Prellis Can Produce 3D Printed Kidney Vessels Within 12 Hours

The bioprinting of organs has been seeing a bit of renaissance in recent years. With the proliferation of newer bioinks and other materials, functional replacement organs are rapidly becoming a reality. In this same vein, Bay Area biotechnology company Prellis Biologics, has reported record speeds in tissue 3D printing having its holographic technology. They claim to […]

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Solar Powered 3D Printer Gives Developing Communities Manufacturing Access

A major issue with 3D printing is that it is not as widely available around the world as it should be. While this may not seem like a pertinent issue, many developing communities and their businesses are losing out on the major benefits of modern technology, making them less competitive in the long run. So, […]

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Saneux uses Builder Extreme 1000 to 3D print 1:1 scale bathroom prototypes

Saneux is a leading company in the bathroom manufacture industry, creating spaces dedicated to luxury and relaxation. To maintain its leading position in the market, Saneux is always developing new concepts and the ability to produce in-house prototypes plays a major role in their design process. Saneux is using the Builder Extreme 1000 for printing […]

Prellis Biologics aims to 3D print kidney vessels in 12 hours or less

San Francisco biotechnology company Prellis Biologics, has reported record speeds in tissue 3D printing using its holographic technology. According to Dr. Melanie Matheu, co-founder and CEO of the company, “A major goal in tissue engineering is to create viable human organs, but nobody could print tissue with the speed and resolution needed to form viable capillaries,” […]

Workforce is Key to the Development of Additive Manufacturing: Interview with Women in Manufacturing

Opening this week’s Additive Manufacturing Symposium at Science in the Age of Experience, Allison Grealis, Founding President of Women in Manufacturing, took attendees on a journey of discovery surrounding the workforce. As 3D printing integrates more into the broader manufacturing industry, with production capabilities increasing and on-site installations rising, a skills gap remains a significant challenge and barrier to faster and broader adoption. The workforce in manufacturing, both existing and future, is in focus for Women in Manufacturing and other industry organizations striving to focus on the human aspect of industry.

The skills gap is an issue in itself, and a particular piece of that puzzle comes in the form of diversity of workforce. The Additive Manufacturing Symposium’s morning plenary session kicked off with Grealis’ presentation, “The State of Women & Additive Manufacturing,” laying the foundation for an informative day of industry discussion. Organizations, she explained, are becoming ever more aware of the need for diversity and the tangible benefits of a workforce drawing from more diverse backgrounds, applicable to all levels from production line to C-suite. The latter of these sees a notable lack of diversity, wiith women representing a minority. She cited figures to note that while women make up 49% of the US labor force, they represent only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. These figures have been rising, but disparity remains, as reported in studies from McKinsey and, targeted to additive manufacturing, Alexander Daniels Global.

In her presentation, Grealis discussed actionable steps that organizations can take to ensure that they bring in a strong variety of personnel throughout operations, as well as actionable steps women can take in pursuing manufacturing careers.

Organizations can:

  • Be sure the women you work with have interesting and challenging work
  • Provide feedback and positive affirmation
  • Encourage educational and training initiatives
  • Provide opportunities for professional development
  • Identify and improve the visibility of leaders

Women in additive can:

  • Establish a relationship with a mentor / become a mentor
  • Be visible! Take opportunities to speak on behalf of the industry / share your story
  • Educate and encourage the next generation of talent
  • Rise the ranks by positioning yourself for success / pave the way for others
  • Meet and connect with other like-minded industry women

Later in the day, I appreciated the opportunity to sit down with Grealis and discuss more of the issues and solutions for workforce development in additive manufacturing — an immediate illustration of her last action point for women, as it happened.

“Workforce is the key issue we’re combating,” she told me.

“This is one of the things that’s been a core focus for the organization since we got started. The skills gap is a big focus. When we talk to most companies, they have a slew of positions they’re seeking to fill, and we believe our organization can be a resource to filling those gaps. There are new opportunities that technology and additive manufacturing represent to women and men alike. We have a focus on the public perception issue, trying to influence a more positive image of manufacturing; we focus on parents, educators, and career counselors as much as on students and budding professionals. We share new technology components that would entice new workers and help to dispel myths that would discourage them.”

Initiatives surrounding workforce development represent a critical focus, Grealis underscored, with education and training imperative to the growth of a more advanced manufacturing sector. Encouraging the growth of women in the industry is a widespread effort, with many companies having created women’s affinity groups. Some of these, though, are groups in name alone, she said, and Women in Manufacturing is “working to create real vehicles to provide women with resources — in their company, and resources outside their individual company.”

One of the organization’s efforts is its Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing, launched with Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) Weatherhead School of Management and the support of the Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation (WiMEF). This Leadership Lab was launched in response to companies’ feedback that they had rising leaders in their ranks who weren’t yet equipped with all they needed, Grealis said. That type of responsiveness to real-world needs is necessary for the growth of positive structural development and encouraging leadership from within. Grealis pointed to efforts fostering training for management aptitude needed for success in leading teams and leading functions of responsibility within their organizations.

“Virtual training and learning is very important to us; we want to greatly expand this in the next few years,” she added. “We want to get down into the ranks to more women in manufacturing, many of whom don’t have the travel budget to go to Boston or Indianapolis [where WiM hosts events], and provide resources in how to get more training than just opportunities on the shop floor.”

Providing solutions is integral to Women in Manufacturing’s work and interest, as the organization seeks to “be a key solution provider to find and train and retain talent.” Since 2012, they have offered a direct job board through which companies can directly post jobs and job seekers can see what’s available, including apprenticeships and training, she noted. Networking is also key to the efforts, and advanced networking groups enable a valuable human resources resource, as well as a group for owners and senior executives. Discussion of best practices, and of support and advice, enables a unique setting “that isn’t happening naturally” as these twice-yearly events provide a confidential setting to talk about business.

“With all these efforts, the hope is to grow that percentage that we talked about this morning — we want to see that 29% rise closer to 50%. We want to grow not only the hourly ranks or the management ranks, but also C-suite ranks. Often there it’s under 10%, or single-digit, which is pretty disappointing,” Grealis continued.

“If you look at Forbes’ ranks of top female executives, the key most powerful women in business, most are with manufacturing companies, which is exciting. Now, we need to see more of them, to duplicate that ten-fold and fill more boardrooms with women. Most of those women came through the ranks. Most came up through technical fields, engineering and the like, and rose to lead these companies forward.”

Forbes’ list showcases an impressive array indeed of strong women leading businesses, and includes powerhouse quotes from powerhouse women. The list cites an interview with the Wall Street Journal from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors and named at number five on the Forbes list:

“Cultivating diversity isn’t about taking a gender count when you walk into a room. It’s about valuing all ideas and building teams with different backgrounds and experiences.”

Looking specifically at additive manufacturing and the revolution surrounding digitization and an increase in cloud and other virtual resources, I asked Grealis how she saw these new technologies reshaping manufacturing and impacting the workforce.

“There should be more opportunities now. It’s not a women’s issue; it’s a people issue,” she said.

“Virtual capabilities are making work more humane; we don’t want to make work life. Companies are becoming more virtual, more flexible, and this makes not only manufacturing more appealing to women, but to millennials, to more generations — it’s become an attractive piece of manufacturing. You can’t just stop the manufacturing line because people want to go home. Virtual offerings, smart machines, and flexible hours are making more possible.”

She pointed to the example of a plant manager she spoke with recently who has found herself in a more humane work environment due to the flexibility enabled by checking virtually on production, allowing her to work more appealing hours while still keeping tabs on the happenings on the line.

For her part, Grealis’ background, with her father working in manufacturing, provided early exposure to these environments and providing a foundation from which she could understand the unique needs in manufacturing.

“I liked the excitement piece that it wasn’t dull; it’s not a traditional office intern experience when helping with things. Early exposure made me more open and excited when I came to metal forming after college,” she said. “I’ve always been very passionate about women’s issues. I’ve had a core passion always about advocating, and even thought for a short minute I would be a criminal lawyer. It’s come full circle to create an organization illuminating a population in manufacturing not often seen or heard from. I worked for a trade association working with metal forming companies, and worked with women leaders in metal forming. I found their unique needs were no different than women in different parts of manufacturing. At the tim, there wasn’t a resource around these individuals, and so we decided to start a conference that became our full service organization. It’s great to help provide power and support to this amazing community.”

Women in Manufacturing will be hosting its summit October 3-5 in Indianapolis, including several plant tours and networking events, alongside gathered experts, workshops, and roundtables.

Discuss workforce, Women in Manufacturing, and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[All photos: Sarah Goehrke]


INTAMSYS Brings High-Performance 3D Printing to Japan with New Partnership

Chinese company INTAMSYS is known for its high-performance FUNMAT 3D printer series, which is designed to print with functional materials. INTAMSYS has seen a great deal of success with its machines, and is growing a strong global presence as it completes its funding. Now the company is moving into Japan through a new partnership that will strengthen its position in the Asian market.

INTAMSYS is partnering with Fusion Technology Co. Ltd., a Japanese company specializing in 3D design and printing for a diverse range of markets, including architecture, manufacturing, medicine, education, anime, and more. Also part of the deal is Canon Marketing Japan, one of Fusion Technology’s reselling partners, which will help promote and market INTAMSYS 3D printers and 3D printing solutions to industrial companies in Japan.

“More Japanese industrial manufacturers are increasingly embracing industrial additive manufacturing solutions for business-critical applications due to strong quality, high consistency and cost effectiveness,” said Mr. Inoue, CEO of Fusion Technology. “INTAMSYS has presented a strong proven track record of delivering cutting-edge high performance material 3D printing solution to industrial end-users globally. Meanwhile, Fusion technology has built up a broad industrial customer base locally through decades of successful reselling experience, evidenced by our direct partnership with Canon. We believe this cooperation will complement each other very well in exploring more markets and possibilities in Japan.”

INTAMSYS is exhibiting with its new partners at the DMS Tokyo, which is taking place from June 20th to the 22nd. This will be the first time that the FUNMAT HT and the FUNMAT PRO HT are exhibited in Japan, marking INTAMSYS’ official entry into the country through its partnerships.

“Globally, Japanese firms have earned the reputation of having very high requirements on quality and reliability for machinery,” said Charles Han, CEO of INTAMSYS. “INTAMSYS is delighted to be recognized by Fusion Technology and Canon through this strong partnership and we look forward to serving the Japanese end users with machines and 3D printing solutions that come with the highest quality and state-of-the-art engineering capability.”

By introducing the FUNMAT series into Japan, INTAMSYS will be introducing high-quality, industrial-grade 3D printing solutions. The FUNMAT HT and FUNMAT PRO HT are high-temperature 3D printers capable of printing with more than 20 functional materials, including six high-performance materials: PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM 9085, ULTEM 1010, PPSU and PSU. They can also print with ABS, polycarbonate (PC) and nylon, the most widely-used engineering-grade thermoplastics. The FUNMAT HT and FUNMAT PRO HT feature heated build chambers and build plates as well as high-temperature nozzles, which enable them to print a wide variety of materials with ease.

INTAMSYS also utilizes an open materials system for its 3D printers, allowing customers a great deal of versatility in what they use to print. In addition to selling its 3D printers, INTAMSYS also offers a 3D printing service, and works closely with customers and partners around the world in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medicine, engineering, oil and gas, electronics, education, and research. Applications include tools, jigs and fixtures, concept modeling, visualization aiding, functional prototyping, and the manufacturing of end-use parts.

Japan is a leader in Asia in terms of technological advancement and research, and its 3D printing industry has expanded as major companies choose to expand their presences there. The country will benefit greatly from the presence of INTAMSYS and its high-performance 3D printers, and INTAMSYS will benefit from being part of a large, diverse market. As INTAMSYS continues to grow, it will continue to make an impact in the 3D printing industry, which is turning more and more towards the 3D printing of functional, end-use parts.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below. 

[Images: INTAMSYS]


LM Industries Group Introduces Disruptive Transport Concepts Using 3D Printing

Local Motors has recently formed the LM Industries Group with the express purpose of altering the way transportation works. Their goal is to disrupt the industry with all sorts of new methods of production and communication, like crowd-sourcing and 3D printing. The ambitious project has netted them a fair number of high-profile partners, such as […]

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LM Industries launches Local Motors’ car 3D printing microfactories

Local Motors, known for developing the 3D printed Strati car and Olli bus, and its spinout co-creation platform Launch Forth have restructured under new parent company LM Industries Group Inc. Based in San Francisco, CA, LM Industries is launching as “the world’s first digital OEM.” Operating from microfactories rather than large facilities, LM Industries aims to […]

Lockheed Martin’s Contributions to 3D Printing

The aerospace industry was one of the first major advocates of 3D printing, as the industry has been a driving force in the evolution of this technology. The industry covers a wide range of commercial, industrial and military applications that demand state-of-the art technology for mission critical needs. At the forefront of 3D printing is Lockheed Martin, which serves as a clear leader through their ability to rapidly implement innovation and use of 3D printing across prototyping, tooling and production of components. Lockheed is able to create significant varying parts and designs that are cost effective, reliable and durable more so than traditional machining methods, due to the improvements of 3D printing technology.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be technological in nature
  • Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
  • Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
  • Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax, for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, pre-profitable and pre-revenue startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.

Remote Interface Unit

Lockheed Martin is planning, for the first time, to use additive manufacturing to develop a part that will be on a military satellite. The complex unit is an aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits, and is a part that would require multiple components and processes to manufacture under regular machining. But with 3D printing, the parts total is reduced to just one, which in turn reduces manufacturing time from six months down to 1.5 months, as well as reducing assembly time from 12 hours to just 3 hours. Lockheed hopes this successful part can open more 3D printing opportunities for their several other extensive aerospace programs.

Orion Spacecraft

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is a program designed to send astronauts to the moon and beyond in a series of exploration missions. The craft is going to be made of more than 100 3D printed parts, the majority of them made by Lockheed Martin and using state-of-the art materials, like the new Antero thermoplastic material, which is designed to meet NASA’s requirements for heat and chemical resistance. The use of 3D parts was crucial for this program as nearly every piece that was 3D printed was more efficient than traditional parts and reduced costs to the spacecraft overall.

Fuel Tanks

Lockheed Martin, in partnership with Stratasys’ RedEye 3D printer, were able to develop large fuel tanks that store propellant for satellites. The largest fuel tank was as large as 15 feet long, the largest piece ever manufactured by a RedEye printer and one of the largest aerospace parts ever made by a 3D printer. The fuel tanks themselves are the first ever successful ones to be produced through additive manufacturing, and were done in a highly condensed time frame for nearly half the cost of machining the parts. Due to the sheer size of these parts, Lockheed built several smaller parts to fuse together and finalize the product in time to market a competitive contract bid process. They would not have been able to do this had they machined the parts.

Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile

Lockheed Martin has been the primary ballistic missile contractor for the US Navy since 1955 and nothing has changed as they remain the primary supplier. Lockheed was called upon to develop another ballistic missile that would be known as the Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile. This is a three-stage missile that can travel an average range of 4,000 nautical miles while carrying multiple independently targeted missiles. Within the missile is a 3D printed component that is similar to the one used on Lockheed Martin’s satellites. The one-inch wide aluminum alloy piece is a connector backshell component that protects vital cable connectors in the missile. The component was designed and fabricated using only 3D design and printing methods that allowed engineers at Lockheed to produce this part in half the time it would take with machining methods.

Our articles published in Lockheed’s major business areas are presented below:

Aerospace Aerospace Mega Trends Driving 3D Printer Usage
Satellites The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of 3D Printed Telecommunications
Helicopters The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of 3D Printing Helicopter Parts
Drones 3D Printed Drones and the UAS Integration Pilot Program
Avionics The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of Avionics


Lockheed Martin is undeniably a leading manufacturer of all things relating to the aerospace industry. Not only do they produce high quality and critical products, but they consistently find ways to innovate and stay steps ahead of the field with the use of additive manufacturing to bolster their already highly advanced product lines. Lockheed expanded this vast production through the acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft, the leading helicopter manufacturer, which will gain a boost in their existing additive manufacturing capabilities after joining the Lockheed portfolio. The continued integration of 3D printing and large acquisitions is allowing Lockheed to develop parts that are giving aircraft extended service lives, reduced fuel costs, weight reduction and increased strength.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below.

Charles Goulding & Ryan Donley of R&D Tax Savers discuss Lockheed Martin. 


Researchers 3D Print Tissue That Mimics Human Bile Duct

[Image via]

A bile duct plays a crucial role in the body, carrying bile from the liver to the intestine to facilitate digestion. Cancer of the bile duct has an alarmingly low survival rate, and treatment requires that the disease be caught early enough for the affected part of the bile duct to be removed. But there’s some good news for those suffering from conditions of the bile duct, as researchers at Northwestern University have 3D printed a mini-tissue that mimics it.

The research is documented in a study entitled “Tailoring nanostructure and bioactivity of 3D-printable hydrogels with self-assemble peptides amphiphile (PA) for promoting bile duct formation,” which you can access here. Lead author Ming Yan and colleagues 3D printed a nanostructure consisting of peptides amphiphile, or PAs, bioink and bile duct cells, or cholangiocytes.

“3D-printing has expanded our ability to produce reproducible and more complex scaffold architectures for tissue engineering applications,” the abstract states. “In order to enhance the biological response within these 3D-printed scaffolds incorporating nanostructural features and/or specific biological signaling may be an effective means to optimize tissue regeneration. Peptides amphiphiles (PAs) are a versatile supramolecular biomaterial with tailorable nanostructural and biochemical features. PAs are widely used in tissue engineering applications such as angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and bone regeneration. Thus, the addition of PAs is a potential solution that can greatly expand the utility of 3D bioprinting hydrogels in the field of regenerative medicine.”

The PAs and cholangiocytes were mixed with thiolated gelatin at 37°C and 3D printed at 4ºC using an EnvisionTEC 3D-Bioplotter, one of the most-utilized bioprinters on the market. The material retained integrity as the bioinks printed into filaments capable of supporting multi-layered scaffolds. The researchers stabilized the scaffold by cross-linking a derivative of ethylene glycol with calcium ions; scaffold stability was observed in culture for more than a month at a temperature of 37°C.

First author Ming Yan. [Image: Northwestern via Physics World]

The researchers also explored the use of a laminin-derived peptide (Ile-Lys-Val-Ala-Val, IKVAV) and the influence its inclusion in the bioink would have on the bile duct cells. Laminin is a molecule necessary for cell adhesion, and after bioprinting, the bile duct cells remained viable in vitro. Staining revealed the formation of functional bile-cell-based tube structures; when cultured in IKVAV bioink, the structures showed enhanced morphology, forming functional tubular structures.

This is the first time that a bioink-based system supplemented with PAs was used for bile duct tissue engineering. The research shows a lot of promise; the bioprinted bile ducts as well as in vitro systems created with the bioinks have the potential to be valuable for research into bile duct cancer as well as the testing of treatments. Right now, bile duct cancer is a grave diagnosis to receive, but the enhanced research that could be made possible by this work offers hope for better understanding and more effective treatments.

As a next step, the researchers now want to optimize the peptide concentration and test other signaling molecules within the bioinks to enhance the formation of functional tubular structures that mimic those found in the liver.

Additional authors of the research paper include P.L. Lewis and R.N. Shah.

[Source: Physics World]