specified process parameters. Before we had the instrument selecting a suitable powder was essentially a matter of trial and error, a far less efficient approach.”

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3D Printing News Briefs: January 26, 2019

We’re starting with business first in this edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, and then moving on to design software and 3D printing materials. Mimaki USA is getting ready for the grand opening of its LA Technology Center next month, and a Sartomer executive has been elected to the RadTech board of directors. A startup will soon be offering a new cryptotoken for additive manufacturing, and the 3D Printing Association will cease operations. A simplified Blender user interface will make 3D printing easier, and Protolabs is introducing some new materials for its DMLS 3D printing.

Mimaki USA Opening Los Angeles Technology Center

Not long after Japanese company Mimaki Engineering launched its first full-color inkjet printer in 1996, it established Mimaki USA, an operating entity that manufactures digital printing and cutting products around the world. Mimaki USA began preparing to enter the 3D printing market in 2015, and installed its first 3DUJ-553 3D printer in the Americas last winter. Now, it’s preparing for the grand opening of its Los Angeles Technology Center next month.

The event will take place on Friday, February 22nd from 10 am to 4 pm at the new technology center, located at 150 West Walnut Street, Suite 100, in Gardena, California. Attendees will have the chance to meet the company’s industry experts, along with Mimaki Engineering Chairman Akira Ikeda, Mimaki USA President Naoya Kawagoshi, and the regional sales managers from all seven technology centers. Live demonstrations of the company’s printers and cutters will commence after lunch, and attendees will also enjoy tours of the center and a traditional Japanese Kagami Biraki ceremony.

Sartomer’s Jeffrey Klang Elected to RadTech Board

Sartomer, an Arkema Inc. business unit and developer of UV/EB curing technology products, has announced that Jeffrey Klang, its global R&D Directer – 3D Printing for Sartomer, has been elected to the board of directors for RadTech, a nonprofit trade association that promotes the use and development of UV and EB processing technologies. Sartomer is part of Arkema’s commercial platform dedicated to additive manufacturing, and Klang, an inventor with over 20 US patents who was previously the manager for Sartomer’s Coatings Platform R&D, has played an important role in helping the company develop and commercialize many of its oligomers and monomers.

“Jeff’s strong leadership of Sartomer’s innovation and R&D initiatives supports the evolving needs of UV and EB processors in diverse industries, such as 3D printing, coatings, graphic arts, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and electronics. His deep understanding of UV/EB technologies, markets and regulatory requirements will make him an asset to RadTech’s board of directors,” said Kenny Messer, the President of Sartomer Americas.

erecoin Startup to Offer New Cryptocurrency for Additive Manufacturing

A startup called erecoin, which is a product of CAE lab GmbH, is on a mission to change the world of 3D printing by combining the benefits of blockchain with future demands of the ever expanding AM community. After a year of preparation, erecoin has completed the registration of its ICO (Initial Coin Offering), and people can begin purchasing its new cryptotoken on the Ethereum public trading infrastructure starting February 18, 2019.

“We are glad and proud that we, as a young startup, managed to master the necessary steps for a functioning utility token,” said erecoin Co-Founder Konstantin Steinmüller. “At the same time we are curious to see how the community supports our crowdfunding.”

Steinmüller told fellow co-founder Jürgen Kleinfelder about a concrete 3D prototype optimization project that CAE-lab was working on, which is how the idea to combine blockchain and 3D printing came about. The startup’s goal is to get rid of many of the uncertainties in the AM process chain, and blockchain can be used to conclude smart contracts to solve legal and technical questions in the industry. Because data exchange is integrated into the blockchain, a secure and efficient relationship of trust is created between the parties in the chain. Time will only tell if erecoin can achieve its goal and help accelerate additive manufacturing or if it is just hopeful hype or an inefficient way to do something no one needs.

3D Printing Association Closes

The 3D Printing Association (3DPA) is the member-funded, global trade association for the 3D printing industry in Europe. In 2015, the 3DPA moved its base of operations to The Hague in order to develop an independent professional B2B platform for European AM industries. As the 3D printing landscape continues to grow and mature, the association has decided to permanently terminate its operations beginning February 1st, 2019. But this isn’t necessarily bad news – in fact, 3DPA is glad that CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies, has been able to set itself up as a leading 3D printing advocate in Europe.

“3DPA’s goal, derived from an online survey and a business summit at the beginning of 2015, was to provide an independent B2B platform for standardisation, education and industry advocacy. Although there are still important steps to be taken to reaching full maturity, meanwhile the landscape has become less fragmented and volatile, and additive manufacturing has been embraced as strategic pillar by well-established umbrella organisations in sectors like manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and medical appliances,” said 3DPA’s Managing Director Jules Lejeune.

“CECIMO for example, is the long standing European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies. It represents some 350 leading AM companies that play a significant role in a wide variety of critical sections of the AM value chain – from the supply of all different types of raw materials for additive manufacturing and the development of software, to machine manufacturing and post-processing. In recent years, it has successfully claimed a leading role in bringing relevant topics to the regulatory agenda in Brussels.”

Simplified Blender User Interface

While the free 3D design and modeling software application Blender is very handy, it’s only helpful if you’re able to learn how to use it, and by some accounts, that is not an easy feat. But, now there’s a new version of Blender that includes a simplified user interface (UI) that’s so easy, even kids as young as 10 years old can figure out how to work it. FluidDesigner has used a new Blender 2.79 feature called Application Templates, which makes it possible to add a library of parametric smart objects and reduce the menu structure and interface.

“Application Templates allows for the simplification of the UI but with the whole power of Blender in the background. You can access nearly all of Blender commands from the Spacebar or by switching panels. Another way to look at it is that it is an Application Template is an almighty Add-On,” Paul Summers from FluidDesigner said in an email.

“All objects are either Nurbs or Bezier (2D) Curves for ease of editing. Nurbs objects in particular can be joined together to create personalised jewellery or artwork quickly and simply.

“There is no need to go to the trouble of joining objects using Boolean modifiers, instead you simply overlap Nurbs objects and then run the *.obj file through Netfabb Basic to repair any issues created with Blender objects. With its much simplified interface, created by Andrew Peel, FluidDesigner for 3D Printing with its parametric smart objects (Nurbs curves) is suitable for even the novice user. The current version runs under Blender 2.79 and can be accessed from the File menu.”

Protolabs Adds New DMLS Materials

Protolabs, a digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts, has announced that it is enhancing its direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) offering with two new materials. Nickel-based Inconel 718 is a heat- and corrosion-resistant alloy with high creep, fatigue, rupture, and tensile strength, is able to create a thick, stable, passivating oxide layer at high temperatures, which protects it from attack – making it an ideal material for aerospace and other heavy industries for manufacturing gas turbine parts, jet engines, and rocket engine components.

Maraging Steel 1.2709 is a pre-alloyed, ultra-high strength steel in the form of fine powder. It’s easy to heat treat with a simple thermal age-hardening process, and offers high hardness and high-temperature resistance, which makes it perfect for high performance industrial and engineering parts and tooling applications. These two new Protolabs materials additions help reinforce the company’s enduring reputation as one that can offer an impressive range of metals.

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