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

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

Fraunhofer’s Industry 4.0 Webinar

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

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

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

Formnext 2020 Still a Go in Frankfurt

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

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

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

Visagio and DiManEx Partnering to Improve AM Supply Chains

(Image: DiManEx)

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

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

3D Printed Cisco Live 2020 Installation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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POLYLINE Project: Developing Digital Production Line for 3D Printing Spare & Series Automotive Parts

Because 3D printing can ensure complex structures and geometry, mass production of individualized products seems closer than ever. But, since standards are somewhat lacking across process chains, and automated levels of handling and transport processes are low, it’s only possible to achieve horizontal and vertical AM integration in production lines on a limited basis. Additional obstacles include limited monitoring and a lack of transparency across the process chain, due to a non-continuous digital data chain at lots of interfaces. But the potential benefits of integrating AM into assembly and series production lines in the automotive industry are great, which is why the POLYLINE project was launched.

With 10.7 Mio. Euro in funding by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), this “lighthouse project” is bringing together 15 industrial, science, and research partners from across Germany with the shared goal of creating a digital production line for 3D printed spare and series automotive parts.

The three-year project officially began at a kick-off meeting of the consortium partners this spring at the Krailling headquarters of industrial 3D printing provider EOS, which is leading the project. The other 14 partners are:

BMBF is funding POLYLINE as part of the “Photonics Research Germany – Light with a Future” program in order to set up AM as a solid alternative for series production. The resulting next-generation digital production line will 3D print plastic automotive parts in an aim to complement more traditional production techniques, like casting and machining, with high-throughput systems.

The project is looking to disrupt the digital and physical production line system, and is using an interesting approach to do so that, according to a press release, “takes a holistic view and implements all required processes.” To succeed, all of the quality criteria and central characteristic values from the CAD model to the printed part need to be recorded and documented, and individual production sub-processes, like the selective laser sintering, cooling, and post-processing, will be automated and added to the production line. For the first time, all technological elements of the SLS production chain will be linked as a result.

Schematic representation of a laser sintering production line

Per the application partner’s requirements, the production line will be realized with “a high degree of maturity,” and uses cases for POLYLINE will include large amounts of both serial and customized components.

Each partner will add its own contribution to the POLYLINE project. Beginning with the leader, the EOS P 500 system will have real-time monitoring and automated loading of exchange frames added to its features; the printer will also be embedded in an automatic powder handling system. Premium automotive manufacturer the BMW Group, already familiar with 3D printing, has a massive production network of 31 plants in 15 countries, and is creating a catalog of requirements for the project to make sure that the new line will meet automotive industry standards. Additionally, the demonstrator line will be set up near its Additive Manufacturing Campus, and cause-and-effect relationships will be jointly researched.

Iterations of a BMW Roof Bracket made with 3D printing. (Image: BMW Group)

Industrial process automation specialist Grenzebach will be responsible for material flow and transport between AM processes, as well as helping to develop automated hardware and software interfaces for these processes. 3YOURMIND is setting up a data-driven operating model, which will include “qualified digital parts inventories, orders processing, jobs and post-processing planning and execution, material management, and quality control,” while software solutions developer Additive Marking is focusing on quality management optimization and resource efficiency.

Post-processing specialist DyeMansion will develop a process for certified, UV-stable automotive colors, create Industry 4.0-ready solutions for cleaning and mechanical surface treatment with its PolyShot Surfacing (PSS) process, and contribute its Print-to-Product platform’s MES connectivity. Bernd Olschner GmbH will offer its customer-specific industrial cleaning solutions, Optris will make fast pyrometers and special thermal imaging cameras adapted for plastic SLS 3D printing, and air filter systems manufacturer Krumm-tec will work to upgrade the manual object unpacking process.

(Image: DyeMansion)

Along with other project partners, Paderborn University is “working on the horizontal process chain for the integration of additive manufacturing in a line process,” while the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing-Technology IGCV is developing a concept for POLYLINE production planning and control, which will be tested in a simulation study for scalability. The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML will work on “the physical concatenation of process steps,” paying specific attention to flexibly linking the former manual upstream and downstream AM processes.

TU Dortmund University will help apply deep learning, and implicit geometric modeling, for data preparation and analysis, along with online monitoring and quality management, in order to achieve sustainable automation and efficiency for the project. The University of Augsburg’s Chair of Digital Manufacturing works to integrate AM processes into current production methods, and will apply its expertise in this area to the POLYLINE project, helping to develop strong vertical process chains. Finally, the University of Duisburg-Essen will focus on creating quality assurance for the material system, and its laser sintering process.

The consortium of the POLYLINE project (Image: EOS GmbH)

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AMT & Leering Hengelo: PostProDP Range of Automated Depowdering Systems for 3D Printing

In 2017, UK-based Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd (AMT) first introduced its automated AM post-processing solution, PostPro3D, to the industry, and officially released the system a year later. Following up with the smaller PostPro3D Mini and the medical-grade PostPro3D Pro, the growing company is now partnering with blasting equipment producer Leering Hengelo to launch two new automated depowdering systems for 3D printing – the PostProDP and the PostProDP Pro.

AMT’s safe, sustainable, and fully automated post-processing solutions allow for industrial production of 3D printed parts at scale. The patent-pending PostPro3D technology is based on the company’s proprietary BLAST process (Boundary Layer Automated Smoothing Technology), and helps decrease manufacturing and operation costs and lead time. This is a big deal, since up to 60% of the manufacturing costs for 3D printed parts come from lengthy manual post-processing and depowdering methods.

The new PostProDP range was designed especially for the 3D printing industry, and is AM material-agnostic, so it works with all powder-based 3D printing, such as EOS, HP, and 3D Systems, and several thermoplastic polymers, like elastomeric materials and polyamides. The two depowdering machines are CE and ATEX certified, ensuring what AMT refers to as “a standalone high throughput industrial de-powdering solution.”

“AMT’s vision is to develop fully automated safe and sustainable post-processing solutions to enable the industrial production of additively manufactured parts at scale. We first achieved this with the successful commercialization of the PostPro3D vapor smoothing system. De-powdering is the next key bottleneck in the post processing chain, and PostProDP goes a long way to mitigate many of the current issues with cleaning AM parts,” stated AMT’s CEO Joseph Crabtree in a press release. “We are delighted to be partnering with industry experts Leering on this industry critical mission.”

Dutch company Leering makes blasting equipment, such as blast cabinets, abrasives, and mobile blastrooms and blastunits, for the metal and plastics processing industry.

“Leering are experts in surface finishing with 80 years of experience in machine design and production for surface treatment. We export our machines, branded Normfinish, worldwide,” said André Gaalman, the CEO of Leering. “The partnership with AMT will allow us to strengthen each other’s positions in additive manufacturing and offer our joint customers globally the best solution for their post-processing needs. We’re excited to offer our customers each other’s solutions and bring a next generation of post-processing solutions to the market.”

The unique plug and play PostProDP systems come with a PLC controller that’s pre-loaded with recipes for common material combinations, and include a removable, adjustable tumble basket inside for optimized part cleaning. The basket also helps decrease the amount of fine particulate powder leakage after processing, and ionizing nozzles ensure that the parts are totally powder-free after blasting.

The range complements AMT’s current range of PostPro3D vapor smoothing systems, and the overall design configuration of the PostProDP machines make the user experience safer and more efficient. Both the PostProDP and PostProDP Pro take just ten minutes to remove the powder without damaging your 3D printed parts, and can be run with multiple medias, including steel balls. The compact PostProDP features two large entrance doors with safety sensors, splash glass, and automatic filter cleaning cartridge filters, while the PostProDP Pro has a removable nozzle holder and the option for manual blasting through a side door. Both come with a 12-month warranty.

The PostProDP range has been tested with customers across the US and Europe, and are now available to order from AMT.

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Titomic Signs Agreement with Airbus to Make 3D Printed Metal Demonstrator Parts

Global aerospace leader Airbus develops, creates, and delivers innovative solutions in the commercial aircraft, defense, helicopter, space, and security sectors, and has long been a champion of using additive manufacturing to do so. Airbus installed its first 3D printer back in 2012, and used its first metal 3D printed part – a titanium bracket – in one of its commercial jetliners just two years later. Now, over 1,000 3D printed parts are used in its A350 XWB aircraft.

In order to deliver 3D printed aerospace solutions, the European aircraft manufacturing giant has partnered up with many big names in the industry, from Local Motors and Materialise to Premium AEROTEC and GE Aviation, and just today announced a new collaboration. Australian large-scale, industrial AM company Titomic has just reached a major agreement with Airbus, which will use the Melbourne company’s patented Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology to demonstrate high-performance metal parts.

“We are pleased to partner with Airbus for this initial aerospace part made with Titomic Kinetic Fusion® (TKF), the world’s largest and fastest industrial-scale metal additive manufacturing process,” stated Titomic CEO Jeff Lang in a press release. “The TKF process ideally suited to produce near-net shape metal parts for the aerospace industry using our patented process of fusing dissimilar metals that cannot be produced with either traditional fabrication methods or metal-based 3D printers.”

TKF is the result of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) study, when Australia’s government was looking to capitalize on its titanium resources. Titomic’s proprietary TKF technology platform uses a process similar to cold spray, and has no limits in terms of build shape and size. A 6-axis robot arm sprays titanium powder particles, at supersonic speeds, onto a scaffold in order to build up complex parts layer by layer.

Thanks to its unique AM technology, Titomic can provide its customers with production run capabilities, which helps rapidly create excellent products, with decreased material waste, that have lower production inputs.

“3D printing, of which TFK is the leading technology, has the potential to be a game changer post the global COVID-19 pandemic supply chain disruption as aircraft manufacturers look to reduce production costs, increase performance, improve supply chain flexibility and reduce inventory costs, and TKF, co-developed with the CSIRO, can be an integral part of this change,” said Lang.

“Regulations force aerospace manufacturers to provide spare parts for long periods after the sale of an aircraft, so it’s not rocket science to assume they will be early adopters of 3D printing solutions for spare-part management.”

The Titomic Kinetic Fusion process involves a 6-axis robot arm spraying titanium powder particles onto a scaffold at supersonic speeds.

TKF technology could be crucially important for aircraft manufacturers, like Airbus, as the field of aviation is one of the largest customers of titanium alloy products. That’s why Titomic has invested in further developing AM so it can meet the material, process, and design qualification system that’s required by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The company will work to develop TKF 3D printing material properties and parts process parameters for Airbus.

This agreement, the future delivery of the 3D printed demonstrator parts to Airbus, and a technology review process of said parts, all validate the certification process that Titomic’s government-funded IMCRC research project, with partners RMIT and CSIRO, is currently undergoing.

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Additive Industries & ArcelorMittal Using MetalFAB1 3D Printer to Make Spare Steel Parts

One of the world’s leading steel and mining companies, ArcelorMittal, is partnering with Dutch company Additive Industries to investigate the use of metal 3D printing to make large spare parts for the steel industry. Additive manufacturing is used to fabricate spare parts for plenty of applications and industries, including maritime, railways, the military, consumer appliances, automotive, and many more. It makes a lot of practical business sense, as 3D printing spare parts offers companies, like ArcelorMittal, flexibility, a reduced production cycle, and on-demand manufacturing; if this happens onsite, it can even save on shipping costs.

3D printed spare parts used in ArcelorMittal facilities: (A) Example of part consolidation application with 316L original part on the left and 3D printed part on the right; (B) example of functional large parts with internal lattice structure made with 316L above 500 mm; and (C) lightweight (hollow) functional spare parts made with Maraging Steel with ArcelorMittal’s optimized parameters.

By collaborating with Additive Industries on metal 3D printing over the last few years, and using the technology to build on-demand spare parts, ArcelorMittal has improved its quality and process performance – allowing the company to print large, complex components that are ready to use.

“Additive Manufacturing is an exponential technology, moving very fast. Our collaboration with Additive Industries is a clear demonstration of our ability to remain at the cutting-edge of this technology: we started by printing small specimens and have now progressed to large size and complex parts,” said Jose López Fresno, Head of the Additive Manufacturing department, ArcelorMittal Global R&D in Avilés, Spain.

Operations in the steelmaking industry require components, and spare parts, that must hold up under difficult conditions. In the beginning of the ArcelorMittal and Additive Industries collaboration, they had to figure out how best to achieve the necessary requirements for component size and quality. But over the last two years of working together, the two have achieved an up to fourfold increase in component size, in addition to improving their reliability and quality. This means that the steel company has been able to increase the amount of applications for its 3D printed spare parts from small size part consolidation to jobs that need complex, functional, large, and strong parts.

MetalFab1 on the day of installation in ArcelorMittal R&D facilities in Avilés.

Now, the two are looking at what metal 3D printing can do for the steel industry with the MetalFAB1 by Additive Industries, which is one of the market’s largest 4-laser metal AM systems.

“Innovation and market leader ArcelorMittal have helped us to stress-test our MetalFAB1 system for critical spare-part production,” stated Daan A.J. Kersten, Co-Founder and CEO Additive Industries. “This enabled us to expand our experience to the steel industry from our main application markets in aerospace and automotive. It has become clear that metal 3D printing is a serious alternative for a large variety of cast parts.”

First introduced back in 2015, the unique MetalFAB1 printer has a 420 x 420 x 400 mm build volume, which makes it possible to fabricate large steel spare parts for the mining and steelmaking industries. But at the same time, it also ensures high productivity because it automated the manual steps of regular powder bed fusion 3D printers; this, in turn, equals the lowest cost per 3D printed part.

The modular MetalFAB1 has multiple build chambers, up to four 500W lasers, and can be configured for up to 11 different modules for more productivity or post-processing automation. It’s also well-designed for safety, which is perfect for ArcelorMittal and its focus on operator safety. In addition, 3D printing spare parts can help reduce waste – meeting another of the company’s objectives in terms of environmental safety.

“We are proud to work together with ArcelorMittal, jointly driving the business case for 3D-printed parts in the steel industry,” said Harry Kleijnen, Key Account Manager for Additive Industries. “ArcelorMittal’s typical applications have enabled us to further adapt the MetalFAB1 system to print high density, high volume parts. We are looking forward to expanding the range of applications and materials in this intense and strong collaboration.”

Since the first MetalFAB1 3D printer was installed at ArcelorMittal’s R&D facilities, the company has already used several of the 3D printed spare parts. To see the assembly and installation of the MetalFAB1 at ArcelorMittal, check out Additive Industries’ video here.

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(Source/Images: Additive Industries)

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German Giant Würth Group Offers Markforged 3D Printing Services

Würth Industry of North America (WINA) has announced that it will distribute Markforged 3D printing products to its customers throughout the general manufacturing, oil & gas, heavy equipment and transportation markets. The agreement further secures the place of Markforged within the general manufacturing segment, as well as introduces a large German company to the additive manufacturing (AM) sector. 

WINA is the North American subsidiary of the Würth Group, one of Germany’s largest private companies, with annual revenues of €14.27 billion in 2019, over 78,000 employees and over 400 companies in 86 countries. The group is a wholesaler of a variety of products ranging from fasteners, safety equipment and maintenance repair and operational items to chemicals, electronic and electromechanical components, inventory management, storage and retrieval systems. WINA itself is valued by the group at $1 billion. 

From left to right, Dan Hill, Chief Executive Officer for Würth Industry North America and Greg Mark, CEO and founder of Markforged. Image courtesy of Würth Industry North America.

Through the partnership, Würth will provide metal and composite 3D printing services and parts, as well as digital Kanban solutions for inventory management. In the case of the former, WINA will use such Markforged technologies as its bound metal deposition and Continuous Filament Fabrication for 3D printing metal parts and polymer parts reinforced with materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar. 

As for the latter, Würth provides its CPS KANBAN service brand to manage warehouse and production operations using patented bins and RFID technology. Markforged 3D printing technology will be integrated such that customers can reduce their physical inventory.

Dan Hill, chief executive officer for Würth Industry North America, put it this way: “By integrating Markforged 3D Printing technology with our existing kanban programs, we are able to offer quicker time to market and lower inventory costs. We’re able to cut out the sourcing, purchasing, and transportation costs and deliver the value directly to the customer.”

The Würth Group’s CPS KANBAN system. Image courtesy of Würth Group.

The partnership is a significant one for understanding the growth and direction of AM in the general industry and tooling segment, as well as the other markets that Würth serves. SmarTech Analysis projects that AM for this sector will result in $5.48 billion in total revenue by 2029 due to the number of large companies like Würth understanding the opportunities the technology presents for general industry and tooling businesses.

The services sub-segment is a particularly interesting one to watch. As mentioned in our recent story on SmarTech’s general industry and tooling report, a number of unique companies are now involved in providing 3D printing services, beyond your household names (Materialise, Stratasys, 3D Systems, etc.). Sandvik, Parmatech, Kennametal, Phoenix Contact, GKN Additive and SMS Group all have specialty offerings. Whereas Sandvik and Kennametal are focused on 3D printing with their own metal powders, GKN and Parmatech are offering HP’s Metal Jet. GKN also provides copper 3D printing services, alongside other metal powder bed fusion printing technologies. Phoenix Contact and SMS Group have their own specialized services. Now, the Würth Group is providing bound metal deposition and composite 3D printing, two very different technologies. 

Given its size and established role in this space, Würth may play an important role in broader adoption of AM within general industry and tooling, which will also bleed into other verticals in which the company operates. For instance, it has worked with a wide range of motorsports teams in a variety of series, including Formula One, Formula E, DTM, NASCAR and V8 Supercars. Motorsports is both an area where 3D printing thrives, due to its ability to produce small numbers of specialty, high-performance parts, and an area in which Markforged has a great deal of experience, given founder Greg Mark’s prior history in the industry. 

While the group will continue its work in the still profitable oil and gas segment, current disruptions in oil prices indicate that Würth’s moves to invest in solar energy will become increasingly valuable. In 2006, it opened a plant dedicated to new types of solar cells that use copper, indium and selenium instead of silicon. It will be interesting to see how Markforged 3D printing technology, including pure copper 3D printing, will be utilized in these sectors, as well. 

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Pellet 3D Printing to Be Advanced by DSM and Juggerbot 3D

Dutch chemical company Royal DSM has announced a partnership with Youngstown, Ohio’s Juggerbot 3D to develop 3D printers and materials for pellet-based manufacturing. This represents greater momentum toward the adoption of pellet-based additive manufacturing (AM), which is sometimes considered to be the future of material extrusion 3D printing technologies. 

While DSM is already well-known within AM for its production of various materials for 3D printing, Juggerbot 3D is not yet quite a household name. The startup emerged from the Youngstown Business Incubator, with support from America Makes, as a manufacturer of large-scale, industrial-quality material extrusion 3D printers. While its initial filament-based systems are capable of high-temperature printing with high-performance plastics, Juggerbot more recently developed a form of fused granulate fabrication (FGF) for its P3-44 3D printer.

The machine has a build volume of 915 mm x 1,220 mm x 1,220 mm (36 in x 48 in x 48 in) and can manufacture parts at a rate of 4.5-9.1 kg/hr (10-20 lbs/hr). It features two interchangeable extruders, small and large for precise or fast printing, as well as mobile drying units for removing moisture from pellets prior to printing and an environmentally controlled build chamber. 

The Tradesman Series P3-44 pellet extrusion 3D printer from Juggerbot. Image courtesy of Juggerbot 3D.

The ability to 3D print using granules opens up a number of benefits. Not only can they be fed via hopper into the extruder more quickly than filament, but, because the materials typically used are readily available injection molding pellets, machine operators have a much wider portfolio of plastics to choose from. Combined with a high-speed deposition head and a large build chamber, pellet-based systems have the ability to 3D print large objects very quickly. Moreover, they are much, much cheaper than filaments.

After working together on filaments for Juggerbot systems, DSM and Juggerbot will now collaborate on the development of pellet-based industrial systems and materials. The Ohio startup’s existing FGF printer has been designed to print with DSM’s glass-reinforced PET polymer, Arnite AM8527, and DSM will be adding more pellet products to its 3D printing materials portfolio. 

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

Support from the massive Dutch multinational, which rakes in about €10 billion in net sales annually, is obviously an important boost for the startup. For DSM, it’s not just a way to expand its sales, but to secure a position in the large-format and pellet extrusion markets. 

After all, BASF invested heavily in Essentium, which has developed its own form of large-format printing with technology meant to address the issue of Z-axis weakness. The chemical giant also recently partnered with Cincinnati Inc., which is known for its massive pellet extrusion machines (though the partnership is limited to its desktop filament printer for now). DuPont, too, sees pellet 3D printing as the future of the market, with Marketing Manager for Industrial & Consumer Christophe Paulo saying that “the bulk of the Material Extrusion market will be in pellet to parts.”

Pellet-based 3D printing technology is still early in its development as a market, with a comparatively small number of hardware manufacturers offering pellet machines. These companies typically come from industrial manufacturing backgrounds. Cincinnati, Ingersoll and Thermwood are all machine tool makers and Arburg is an injection molding company. It would make sense that these are the types of firms already sensing the way that the wind is blowing and one wonders if filament extrusion system manufacturers will catch on sooner rather than later. 

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Sirrus & Sartomer Partner to Advance Fast-Curing Methacrylate 3D Printing Resins

Specialty chemical and advanced materials developer Arkema announced an increased focus on 3D printing materials research back in 2015, and two years later began a major investment plan for its biosourced polyamide 11 chain in an effort to increase production capacities in Asia. Arkema was joined in this investment plan by its subsidiary Sartomer, which itself is an important provider of advanced photocurable resin solutions. In business for over 60 years, Sartomer specializes in chemicals for ultraviolet and electron beam (UV/EB), peroxide, and two-part epoxy/amine systems. The Arkema business line works with innovators in the additive manufacturing industry to help them develop solutions and custom formulations that support their performance demands and new applications.

Now, Sartomer has announced a new partnership with Sirrus, an Ohio-based chemistry startup that develops novel methylene malonate monomers and oligomers. Its materials feature multiple reactive sites, and, according to its website, are “being incorporated into the next generation of high-performance coatings, adhesives, sealants and binders.” Together, the two companies will work to develop advanced new fast-curing methacrylate 3D printing resins.

Jeff Klang, the Global R&D Director of 3D Printing for Sartomer, said in a press release sent to 3DPrint.com, “The collaboration between Sirrus and Sartomer is yielding discoveries that are leading to development of new resins for 3D printing that will open up new regimes of printing and physical properties performance.”

Sirrus works with development partners in multiple industries, such as automotive, consumer goods, electronics, and packaging, and its patented technology is centered around methylene malonate monomers and oligomeric crosslinkers that are able to polymerize anionically (regarding negatively charged ions) at ambient temperatures. According to the chemistry company, methylene malonate monomers feature UV, heat, and oxidation stability, have a broad range of functionality, and possess great potential in many applications, such as composite binders, adhesives for industrial use, and encapsulated pigments.

The new advanced 3D printing resins Sirrus and Sartomer are working together to create are based on the co-polymerization of methacrylates and methylene malonates.

Methylene malonate monomers (Image: Sirrus)

Mark Holzer, the Vice President of Application Development at Sirrus, said, “Research has demonstrated that methylene malonate comonomers can significantly enhance the UV-cure rate of some methacrylates.”

At RadTech Orlando 2020, a biennial conference and exhibition dedicated to UV/EB technology that began this weekend in Florida, experts from both companies will be on hand to explain more about their work together, and the role of methylene malonates in the next generation of AM resins. At the event, Sirrus will be discussing its research regarding the UV curing of methylene malonates at its booth #422.

(Image: Arkema)

At booth #501 at RadTech, Sartomer will be presenting its research on multiple topics related to the additive manufacturing industry, including binder development for ceramics 3D printing, methods to achieve high heat resistance in 3D printing applications, new high-performance AM materials, and its own N3xtDimension photocurable resins for 3D printing, which are part of the 3D Printing Solutions by Arkema Platform.

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BASF Supplies Materials for Cincinnati Inc’s SAAM HT 3D Printer

German chemical giant BASF has steadily been saturating the 3D printing industry with its presence. The latest partnership established by the world’s largest chemical company is with machine tool manufacturer Cincinnati Incorporated (CI). The two inked a distribution deal in which CI will supply ABS, carbon fiber PET and recycled PET materials from BASF 3D Printing Solutions (B3DPS) for use with its Small Area Additive Manufacturing (SAAM HT) 3D printer.

The SAAM HT 3D printer from CI. Image courtesy of Cincinnati Incorporated.

The SAAM HT is the high temperature version of CI’s desktop-sized 3D printer, originally developed by Boston startup NVBots in 2016 before CI bought the smaller firm outright in 2017. The machine complements CI’s range of massive pellet-based extrusion 3D printers with a comparably petite prototyping device which is capable of automatically ejecting parts upon completion. The HT version of the SAAM is capable of 3D printing at temperatures of up to 500°C, including ULTEM, PEEK and polycarbonate. Material profiles for each filament the system uses can be downloaded, allowing the printer to process them more quickly and easily.

BASF’s Ultrafuse PET CF15 material. Image courtesy of BASF.

Now, with the BASF partnership, the SAAM HT will be sold alongside Ultrafuse ABS, PET CF15, and rPET. While ABS is nearly ubiquitous in the world of filament extrusion for its strength, flexibility and heat-resistant properties, PET CF15 offers additional strength and thermal resistance. BASF describes the material as being easy to process with low moisture uptake.

rPET is BASF’s gesture towards sustainability. Made up of 100 percent recycled PET, rPET “looks and prints just like virgin material,” according to the company. While BASF maintains a veneer of sustainability through the numerous admirable projects is has established related to renewable energy and biomaterials, it is one of the world’s leading petrochemical manufacturers, explores for and produces oil and gas, has been responsible for dangerous environmental disasters, and develops pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that have potentially toxic effects.

A surfboard from YUYO 3D printed from rPET. Image courtesy of BASF.

While any attempt to introduce sustainability to the world is worthy, it might be difficult to overlook the conglomerate’s larger role in the climate and biodiversity crises we’re currently facing. Of course, any large chemical company in the 3D printing industry will be involved in many of these same ecologically harmful practices, which is why a larger discussion about the role of plastics and 3D printing in a sustainable society needs to be had.

Meanwhile, BASF continues to expand its footprint in the additive space. It has partnered with countless firms in the industry while growing its portfolio of additive materials, including an interesting metal filament for desktop metal 3D printing. Its backing of Materialise and Essentium and acquisition of Sculpteo means that it is only becoming more and more important in additive manufacturing.

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New Partnership: BEGO’s Dental Materials Allow Formlabs Customers to 3D Print Crowns & Bridges

BEGO, headquartered in Germany, has been a leader in the dental field for 130 years—and as pioneers in 3D printing for the last two decades, they now specialize in all types of dental fabrication techniques for prosthodontics and implant dentistry. Today, they have announced a partnership with Formlabs, the US-based designer and manufacturer of 3D printing systems—along with a wide-ranging product line and other strong partnerships around the world.

This alliance, just announced, means that Formlabs dental customers will be able to make on-demand dental products for their patients–using BEGO’s dental materials to 3D print both temporary and permanent crowns and bridges.

Formlabs customers who are already using the Form 3B and Form 2 3D printers will have access to fabricating permanent single crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers, and temporary crowns and bridges. Appreciating many of the benefits of 3D printing, they will be able to save on the bottom line, while making customized products, faster—and better.

“Directly printing temporary crowns and bridges are one of the most sought-after applications from Formlabs customers. By partnering with BEGO and leveraging their 130 years of dental experience, we will be able to not only address this need but take it a step further by offering materials for permanent crowns. We are excited to see how this partnership can continue to advance the dental industry and overcome the major challenges labs and dentists face as digital dentistry becomes a standard for patient care,” said Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs.

Patients will enjoy:

  • Excellent aesthetics
  • Less tendency for dental work to age and discolor
  • Low-plaque accumulation
  • More comfort, thanks to less cold and heat sensitivity

“The ability to use completely digital dental workflows with 3D printed temporary restorations will enable a rapid, low cost, iterative process that improves patient care and case acceptance rates,” states the BEGO team in a press release sent to 3DPrint.com.

Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs with Axel Klarmeyer, Chief Executive Officer of BEGO Dental

The two companies will be in attendance at LMT Lab Day in Chicago from February 21-22, presenting materials for attendees to see and feel, as well as showcasing their new partnership, which is also part of the ‘natural evolution’ of the also recently announced Dental Business Unit and Form 3B, meant to ensure that dentists are able to offer their patients the best in care.

“We could not be happier to partner with Formlabs, especially at this time, where digital dentistry is reaching a breakthrough. It took some time and a lot of effort and commitment of all involved people to be able to offer to the market a fully validated workflow for final restorations. This partnership underlines BEGO’s leading position in the dental 3D printing materials market,” said Axel Klarmeyer, Chief Executive Officer of BEGO Dental.

Find out more about these products here, and please visit BEGO and Formlabs at LMT Lab Day at Formlabs booth (#P-1) and BEGO booth (#H-13).

Both BEGO and Formlabs stay in the news with continue product development and successes from BEGO’s recent launch of the Varseo XL to new resins and other recent acquisitions by Formlabs.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: BEGO]

 

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