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3D Printing News Briefs: June 26, 2018

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We have plenty of business, material, and 3D printer news to share with you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. 3D printing led to increased savings for GM over the last two years, which is now increasing its use of the technology as a result. ExOne is saying goodbye to one CEO and hello to another, while Polymaker announces a global distribution arrangement with Nexeo Solutions and CollPlant receives R&D project approval in Israel. The US Patent and Trademark Office will be hosting its annual Additive Manufacturing Partnership Meeting this week, and RP Platform has announced a rebrand and a new AI software platform. Finally, the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing has decided to add Digital Metal’s binder jetting technology to its portfolio.

GM Increasing Use of 3D Printing at Plants

Zane Meike, AM lead at GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, holds a common 3D printed tool used to align engine and transmission vehicle identification numbers. [Photo: Michael Wayland]

According to Dan Grieshaber, the Director of Global Manufacturing Integration for General Motors (GM), most of the company’s factories have 3D printers, which are used to build accessories and tools for workers. A $35,000 3D printer at GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant has actually helped save the company over $300,000 over two years: it’s used to make multiple items, such as part hangers, socket covers, and ergonomic and safety tools. A common tool used to align engine and transmission vehicle identification numbers cost $3,000 to buy from a third party, but is less than $3 to 3D print at the factory. Realizing that these kinds of savings can add up quickly, GM is increasing the use of 3D printing – part of its new Manufacturing 4.0 processes – at its plants in order to help streamline operations.

“We’re quickly evolving, creating real value for the plant. This will become, as we progress, our footprint. We’ll have this in every one of our sites,” Grieshaber said.

Grieshaber also said that GM is working to standardize 3D printing, as well as share best practices across all of its global plants.

ExOne Welcomes New CEO

The ExOne Company, which provides 3D printers and 3D printed products, materials, and services to its industrial customers around the world, has announced that its CEO, James L. McCarley, is departing the company, effective immediately, to pursue other interests and opportunities; he will be assisting the company in transitioning his responsibilities to the new CEO. ExOne’s Board of Directors has also announced who the new CEO will be – S. Kent Rockwell, the company’s Executive Chairman, who has served in the position in previous years. Rockwell’s new title is effective immediately.

“On behalf of our Board and management team, I would like to thank Jim for his efforts and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Rockwell.

Polymaker Makes Distribution Arrangement with Nexeo Solutions

Shanghai-based 3D printing material producer Polymaker has entered an arrangement with chemicals and plastics distributor Nexeo Solutions, Inc., also based in Shanghai. Nexeo will be a global distributor for three new materials in the Polymaker Industrial line, but plans to introduce more of its materials over the rest of the year. C515 is an advanced polycarbonate (PC) filament that has excellent toughness and a low warping effect, while C515FR is a flame retardant PC with high impact resistance. SU301 is a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based polymer that’s water soluble and was developed as a support material for FFF 3D printers.

Paul Tayler, the Vice President of EMEA at Nexeo Solutions, said, “Expanding our portfolio to include industrial grade filaments from Polymaker Industrial gives our customers access to a wider range of filaments that solve new 3D printing challenges and meet the demands of manufacturers. Industrial customers benefit from Nexeo Solutions’ access to world leading plastic producers coupled with additive manufacturing technical expertise.”

CollPlant Receives R&D Project Approval

Two years ago, regenerative medicine company CollPlant received funding from Israel’s Ministry of Economy for its research in developing collagen-based bioinks for 3D printing tissues and organs. CollPlant, which uses its proprietary plant-based rhCollagen (recombinant human collagen) technology for tissue repair products, has now announced that the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) has approved a grant to finance the continued development of its rhCollagen-based formulations intended for use as bioinks. Terms of the grant require CollPlant to pay royalties to the IIA on future sales of any technology that’s developed with the use of the funding, up to the full grant amount. The total project budget is roughly $1.2 million (NIS 4.2 million), and the IIA will finance 30%, subject to certain conditions.

“In addition to providing immediate non-dilutive funding, this grant from the Israel Innovation Authority represents an important validation of our BioInk technology and its market potential. With the recent opening of our new cGMP production facility in Rehovot, Israel, we are well positioned to meet growing demand for our BioInk and tissue repair products. We are grateful to the IIA for this recognition,” said CollPlant CEO Yehiel Tal.

Additive Manufacturing Partnership Meeting Hosted by US Patent and Trademark Office

For the last several years, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been hosting the Additive Manufacturing Partnership Meeting, and this year’s meeting takes place tomorrow, June 27th, from 1 to 5 PM at the USPTO headquarters inside the Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO will be seeking opinions from various participants at the informal meeting, which is really a forum for individual 3D printing users and the USPTO to share ideas, insights, and personal experiences.

“We value our customers and the feedback provided from individual participants is important in our efforts to continuously improve the quality of our products and services,” the USPTO meeting site reads. “Your willing participation in this informal process is helpful in providing us with new insights and perspectives.”

Scheduled speakers at this year’s meeting are coming from CIMP-3D, HRL, Kansas State University, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and the NextManufacturing Center, and an RSVP is required to attend the AM Partnership Meeting.

RP Platform Launches New AI Software and Rebrand

London-based RP Platform, which provides customizable workflow automation software for industrial 3D printing, is launching a new software platform, which will use AI for the first time to automate 3D printing production. With customers in over 30 countries, the company is one of the top automation software providers for industrial 3D printing. In addition to its software launch, RP Platform has also announced that, as it continues to expand its software capabilities to target AM end part production, it is rebranding, and has changed its name to AMFG.

“We want to help companies make their 3D printing processes much smoother so that they can produce more parts with greater visibility and less effort. And we have more exciting releases to our software over the coming months that will further enhance our production automation capabilities,” said Keyvan Karimi, the CEO of AMFG.

“Ultimately, we’re creating a truly autonomous manufacturing process for industrial 3D printing. For us, this means taking manufacturing to a new era of production. The launch of our new software, as well as our company rebrand, fully reflects this vision going forward.”

NCAM Installing a Digital Metal 3D Printer

The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) in the UK, headquartered at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, has decided to add the unique binder jetting technology developed by Digital Metal to its large range of advanced manufacturing equipment, and will soon be installing one of its high-precision metal 3D printers – which are not available anywhere else in the UK. The 3D printer will be available for use by NCAM’s member companies, and other organizations, who are interested in testing the capabilities of Digital Metal’s proprietary binder jetting technology.

Dr. David Brackett, AM Technology Manager at the NCAM, explained, “The Digital Metal binder jetting technology falls into the category of ‘bind-and-sinter AM’, where a multi-stage process chain incorporating sintering is required to achieve full density. It’s a very fast technology that can create complicated and highly detailed designs, and there is potential for wider material choice than with AM processes that use melting. We are delighted to be able to offer this to the companies we work with.”

The Digital Metal 3D printer will be operational later this summer, and NCAM personnel are already training with it to ensure they can operate it efficiently and safely.

Discuss all of these stories, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

3D Printing News Briefs: February 13, 2018

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which makes today Galentine’s Day if you’re a Parks and Recreation fan. To celebrate, we’re starting today’s 3D Printing News Briefs with Valentine’s Day news – some female chocolatiers are substituting candy hearts with chocolate skulls, made in 3D printed molds. Continuing on, colorFabb is celebrating its fifth anniversary with sales on 3D printers and filament, and Inert is introducing a new powder filtration system. Global Advanced Metals and Precision ADM are both increasing their investment in metal 3D printing, while PANBIoRA has published its first review paper on medical 3D printing. Materialise and PTC are partnering up to extend 3D printing capabilities to manufacturers, and the Dutch Ministry of Defence is getting support for its planned adoption of 3D printing.

Female Chocolatiers Offering Skulls for Valentine’s Day

[Image: Confectionery via Instagram]

While the rest of the world gorges on bonbons, candy hearts, chocolate-covered strawberries, and heart-shaped chocolates tomorrow, a few small US businesses, run by women, are poking fun at Valentine’s Day tropes with death-themed confections. The biggest Valentine’s Day seller for five years running at Pennsylvania bakery Vegan Treats is a black, heart-shaped box of chocolates called Fatally Yours, which features a cookie dough skull, white chocolate skeletal hands, filled anatomical hearts, and severed finger sweets. The “Love Is Dead” chocolate skulls, made with 3D printed molds by New York East Village vegan chocolate shop Confectionery, are so popular, they require pre-orders.

Confectionery co-owner and chocolatier Lagusta Yearwood said, “We got a human skull scanned at the Suny New Paltz 3D lab and their 3D printing department printed them [the molds] for us.”

“I like them particularly for Valentine’s because I get so tired of hearts and pink and red, and I’m always searching for something that acknowledges that not all love is the same, that this day is hard for some people, and that it’s fun also to celebrate maybe anti-love or the end of love, or a different kind of love.”

According to the history books, Valentine’s Day actually has rather violent origins, and heteronormative romance only came into the mix during the time of Chaucer and Shakespeare. So, rebelling against the normal by eating chocolate skulls not only gives people who are uninterested in celebrating a chance to enjoy some chocolate, but also offers a tongue-in-cheek way to acknowledge the holiday’s true roots as well.

colorFabb Five Year Anniversary Sales

In February of 2013, Netherlands-based colorFabb launched its first PLA and PHA products, with only 2.85 mm filament and 20 colors, out of a garage and small office. Now, the company, which has moved twice, ships to over 70 countries, and offers over 500 SKUs, is celebrating its fifth anniversary by offering discounted prices on 3D printers and spools of filament. The company is offering 10% off of Robo C2 and Lulzbot TAZ 6 3D printers in its webshop, and is also giving customers a Buy 5, Pay 4 discount on filament.

The website reads, “For the rest of the month you get your fifth spool for free. Add five spools (or a multiplier) in your basket and we deduct the costs of the cheapest spool! Easy. Small print made big: This discount not work on samples or printers though and not in combination with other discounts, but you will find this to be a great deal! Due to the nature of our XL spools a slight variety in pricing may arise when choosing those.”

The company is also hosting a contest in celebration of five years in business – just post, or re-post, your favorite 3D prints made with colorFabb filaments, using #5yearscolorfabb, on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Don’t forget to mention which filament you used! At the end of February, colorFabb will choose one post and send that person a value pack of 16 spools of colorFabb filaments of their choice; two runners-up will receive packs of four spools.

Inert Introducing New Powder Filtration System

PF-1

Top hermetic enclosures manufacturer Inert is releasing its new line of Powder Filtration Systems, which were designed for industries like additive manufacturing that need to collect and dispose of particulate and particles that could be corrosive or reactive. The compact PF-1, PF-2, and PF-3 systems, which can safely filter both metallic and non-metallic powders for AM and welding, are just the latest addition to the company’s line of AM solutions, and can be integrated into its PowderShield enclosures, or sold separately to retrofit into other systems.

The PF-1 is good at removing soot created as a byproduct of 3D printing or laser welding, while the PF-2 is better for larger AM purposes, thanks to its higher max flow rate. The PF-3 has a ceramic filter, so it can be used safely with higher temperatures. The systems also have several safety features, including isolation valves, a quad HEPA filter cluster for collecting reactive powders, and an electrically grounded design to prevent buildup of static electricity.

Global Advanced Metals Commissions New Equipment for 3D Metal Printing

Leading tantalum product producer Global Advanced Metals (GAM) is commissioning Tekna TEKSPHERO plasma spheroidization equipment at its Pennsylvania location, as part of a new process development facility for manufacturing spherical tantalum and other refractory metal powders for metal injection molding and 3D printing. GAM’s successful 3D printing of tantalum parts with complex geometries and unique physical properties has already been demonstrated. This new equipment, which produces spherical powders from a variety of tantalum feed materials, will only help the new facility alleviate the growing demand the company is seeing for its 3D printed commercial and prototype parts. .

“Our new process development facility enables us to create spherical tantalum powders that can be used for 3D printing of prototypes and commercial parts,” said Andrew O’Donovan, CEO of Global Advanced Metals. “The ability to rapidly prototype and produce complex tantalum parts via additive manufacturing offers designers new materials choices for applications in military, aerospace, medical and other demanding industries.”

Precision ADM Makes Major 3D Printing Equipment Acquisition

EOS M 400-4

Global engineering and AM solutions provider Precision ADM has announced an investment in three metal 3D printers by industrial 3D printer supplier EOS, which will quadruple its current additive manufacturing capacity and make it the largest direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) AM manufacturer in Canada with an ISO 13485:2016 Quality Management System certification. The company has added two EOS M 290 3D printers and one EOS M 400-4, which will increase its throughput by complementing its titanium equipment with dedicated cobalt chrome production equipment. The acquisition of this new 3D printing equipment also allows Precision ADM’s customers to access the entire set of EOS materials and parameters.

Martin Petrak, CEO of Precision ADM, said, “This manufacturing capability and capacity expansion is an exciting step forward in Precision ADM’s growth. EOS has the most widely adopted and advanced technology in the industry and that partnership gives us the capability to meet our client’s increasing additive manufacturing demands.”

Review Paper Shows How 3D Printing Technology Can Influence Clinical Applications

[Image: PANBiora via Twitter]

The PANBioRA project, consisting of 17 European Union (EU) partners with the flagship Horizon 2020 research program, is working to develop a platform to optimize engineered biomaterials for medical devices and ATMP. The consortium just published its first review article in the Biotechnology Advances journal, titled “Enabling personalized implant and controllable biosystem development through 3D printing,” which explains how 3D printing technology is influencing clinical applications.

The abstract reads, “3D printing technologies not only enable the personalization of implantable devices with respect to patient-specific anatomy, pathology and biomechanical properties but they also provide new opportunities in related areas such as surgical education, minimally invasive diagnosis, medical research and disease models. In this review, we cover the recent clinical applications of 3D printing with a particular focus on implantable devices. The current technical bottlenecks in 3D printing in view of the needs in clinical applications are explained and recent advances to overcome these challenges are presented.”

PTC and Materialise Announce Partnership

3D printing leader Materialise and PTC are working together to increase the 3D printing capabilities of PTC’s Creo suite of CAD software, by integrating metal 3D printing. This will offer manufacturers expanded access to 3D printing, and an easier way to integrate the technology into their workflow – just another milestone as the manufacturing industry continues to adopt 3D printing as part of a product lifecycle management system. The joint solution is powered by Materialise’s Build Processor, and will support metal 3D printing, give manufacturers a more seamless connection between PTC’s Creo software and 3D printers with the Build Processor, and include Materialise’s support generation technology.

“Our collaboration with PTC will bring improved 3D Printing capabilities to PTC’s CAD software and makes it easier for manufacturers to integrate 3D Printing into their operations. This collaboration with PTC will expand access to 3D Printing and help engineers and designers think in terms of additive, rather than traditional manufacturing for rapid product design and development,” said Stefaan Motte, Vice President and General Manager, Materialise Software.

Brightlands Materials Center and TNO Offering 3D Printing Support to Ministry of Defence

Together, Brightlands Materials Center (BMC) and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, have offered to support the Dutch Ministry of Defence in its adoption of 3D printing technology within the organization. This adoption is aimed at creating multiple advantages within the Ministry, such as increasing operational performance, decreasing its logistical footprint, and making it possible to personalize soldiers’ equipment.

Over the next few months, a variety of 3D printable materials will be analyzed. The Ministry has been experimenting with the technology for a few years, but wants to broaden its knowledge and use. BMC will be able to support the Ministry in 3D printing applications and selecting the proper materials. TNO, which is the Ministry’s strategic partner, will call on its experience designing and applying advanced 3D printing equipment with its knowledge of the Ministry’s equipment and materials.

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.