3D Printing Unicorn Desktop Metal to Go Public After Reverse Merger Deal

After becoming one of the fastest-growing 3D printing startups, Desktop Metal announced plans to go public following a reverse merger deal with blank check company Trine Acquisitions. The Boston-based metal 3D printing systems manufacturer revealed that the combined companies will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “DM” and are expected to have an estimated post-transaction equity value of up to $2.5 billion.

2020 has seen a surge of company’s opting to go public through special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger deals. During the first half of the year, there have been 79 SPAC IPOs that have raised gross proceeds of $32 billion, according to SPACInsider, a sharp increase from last year’s 59 SPAC IPO’s and gross proceeds of $13.6 billion. In fact, Desktop Metal follows in the steps of space tourism startup Virgin Galactic and electric car maker Nikola Corp, drawn to SPAC listings to go public without the risk and complexity of a traditional IPO.

Since coming out of stealth mode in 2017, Desktop Metal has managed to raise over $438 million in funding, becoming one of the fastest companies in US history to achieve unicorn status. Claiming to reinvent the way design and manufacturing teams 3D print metal and continuous carbon fiber parts, the company aims to create the world’s fastest metal 3D printers. Its broad product portfolio already includes an office-friendly metal 3D printing system for low volume production, as well as new mid-volume manufacturing and continuous fiber composite printers, both of which are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2020.

With a valuation of $1.5 billion, Desktop Metal is the first major Massachusetts-based 3D printing company to go public. Locally, Desktop Metal competitors include fellow 3D printing technology unicorn Formlabs in Somerville and continuous carbon fiber manufacturing company Markforged in Watertown.

“We are at a major inflection point in the adoption of additive manufacturing, and Desktop Metal is leading the way in this transformation,” said Ric Fulop, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Our solutions are designed for both massive throughput and ease of use, enabling organizations of all sizes to make parts faster, more cost effectively, and with higher levels of complexity and sustainability than ever before. We are energized to make our debut as a publicly traded company and begin our partnership with Trine, which will provide the resources to accelerate our go-to-market efforts and enhance our relentless efforts in R&D.”

Desktop Metal’s Shop System, an additive manufacturing solution targeted at the machine shop market and designed for mid-volume production of customer-ready metal parts. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

According to Desktop Metal, the deal will generate up to $575 million in gross proceeds, comprised of Trine’s $300 million of cash held in trust, and $275 million from fully committed common stock PIPE (private investment in public equity) at $10.00 per share. The move is expected to provide, what the company considers, an opportunity to build the “first $10 billion additive 2.0 company,” part of an emerging wave of next-generation additive manufacturing (AM) technologies expected to unlock throughput, repeatability and competitive part costs. With solutions featuring key innovations across printers, materials, and software, Desktop Metal anticipates this new trend to pull AM into direct competition with conventional processes used to manufacture $12 trillion in goods every year.

When consulted, 3DPrint.com’s own Executive Editor and Vice President of Consulting at SmarTech Analysis, Joris Peels, considered the deal to be an aggressive valuation when outlined against the current capabilities, technologies, growth and installed base of the firm. Peels explained that at present, he does not think that the transaction is commensurate with revenues or the perceived quality of its offering.

The expert further suggested that “the firm has consistently overstated capabilities. It has also had significant issues with deploying its technology in the field. Competition from firms such as Markforged, HP, and GE will expand the binder jet market considerably, but also offer alternatives to Desktop Metal. New startups such as One Click Metal, Laser Melting Innovations, Aconity3D and ValCUN can also provide alternative solutions. The low-cost metal market is set for rapid growth. These are the types of systems that we could expect in many a machine shop and factory in the years to come. The opportunity is for over 750,000 deployments worldwide, dwarfing the current market. The battle for dominance in this exciting space will yet see more market entrants arrive and we are in the initial stages of a very exciting time.”

Desktop Metal’s Production System is designed to be the fastest way to 3D print metal parts at scale. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

During a conference call on August 26, 2020 – just after news of Desktop Metal’s SPAC transaction were revealed – legendary technology investor and operator Leo Hindery, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Trine Acquisitions, said that Desktop Metal will be the “only pure-play opportunity available to public market investors in the additive manufacturing 2.0 space.”

Emphasizing his belief that the company is in the process of revolutionizing the industry, and developing a technology that will be a significant step in replacing mass manufacturing base, which has become antiquated, Hindery said this deal will become pivotal to transforming the products and industries that will drive the economy into the 21st century, including electric vehicles, 5G communications, digital supply chains, and space flight.

Both company CEOs suggested that the AM industry is slated to realize explosive growth over the next decade, reaching over ten times the 2019 market size, estimated to surge from $12 billion to $146 billion by 2030 as it shifts from prototyping to mass production.

Desktop Metal printers are used in the automotive industry. (Image courtesy of Desktop Metal)

To better understand the future of the AM metal industry, 3DPrint.com turned to Scott Dunham, SmarTech’s Vice President of Research, who reported on the market conditions today, stating that nothing changes in business without significant pain first.

“The metal additive manufacturing market in 2020 is feeling a combination of ongoing growing pains with difficulties in the sales environment now intensified due to economic effects from COVID-19. General manufacturing companies facing similar challenges, however, and now are faced with the choice of continuing on with the status quo in light of the pandemic exposing weaknesses in their supply chains, or making serious changes to address those weaknesses in the future. Both choices are fraught with risks,” Dunham suggests. “Metal additive manufacturing market stakeholders are hopeful this scenario may catalyze the industry back to strong growth as companies arrive at a decision to invest in new technologies and further develop their capabilities in concert with AM leaders to arrive better prepared for future challenges.”

Despite the current impasse, Dunham insists that the additive industry will ultimately benefit from a renewed push for cost savings, supply chain independence and agility, and a desire for faster manufacturing. Suggesting that not all will make it through the next two years in metal AM, but those which do will likely build the future of manufacturing that experts have anticipated for some time.

Desktop Metal’s innovative 3D printing metal systems used from prototyping through mass production. (Image courtesy of Desktop Metal)

In a quest to speed up technology development Desktop Metal is moving fast. The proposed business combination is expected to be completed by November 2020 and has already been approved by the boards of directors of the two companies. Once finalized, Desktop Metal will have post-deal cash on hand that will enable accelerated growth and product development efforts, especially as a large portion of the $575 million in gross proceeds from the deal will be dedicated to continuous product innovation and to pursue targeted acquisition opportunities.

The post 3D Printing Unicorn Desktop Metal to Go Public After Reverse Merger Deal appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

Wayland Additive to Launch Calibur 3 Production 3D Printer in January 2021

U.K. company Wayland Additive, spun out from engineering firm Reliance Precision, licensed the metal AM NeuBeam process from its parent company with an aim to commercialize it by 2021. This goal will soon become a reality, as Wayland has announced a major milestone — it will be commercially launching the Calibur 3, its first production NeaBeam 3D printing system, on January 27th of 2021.

“We are very happy to confirm the launch date for the Calibur 3,” Peter Hansford, the Director of Business Development for Wayland Additive, stated in a press release. “On 27th January next year we will be unveiling the full specs of the machine to our early adopters and partners as well as to the press at a dedicated event. Currently the plan is to bring people in to see it in action for themselves if we are able to with Covid 19 restrictions, but we will also be live-streaming the event for interested parties that may not be able to attend. 2020 has been an unprecedented year in many ways and the global pandemic has caused a great deal of disruption and uncertainty. At Wayland, however, we have been able to navigate through these difficulties and keep our focus on the development of our system. Talking to industrial users of metal AM throughout, it is clear that despite the disruptions, many companies are still making medium and long-term plans, and we look forward to serving them with our ground-breaking technology.”

NeuBeam metal AM technology is an electron beam powder bed fusion (PBF) process, and was created from the ground up, by a team of in-house physicists, in order to negate most of the compromises made when using metal 3D printing for part production. The process can actually neutralize the charge accumulation you normally see with electron beam melting (EBM), which enables more flexibility.  The creators used physics principles learned in the semiconductor sector to come up with this unique method, which, as the press release states, is able to overcome “the inherent instabilities of traditional eBeam processes,” along with the typical internal residual stresses that occur with PBF technologies.

Wayland’s NeuBeam technology can print fully dense parts in many different materials, including highly reflective alloys and refractory metals, which are not compatible with traditional laser PBF and eBeam processes; this results in much better metallurgy capabilities. NeuBeam is also a hot “part” process, instead of a hot “bed” process, as it applies high temperatures to the part only, and not the bed. This allows for free-flowing post-build powder and stress-free parts with less energy consumption, which makes for more efficient part printing.

The soon-to-launch Calibur 3 printer is an open system, and was specifically designed by Wayland to be used for production applications. That’s why the company made sure to add completely embedded in-process print monitoring to the system’s features, which allow users to enjoy full oversight during the process and rest easy knowing each part has full traceability.

“Save the date in your diary now. We are in the process of curating an impressive in-person and on-line event which will be of huge interest to industrial sectors that use or are planning to use metal AM for production applications,” said Will Richardson, Wayland Additive’s CEO. “January 27th 2021 will be a pivotal day for Wayland, but also a pivotal day for industry as they get a first clear view of the opportunities that exist through the use of our NeuBeam technology.”

NeuBeam technology

Wayland has said that it plans to start shipping the Calibur 3 to customers later in 2021.

(Source/Images: Wayland Additive)

The post Wayland Additive to Launch Calibur 3 Production 3D Printer in January 2021 appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3D Printing Financials: ExOne 27% Revenue Drop, Employee Layoffs and Government Contract in Q2 2020

Pioneer and global leader in binder jet 3D printing technology ExOne has posted a year-on-year revenue fall of 27% for their second-quarter earnings report. Company officials said challenging market conditions and future uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to put a strain on ExOne, particularly the disruptions to domestic and international shipping and the negative macroeconomic effects. In response to the global crisis, the company took several cost-saving actions, including a mix of employee terminations, furloughs, and pay rate reductions in an effort to save close to $2 million for the April through June quarter. Nonetheless, it is optimistic that a record backlog, increased liquidity, a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, and a growing interest in 3D printing from companies worldwide will increase revenues in the future.

Heavily disarrayed supply chains brought chaos as lockdown impositions around the world meant factories were shut down and transportation was disrupted. As the year’s second-quarter earnings season took off, we have witnessed countless companies inform revenue declines mainly due to the impacts of the pandemic and various curtailment measures. In the statement released on August 6, 2020, ExOne said the revenue for this period totaled $11.1 million, down from $15.3 million in Q2 2019, claiming its revenue decline resulted from a 47% decrease in earnings from 3D printing machines driven by lower volumes (eight units sold in the current quarter versus 13 in the prior-year period) and an unfavorable mix of machines sold. This decrease was partially offset by a 3% increase in revenue attributable to 3D printed and other products, materials, and services driven by funded research and development contracts.

ExOne Q2 2020 revenue summary. (Image courtesy of ExOne)

Following the report’s release, ExOne’s stock was trading at $9.90, a 1.44% increase compared to the previous day. On March 11, 2020, when COVID-19 reached pandemic status, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), company stock was trading at $5.16 and since then, its shares have increased by 95% and are now at $10.07.

ExOne’s CEO, John Hartner, said on an earnings call that the results showcase how ExOne business has truly differentiated within the 3D market and that during the second quarter they made contingent progress towards a more predictable revenue model delivering recurring revenues of $6.2 million, a year-on-year increase of 3%. Hartner explained that this is largely due to the growth in the company’s install base, funded R&D, and other engineering development services. He also particularly highlighted the continued growth of an already strong backlog to $38.2 million, a new record level that, he expects, will continue to support revenue predictability for some time. As well as a stable gross margin of 27.8% and a total liquidity increase to $29.7 million from $26.8 million on March 31, 2020.

“The fundamentals that support our business remain highly favorable, it may even be enhanced by the current market conditions. ExOne is part of a ten billion dollar 3D printing industry that is growing at double-digit rates and remains relatively young […],” explained the CEO. “We believe our binder jetting technology is in a sweet spot, as manufacturers look for smart and sustainable supply chain solutions that link into a new industry 4.0 dynamic.”

Record backlog for ExOne during Q2 2020. (Image courtesy of ExOne)

Although Hartner revealed that the operating results continue to be impacted by a prolonged downturn in the global manufacturing sector, which has in turn influenced the capital expenditures of its customers, he remains confident that Pennsylvania-headquartered ExOne can better the situation. Mainly through the combination of its encouraging backlog, robust front-of-sales funnel, traction in new contracts, recurring revenue stream, and accelerated market adoption of binder jetting technology to provide the basis for operating stability for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

Despite machine unit sales in Q2 being at 57% of Q1 2020, investments still remain focused on the further development of binder jetting technology, including the X1 160PRO metal 3D printing system, which is poised to move metal 3D printing into high volume production. The team of engineers behind its fabrication continues to receive many inbound requests and is already producing the first machine for its customers, remaining on target with the original release plans, and expecting first shipments by the end of 2020.

Machine unit sales for ExOne during Q2 2020. (Image courtesy of ExOne)

A focus on government R&D and adoption projects has provided diversified strength during the capital spending downturn for ExOne. The company revealed a significant contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a field-deployable binder jet 3D printer. The recently awarded $1.6 million contract is part of ExOne’s program development contracts with the U.S. government and companies that want to ramp up the engineering work associated with getting a production 3D print cell and workflow off the ground.

On this point, Hartner suggested that part of the growth in these contracts, which are recognized as recurring revenue, is leading towards future production machine sales. Beyond government awards, ExOne also has engaged several global manufacturers in the automotive, medical, and consumer goods industry on production program developments. Further revealing that at least one of these companies is planning to use the printers to modernize and decentralize the supply chain in key locations around the world.

The X1 160PRO from ExOne. (Image courtesy of ExOne)

Claiming to be the only binder jet 3D printing provider with a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for the direct printing of metals and ceramics in addition to sand molds and cores, ExOne expects to have a key competitive advantage by offering customers manufacturing flexibility through its more than 20 material printing capability. Last November, the company unveiled its tenth metal printer, the X1 160PRO, in what 3DPrint.com considered “a solid move towards a more production-oriented 3D printing industry.” Moreover, in two months, it expects to surround the new production 3D printers with a complete and intelligent workflow to enhance the user experience, from applications to monitor the 3D printers to entirely new 3D printing networks. Part of this has already been announced as the company revealed an entirely new Scout App to monitor industrial 3D printers and launched a new Sand 3D Printing Network, powered by more than 40 industrial binder jetting systems. Hartner suggested these are the first steps in broader long term plans to include new automation and software tools that are currently in development.

The post 3D Printing Financials: ExOne 27% Revenue Drop, Employee Layoffs and Government Contract in Q2 2020 appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

MakerOS Webinar: Make the Most Profit from Your 3D Printing Business

Web-based collaboration platform for 3D printing and digital fabrication companies MakerOS assists users in developing their products faster, no matter the stage or size of the company. It was founded by CEO Mike Moceri, who has copious amounts of experience in design, manufacturing, software, and business: he co-founded the very first 3D printing retail service bureau, located in Chicago, back in 2013, and followed this move by founding 3D printing and product design agency Manulith the next year.

MakerOS is sponsoring a free webinar, which 3DPrint.com is organizing, called “How to Make the Most Profit from 3D Printing,” which will be held on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, from 2-3 pm EDT. Any digital fabrication business owner or 3D printing shop manager looking to run a more successful business should definitely sign up for this webinar.

“If you don’t understand your costs, you don’t understand your business,” Moceri told 3DPrint.com.

Let’s say that you have successfully completed a 3D printing job for a client, but instead of the substantial profit you were expecting, you only barely broke even. If you care about staying afloat, you’ll want to determine the underlying cause of something like this. That’s why this webinar is so important—you’ll learn how to keep this from happening and gain a deeper understanding of all the various expenses and costs that go into running your 3D printing business. This way, you will be able to set accurate, fair prices and maximize your profits.

“So what we’ll do in this webinar is we’ll figure out what are the core and most important points of cost analysis. We’ll go into detail on how to determine margins and profits for your operation, as well as the philosophy and rationale behind those calculations,” Moceri explained to us.

“We’ll provide a framework and how to think about your business starting with the costs and then we’ll talk about the philosophical aspects of determining margins and ultimately profits for your business.”

By attending this MakerOS webinar, you’ll come away with the knowledge of how to successfully run your digital fabrication or 3D printing shop. The insights attendees will gain can help steer thinking towards a cost-specific perspective, leading to higher profits, and you’ll learn how to recognize subtle things that could negatively affect your margins.

Every webinar attendee will receive access to a spreadsheet that they can use to make calculations and projections to, as Moceri explained, “see what the most optimal path to profitability is for their business.” In addition, the participants will have the chance to learn all of this from someone who has consulted with industry experts from all around the world and has successfully started multiple 3D printing services…Moceri himself.

Featured on MSN, NBC, Make Magazine, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the D-Business Magazine, which once called him the “Face of 3D printing,” Moceri was once a mentor at TechTown Detroit, and currently serves as a mentor at WeWork Labs in NYC and the Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator. He is also an author, having recently published an e-book titled How to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic as a 3D Printing or Fabrication Shop, along with 9 Lessons for Optimizing Your Product Development Service. You can find both of Moceri’s e-books on the recently launched MakerOS Zone of our website.

What else can you expect to see in the MakerOS Zone? Plenty! There are also free video tutorials, such as “How to Price for SLA 3D Printing” and “Why We Made a 3D Printing Pricing Calculator,” along with the aforementioned pricing calculator itself. The MakerOS Zone also includes articles about the company that have been published on our website, as well as MakerOS articles found elsewhere on the web. Finally, you can access the company’s webinars “How to Optimally Price For Your 3D Printing Service Bureau in 2020,” and “How to Make the Most Profit from 3D Printing,” as previously mentioned. You can register here for the latter, which will be held on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, from 2-3 pm EDT.

The post MakerOS Webinar: Make the Most Profit from Your 3D Printing Business appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

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.

The post HP and Dyndrite Partner to Create Next Generation 3D Printing Solutions appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey, Part 1

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this year’s 3DEXPERIENCE Forum by Dassault Systèmes had to be re-imagined as a virtual event, just like so many other conferences. At 1 pm EDT on July 29th, nearly two months after the in-person event was meant to have taken place in Florida, the company began the live stream of the Plenary Session for “3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey,” a series of digital programming that replaced the annual North America customer event.

Unfortunately, the webinar seemed to be having issues, which continued on and off over the next two hours of the live stream, so I missed pieces here and there. Technical difficulties happen all the time at live events, too, so the only real difference here was that I couldn’t raise my hand and say, “I’m sorry, the audio and picture cut out, could you repeat that please?” Luckily, Dassault had the webinar up to view on-demand the very next day, so I was able to go back and check out the parts that I had missed.

Erik Swedberg, Managing Director, North America, Dassault Systèmes, got things started with his segment on “Business in the Age of Experience: Challenges and Opportunities for North America,” which focused on manufacturing and supply chains, and why companies looking to transform, some sooner than they’d hoped due to the pandemic, should “invent the industry of tomorrow,” rather than trying to digitize the past or the present.

“Yesterday, businesses focused on automation of the manufacturing system; this is Industry 4.0. Today, many industrials are digitizing the enterprise system. It’s not enough. You need to create experiences. Tomorrow, the game changers will be those with the best developed knowledge and know-how assets. Why? Simple. Because the Industry Renaissance is about new categories of new industrials creating new categories of solutions for new categories of consumers,” Swedberg said.

He mentioned Tesla and Amazon, companies in Silicon Valley working to create autonomous vehicles, and fab labs creating and printing smart, connected objects.

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a platform for knowledge and know-how—a game changer, collaborative environment that empowers businesses and people to innovate in an entirely new way,” he continued. “Digital experience platforms for industry, urban development, and healthcare will become the infrastructure for the 21st century.”

Swedberg explained how 3DEXPERIENCE can allow any business to become social, by connecting employee innovation into the system where the company’s products are designed. This was a common theme today, which you’ll be able to see later.

He also explained that, with Dassault’s 13 brand applications—such as SIMULIA, CATIA, and SOLIDWORKS—the company can serve a wide variety of industries, helping its customers on their journey to invent tomorrow’s industry.

“In summation, we are in the experience economy, the Industry Renaissance is here, and world events are accelerating the need for digital transformation. As the world changes, we will partner with you for success,” Swedberg concluded. “We have the people and the insights to help you on your journey.”

Dassault’s Vice Chairman & CEO Bernard Charlès was up next, speaking about “From Things to Life.” He first said that he hoped no one on the live stream, or their loved ones and colleagues, had been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’ve gone through a tough time, all of us. And we are with you, and we are learning a lot also from the crisis,” Charlès said.

Even though I’ve worked from home for nearly four years now, other aspects of my life have been turned upside down in the last few months, and I felt a kind of solidarity whenever the session’s speakers brought up how all of our lives, and our industry, have changed. Charlès also congratulated everyone signed into the live stream on working together, and continuing to innovate, during the pandemic; the continuing health crisis was another theme that threaded throughout the plenary session.

He said that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is about inclusiveness, “because it means ideas and people connecting.” He shared some of the work that 3DEXPERIENCE users had accomplished during the recent and varied quarantines, such as creating respirators, improving logistics, and working to make the quality of airflow in hospitals better. He said that all of these projects were done on the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud.

“So many of you accelerated the cloud implementation, to be able to work from anywhere, especially from home, during confinement time.”

He mentioned that we are moving from a product economy to an experience economy, and that, in the long run, companies will continue to produce, and maintain ownership of, products and services throughout the life cycle, while their customers will get to enjoy the experience.

“That will accelerate innovation for a sustainable world,” Charlès said.

Next, he talked about a few companies that have been using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for interesting projects, like California-based Canoo, which dreams about refining urban mobility with an electric vehicle that can be used as a service or subscription, rather than being owned by individuals.

In order to create innovation, Charlès said, you need to be sure that your digital platform will work, and Canoo stated that 3DEXPERIENCE hit the mark here, helping to speed things up in the product development process.

He then talked about Arup, a company that’s using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a virtual Hong Kong for city planning purposes. Arup is working to make Hong Kong a smart city, and the platform is helping the company in this endeavor; for example, Arup and Dassault just completed a project called the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure Built Environment Application platform…say that three times fast.

Finally, Charlès explained that the role of life sciences is to “protect what we care about,” and said that industry pioneers are coming up with new and different ways to diagnose and care for people. He stated that creating new healthcare experiences is a complex project, because it means converting big data into smart data and simulating real world situations in a virtual world. Luckily, 3DEXPERIENCE can help with this.

“3DEXPERIENCE…is a system of operation, because the platform can help you run your business, and the platform should also help you invent a new business model,” Charlès concluded. “The common values across all the industries we serve is putting the human at the center of everything we do.”

Next, Renee Pasman, Director of Integrated Systems at Skunk Works for Lockheed Martin, provided an overview of using the digital thread, and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, for the product lifecycle, “and how Lockheed Martin is leveraging it to drive increased affordability, efficiency and collaboration throughout the lifecycle.”

“…Our projects cover the entire product life cycle that you might imagine from an aerospace and defense type of program, all the way from conceptual design through modeling and simulation, manufacturing, to sustainment and end of life,” she explained. “And one key part of the Skunk Works culture in the last 75 years has been very close collaboration across all of those areas. What we’ve learned as we have started this digital thread initiative is that by giving our workforce these latest tools, we’ve been able to make that collaboration easier, to be able to make it go faster, to be able to bring data in sooner, make better decisions, see what the impacts are of those decisions, and use that to guide where we are going.”

She explained that the product lifecycle “really starts with design,” and said that by starting this new Near Term Digital Thread/Affordability initiative and giving its workforce the 3DEXPERIENCE tools, Skunk Works has learned that collaboration is faster and stronger, and that we “make better decisions to guide where we’re going.”

We’ve all heard about this issue before—there are two versions of an important product document, and some people update one, while others update the other, and no one has a clear idea of which version is correct and most up-to-date. It’s frustrating to say the least. But Pasman noted that by using the 3DEXPERIENCE product lifecycle management platform, “we’re starting to see efficiency benefits now.”

Pasman also said that the Skunk Works team has learned something “unexpected” with the platform, and that’s the social collaboration it provides, which allows users to “make changes with a level of certainty.”

“We hadn’t necessarily focused on this area, but our teams really used this environment to collaborate better, and found it to be very useful to have all information in that single source of truth.”

Pasman also noted the usefulness of having a life cycle digital twin, as it “allows us to tie it all the way back not just to manufacturing but actually back into design, and making sure the data flows in the digital twin seamlessly.”

“I think if you talk to maintainers or sustainment and users, there’s a lot of time spent putting data into different systems. By making it easier to do that, it allows people to focus on the hard parts of their job, and not just the data entry parts,” she explained. “Collaboration between different areas and getting data flowing is where we see a lot of the benefit from 3DEXPERIENCE, from affordability and product quality perspectives. We’re focused now on how to take the next step in this journey and improve schedule and affordability to fit into the market space that we are working in today. That’s where a lot of the work from our digital thread initiatives have been focused.”

Next up, Craig Maxwell, the Vice President and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Ohio-based motion and control technologies leader Parker Hannifin, spoke about “Simple By Design.” The multinational company has been integrating some of the tools that Dassault has been developing over the past few years, which has been valuable to the company.

“When we look at any enterprise or business, we saw these as opportunities that would manifest themselves as complexity,” he said in reference to the image below. “An average customer experience, which might be the ability to ship on time, with high and consistent quality. Of course, inconsistent delivery would manifest itself as complexity. High cost would be complexity…and then all of this would beget complexity in its many forms.”

GIPI = Global Industrial Performance Index

He said that all of these complexities can add up to new opportunities to take the company on the path to high performance. Maxwell also explained that the company’s traditional simplification efforts had revolved around design and organizational structure, explaining that 80% of any business’s profits and sales come from 20% of its portfolio.

“So by slicing and dicing that, could we eliminate complexity? The answer is a resounding yes,” Maxwell said.

He explained that 70% of a product’s cost is design, while 30% is labor and overhead, like lean manufacturing and the supply chain. The key is to spend less time on L&O, or conventional simplification, and work harder to reduce business complexity in that 70% design range. He said there are hundreds and thousands of decisions made on the L&O side, which, while easier to change, had a more limited impact on the long life cycles of their products.

“There were processes in place that we felt could address that reactively, not proactively,” he said.

With design, the decisions made were “relatively few and quick,” even though they could make a significant impact, because they would be difficult to change, mainly due to expensive tooling.

“We believe that if we can address design complexity, it would enable us to move faster and to grow by taking market share,” Maxwell said.

He explained that the cross-functional team Parker Hannifin set up to address “new” product complexity in a proactive way knew early on that there are two different value streams of Simple by Design.

“New products, for sure, but also core products,” he said. “If you look at where the money is, new products get a lot of attention, but our business is core products…they’re undergoing revisions constantly because our customers are asking for things that are different.”

The team decided to tackle new products first, and spent a lot of time working on design-related objectives, which is where they thought “a lot of the complexity and cost was being created.” He explained that the team wanted to keep the customer at the center of their attention, figure out what their pain points were and what they wanted, and get rid of the things that didn’t add value.

“The first principle of Simple by Design is design with Forward Thinking. With that deep customer engagement, anticipate what your customers are going to ask for in the future,” he explained. “Are there things we can do to the design of the product that, without increasing cost, that will allow us to make changes to it at a later date? The second principle is Design to Reduce, so to reduce complexity, can we reduce the number of new parts that we have, can we reduce the number of new suppliers we have? Can we eliminate proprietary materials that might be hard to come by?

“Design to Reuse – can we reuse parts that already exist? Why do we need to invent new when we’ve already got very similar or exactly what we need released into the system…and then finally, if we do the first three, we should see flow in the factory. We should not see the kind of bottlenecks that we experience today.”

Maxwell said that Dassault comes in with software tools that provide access to data, which “is the big game changer.” He talked about all of the many books and catalogs that were in his office at the beginning of his career, noting that engineers today just can look at all of this information online, because they have access to data. Parker Hannifin estimates that it has about 26 million active part numbers, which is a lot to keep track of, and Maxwell said that roughly 45% of a typical design engineer’s time is spent searching for information.

“So if I had access to the data behind that 26 million part numbers, what would happen? And today, I’m not embarrassed to say that generally we don’t. There’s a lot of things that we do many many times, we’re a very diversified company, we’re global, ” Maxwell said. “It’s not unusual for people to spend their entire career here in the company and not talk to a lot of other operating divisions…outside of the one they work in. So what if I could connect them and give them access to information, what kind of leverage might I enjoy?”

He brought up the company’s usage of Dassault’s EXALEAD OnePart, which can give multiple division access to this kind of information. Maxwell said that this software was used “early on in testing and in value creation,” which was very helpful in finding duplicate parts or component-level parts that already exist in the system, so no one had to create a new part.

Below is a test case he showed of Parker successfully using Dassault tools. FET is an industry-standard 6000 PSI thread to connect couplings, and there are a lot of competitors for parts like this. The company was working to design a new series that was more of a premium product than the original FET.

“We applied simplified design principles,” he explained. “There’s four different sizes, it was bespoke, very distinct from the FET series that was standard. It was fully validated and ready for launch. But it added 147 component parts to the value stream.”

The team focused here, and used the simplified design principles to make the decision to recycle the validated part, and go back to the drawing board.

“Is there an opportunity for us to reuse some of the parts that already exist in the FET series in the new 59 series, but still maintaining the 59 series’ premium features and benefits?”

You can see the results of keeping things simplified above—123 parts were eliminated, while keeping the series at 100% function. The new 59 series shares 90% of its components with the original FET series, and no additional capital was spent on equipment. Costs and inventory went down, and delivery went up, which Maxwell called a “great example of flow.”

Swedberg then introduced Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President, Industry, Marketing, Global Affairs and Workforce of the Future for Dassault Systèmes, who would discuss “How to Transform the New Normal into an Opportunity.”

She opened by discussing how the COVID-19 crisis has changed everything, such as having to stay home and social distancing, and I’m sure we all agreed with this statement. But now we’re entering a new phase of building back after the pandemic, and building back better, as businesses reopen.

“How do you think you managed during COVID?” she asked. “Are you ready to transform, to perform better in the new normal world? Do you know how to become more resilient and therefore be prepared for the next crisis?”

Verzelen discussed some of the stark numbers coming out of the pandemic, such as 53 million—the number of jobs considered to be “at risk” during confinement and quarantine.

“In the 21st century, we have never seen a crisis of this amplitude,” she said. “And when it happens, as industry leaders, there are really two things, two imperatives, we should consider. Ensure the survival of our company, and contribute to the safeguard of the economy.”

There are five actions to take here, and the first priority is to protect employees and make sure they can safely do their jobs.

Verzelen explained that the 3DEXPERIENCE tool SIMULIA can help with this in many ways, such as simulating the airflow in a building’s corridors. She also said that companies can “implore their employees to work from home” without disruption, which is possible thanks to Dassault’s cloud solution.

The second thing necessary to keep your company surviving is maintaining its financial health.

“COVID-19 has affected the liquidity of many companies,” she said. “Less revenue, more costs…and in order to make decisions, you need to be able to build a scenario.”

Online sales can help keep companies afloat during a crisis, and also help maintain the connection to customers. Dassault can help with these as well through its data analytics solutions and digital tools. Adapting your company’s marketing and sales for an online experience is the third way to ensure its survival.

The fourth thing is to safeguard the supply chain. The disruption of one supplier can decimate production all the way down the whole chain, which can include suppliers in locations all over the world.

“During a crisis, it becomes essential to know where the weak points are,” Verzelen said. “This again we can do thanks to digitalization and thanks to data analytics.”

Finally, companies need to help the ecosystem, otherwise it will not survive. Dassault made sure that all of its solutions and tools were readily available on the cloud so that all customers could continue to work to keep the ecosystem going.

But, even though the world is slowly coming out of confinement, Verzelen warns that “it’s not over yet.” The use of automation will likely increase, and e-commerce is skyrocketing in Italy.

“It’s the beginning of a new phase. It’s the beginning of what we call the new normal.”

A lot of decisions need to be made when you’re restarting a business. Again, Dassault can help with this by building scenarios, so companies know the right steps to take, and in what order, to successfully reopen.

“We all have to change,” Verzelen said. “We’re developing new capabilities for employees, and making learning experiences available online to make sure your teams are ready. Returning to business probably means we need to rethink our supply chain, and we know that a contact-limited economy is here to stay. So you should push for e-commerce, and be prepared to work in contact-limited economy.”

She stated that the 3DEXPERIENCE allows companies to “unlock unlimited value,” and help us cope during this new normal.

“There are many ways to be resilient, and all of those ways are linked to innovation and sustainability.”

The paradigm has changed, and we need to be realistic going forward, and focus on sustainability in operations and business models, such as turning to additive manufacturing if your usual supplier can’t get you what you need in time.

“With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform you can create this kind of business model…create more efficiently, design more quickly,” she said.

“In a nutshell, we are going through very difficult times right now…But this crisis can also be seen as an opportunity to rethink what we do, and build back better.”

Finally, Swedberg introduced three additional Dassault panelists for the final discussion: Dr. Ales Alajbegovic, Vice President, SIMULIA Industry Process Success & Services; Garth Coleman, Vice President, ENOVIA Advocacy Marketing; and Eric Green, DELMIA’s Brand Marketing Vice President. These three are in charge of the content for the rest of 3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey, as it continues on:

  • “Fueling Innovation for the New Agile Enterprise,” August 26th
  • “Modeling & Simulation, Additive Manufacturing,” September 23rd
  • “Enabling Business Continuity Using the Cloud,” October 14th

L-R: Swedberg, Green, Coleman, Alajbegovic

Green said that three themes would be articulated in these upcoming sessions, all of which will fall under the “sustainable operations” umbrella: data-driven decision-making, leveraging agile success and being agile for success, and business resiliency. Coleman mentioned that the many customer references and testimonials found on the 3DEXPERIENCE site provide many examples of how the platform has helped customers innovate across every industry…even wine-making! Dr. Alajbegovic said that they are “very excited” about the upcoming modeling and simulation sessions and additive manufacturing panels.

“In our sessions, we will look at ways to enable the marriage between modeling and simulation, thus revolutionizing design,” Dr. Alajbegovic said.

It’s not too late to register for 3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey, so sign up today to enjoy access to further digital programming from Dassault Systèmes.

The post 3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey, Part 1 appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

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.

The post US Air Force 3D Prints Part for $2.2 Billion Stealth Bomber appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

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, 3DPrint.com 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.

The post regenHU CEO: Bioprinting Will Strengthen OrganTrans Project to 3D Print Liver Organoid appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

MX3D Uses Robot Arm to 3D Print Robot Arm, Installs it on Robot

MX3D’s steel bridges are an inspiring sight to see, but, even if bridges are what the Dutch firm is known for, they are not the only thing the firm is capable of making. The company now has released a new 3D printed robot arm component made with its metal AM system, which relies on an industrial robotic arm of its own.

Made together with industrial automation company ABB and software simulation firm Altair, the new arm has been optimized by the Altair team working in conjunction with MX3D. Altair’s generative algorithms were not only used to cut part weight in half, but also to improve toolpath planning on the printer to increase the print speed. The total print time was four days and connecting surfaces were finished on a three-axis milling machine. The part has now been installed and is in use on an industrial robot.

It is a good week for 3D printing bridges since we recently wrote about DSM’s polymer bridges. MX3D has been making WAAM printers relying on industrial robotic arms since around 2014 and we’ve kept you in the loop on its progress, use of machine learning, and projects involving Digital Twins for bridges and other large steel structures. Coupling finite element analysis (FEA) and the Digital Twin to manufacturing large-scale 3D printed parts is a key component of the DSM polymer bridges, MX3D’s metal bridges, and BAM’s concrete bridges. Indeed BAM’s concrete bridge factory is around the corner from Olivier van Herpt’s Eindhoven ceramics 3D printing lab with its ceramics and porcelain. One does get the feeling that it would be great if these four firms spoke with each other at one point, given that so many similar 3D printing initiatives are ongoing in the Netherlands.

Are we seeing larger-scale 3D printing coming into its own? Firms are bridging the gap between the virtual and real-world through connecting data to optimized toolpaths, designs, and parts. Driven by resolution limitations, difficulties of working with industrial robots (lack of memory, proprietary syntax), and a strict regulatory environment large scale firms are turning to software to solve their problems.

We’re seeing a remarkable difference between the “house printing” companies—who seem, on the whole, to be rather optimistic and cavalier about their endeavors to print buildings—and the large scale part printing cohort of enterprises. The latter, which includes MX3D, seems much more in tune with regulatory requirements, certification, and software than the former. Perhaps, because you can’t really sell a bridge ex-works, while a demo house doesn’t have any regulatory requirements, so the parts builders have been put onto a more difficult digital path.

But, through controlling toolpaths, FEA, weight reduction, and using this as a tool to try to get parts built correctly, companies have been forced to deal with these things early on in their machine and process design stages. This, in turn, has led to them being better placed to build actual parts for the actual world. Meanwhile, the “housebuilders” are building much larger more media-savvy structures that have yet to be subject to many thoughts on how they will be built safely.

In 3D printing for construction, it would seem that the earlier on your business model encounters regulatory opposition, the earlier you will design safety, reliability, and repeatability into your process. Logical perhaps, but not something considered so far by the industry at large. One will expect however that the “go big or go home” crowd will seem to be ahead initially, but then take much longer to develop process control once they start building parts that will go on the open market and touch the realities of such arcane and frightening things, such as the law.

Whereas houses may be the best clickbait, there are myriad of other parts that can be built with robot arm construction systems through 3D printing. Generally, we can see that our market does nanoprinting on the submicron and micron-scale (femtoprint, nScrypt), microprinting on the mm to micron scale (3D Micro Print), regular 3D printing which starts from several mm parts to around 50 cm parts (RepRap, Ultimaker), medium format printing which is for parts of up to one cubic meter (BigRep, Builder), large format 3D printing for parts from one cubic meter to around ten cubic meters (CEAD, BAAM) and macro 3D printing which is parts that are larger than 10 cubic meters (3D Printhuset).

At each and every scale we can see a strange thing happening. Scale drives accuracy which drives value which, in turn, determines go-to market and that determines the level of quality leveled at the part. This is super logical in the sense that small things often have to be precise in order to exactly fit small assemblies, which in turn are likely to be a part of something complex that needs high tolerance—a watch, for example.

At the same time, if you can make things that are 1 mm x 1 mm or less, then a stent is something that you can do and you won’t think of car bumpers. Of the total set of things sold in the 1mm x 1mm x 1mm range, often a disproportionate number of these things actually have high value due to their precision manufacturing requirements.

This is, again, logical but could go against the conventional wisdom that more material equals more expensive production cost or the “rule of most things” that stipulates that larger things are typically bigger. In the mid-ranges, there also seems to be an ongoing effect whereby, if the things that you print are likely to be the same size as inexpensive manufactured goods but are more difficult to make, larger and smaller things can vary more widely in price. Production difficulty, in large or small structures, drives price and applications, as well. I’m not saying that size is solely deterministic, but we are seeing effects here.

On the micro- and nanoscale, quality systems are adopted rapidly by participants due to their adjacency to the medical business. If medical is the most profitable thing you can do and just about the only thing you can do, you’re going to end up having a cleanroom. Meanwhile, it took a long time for a lot of service bureaus to turn to ISO, and desktop machines are currently still sold with a warranty that scarcely lasts past the UPS carrier’s hands. Now increasingly, quality systems and certifications are being adopted by desktop companies and service bureaus. In larger-scale things, we’re seeing medium format start to look at quality now.

Many of us are familiar with the innovator’s dilemma, whereby a large volume good enough product displaces a better more expensive earlier one. Could we in 3D printing see a similar effect where higher quality systems engineered for smaller sizes could displace established entrants with larger sized parts? If Prusa and Ultimaker were good at precision in the 10-cm range, wouldn’t it be fairly easy for them to scale their systems on the back of their existing installed base?

Crucially, they wouldn’t have to adapt all systems completely, but just make some components stronger to reach the next size of medium-format machines. If they jumped to the Cincinnati BAAM category, of course then they’d have to completely re-engineer everything, but the adjacent category would be simple for them to do. But, for them to work at the microscale would mean a lot of adjustments to their current design and manufacturing of hardware components as well as working in a higher quality standards way.

This leap would be daunting, especially since the volume of products made with the smaller category would be less than with their own. Furthermore, they could expect to sell less material and fewer machines in the smaller size category, but more material and fewer machines in the one-size larger category. Especially consumables driven firms or companies such as polymer firms will benefit from more parts, faster print speeds and larger sized parts. The sum total of these effects could indicate pressure on firms to move into larger scaled manufacturing all the time, but ignore smaller scales.

If we look at MX3D for example, we may think of its bridges which it may sell in the hundreds if it got them right and could certify them. But, MX3D also can sell many more smaller components at larger volumes as well. Its Takenaka connector for example needs precision, but this component could sell in its thousands. Bike frames need to fit with precision components, such as derailleurs, and the precision and volume required for these components can drive its other businesses. Operational advantages gained here could be used to earn margin on larger components, such as bridges, that few can make. It seems blindingly obvious if we compare it to bicycle companies moving to passenger cars and then sometimes to vans and sometimes to trucks. This development seems to be a very similar one.

If this holds true, then for MX3D, the future could be in making many medium-sized parts for a larger scale future. In Dutch we have an expression, “wie het kleine niet eert, is het grote niet weed”, which means, “he who does not honor the small things does not deserve the large.” For 3D printing, this expression may hold very true indeed.

The post MX3D Uses Robot Arm to 3D Print Robot Arm, Installs it on Robot appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3DTrust Releases Intelligent Powder Management Solution for Quality Control

3DTrust is a five-year-old startup that began in Munich. In the beginning, the team was one of a crop of startups that wanted to secure the digital supply chain. Through encryption and software, companies could assure themselves that they were printing the right parts, according to the firm. Through product development and contact with the market, the startup has since evolved.

Now, 3DTrust has ten staff, offices in Toulouse and Munich, and a new focus on repeatability. The company saw that the real challenges in 3D printing were in “printing any part anywhere and making sure that quality is right every time” according to cofounder Antoine Jeol. Jeol has a venture capital (VC) background at 3M and learned an immense amount from 3DTrust being a part of Airbus’s startup accelerator. This knowledge led 3DTrust to pivot away from security and toward a more manufacturing-focused offering.

The 3DTrust team cofounders: (L-R) Andrei Mituca, Alexandre Guérin and Antoine Jeol.

When the team partially located to Toulouse for the accelerator program, they were confronted with the challenges that Airbus and its suppliers have. Of course, security is important in commercial aviation, but, other factors, such as traceability, are also of extreme concern. Aviation firms always need to know where parts come from, when they are made, by whom, in what orientation, with which batch of material, on which machine, etc. The team also saw just how many production steps 3D printing for manufacturing required.

Another 3DTrust cofounder I spoke to is Alexandre Guérin, who came from Siemens where he worked at that company’s VC arm. Guérin said that, at many manufacturing companies, the 3DTrust team saw challenges in the “scheduling of production, especially since scheduling and tracking was a manual step, often done with post-its or in Excel.”

The team had to first understand what it took to conduct day-to-day manufacturing with 3D printing. By working with manufacturers, they gained a more in-depth understanding that let them develop their software to work on and with the shop floor. They had to get their software to work with the most popular brands of industrial AM equipment to read and collate data from each of them.

“It could be much more efficient if this tracking was done in software and future job planning was done algorithmically…with reduced human error…resulting in more parts being delivered on time,” Guérin said. “[We had to connect] with EOS, Renishaw, SLM Systems, Stratasys, AddUp and 3D Systems machines… to monitor every machine. If a machine stops, the error notification will get tracked in the software, which can analyze historical trends, detect mistakes, monitor gas levels, get real-time temperatures, receive notifications for specific events, get utilization data and performance data as well.”

With 3DTrust, a user can subscribe to a single machine or multiple machines to only receive the data relevant to them.

Making accessible all of that manufacturing data, scheduling, optimizing, and ensuring traceability is really what the company does now. Jeol believes that every AM machine should be connected and that, while there is a lot of data, in order to achieve true Industry 4.0 process control, that data has to be extracted from all of the connected systems and well managed. Once this happens, 3DTrust can perform traceability, productivity optimization, and analyze entire fleets of additive systems producing parts on time, as well as the post-production steps, to decide what should be done.

In response to client needs, they developed two entirely different architectures. In one, all of their software can be deployed locally, through ethernet cables and customer servers. In the other, Hybrid system, all of the file data is stored locally, but information—such as sensor values—is shared in the company’s cloud. The former version would be especially useful for defense and aviation companies, a group that has traditionally been wi-fi adverse. 3DTrust offers these tools in the form of software-as-a-service, with the company charging $650 per month per machine, although university and large installation pricing are also available. The setup consists of one to three days, typically with 3DTrust often conducting an on-site training for staff of two days.

Users can view individual machine data, aggregate data or dive into individual build plates. They can upload STL or CAD files and queue jobs; files can also be downloaded and re-uploaded from Magics and Netfabb so it is possible to continue to use a preferred file-checking solution in tandem with the software. The output is a specific job file for a user’s particular machine. One could store files in the cloud and schedule or assign files or build platforms to machines or series of post-processing steps. Adjustments in print quality, results, machine utilization, status updates, and part traceability all happen in the software. Users can see delivery dates, materials, and add notes to files and jobs. It can be used in a service environment, in manufacturing or as an internal shared service for large firms.

Through drilling down into each process, machine, and job users can get very granular data, but they can also see performance across time series or analyze all of the alerts and events that delayed builds. One can interface with onboard cameras in printers to check errors and look at individual layers as they are being built, as well.

Jeol said that initially, “We focused on a few key customers in medical, automotive and aerospace to make those customers happy. Making [the software] in conjunction with the guys on the shop floor every day helped us bring value to customers.”

Guérin believes that their customers are using data to get parts made right the first time in AM.

Guérin said, “Optimizing planning saves costs, makes the machines and processes more efficient, faster and cheaper, letting customers industrialize their technology for true serial production.”

In addition to its flagship product, the 3DTrust team has just released a powder management solution. I was very excited about this since, for metals, powder management is key to getting good outcomes in prints, especially for manufacturing. Powder management is essential, but very tedious and time-consuming, especially in highly regulated environments. With the company’s new tool, users can track powder, do inventory management, and use a system that makes tracking easier and more robust as a process.

Meant mainly for large manufacturing companies, but also for universities, the software has some convenient tricks such as a QR print-and-read functionality that lets users stick their own labels on everything. I know from acquaintances that the profusion or lack of labels is often an annoyance. Now, handheld or phone-based scanners can read a production line or lab’s own QR barcodes to quickly tell them about a box, jar or pellet. The system lets users see quantities, dates, materials, storage conditions and availability.

Jeol mentioned that It also enables you to run a “genealogy, a family tree, to see, based on a part, where it came from, with which powder, where it was stored, where it was made, and in which boxes.” It can also be used to track samples or batch tests, with users then able to go back to identify parts or powders that failed tests. Users can also rely on scheduling tools to monitor how often a powder is recycled and combine it with job scheduling, so that a planned job is not able to use a powder recycled more than four times, for example. I’m very bullish on 3DTrust’s powder management tool and would recommend looking at it if you work in a production metal printing environment. It seems to be an intuitive, time-saving piece of technology.

The post 3DTrust Releases Intelligent Powder Management Solution for Quality Control appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.