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imagesThe formnext show, being held in Frankfurt this week from November 17-20, is playing host to the unveiling of some of today’s most powerful new manufacturing concepts and 3D printers.

This international exhibition and conference on additive technologies, tool, and form making is known as a venue not only for showing off the latest and quite substantial new wares in 3D printing, but also serves as a forum for displaying how the latest technologies are working with more traditional, conventional procedures.

Leading manufacturers such as Concept Laser, Renishaw, and EnvisionTEC are all on hand this year, showcasing new ideas and hardware to industry peers and potential customers who seek more progressive methods of production, greater productivity, and of course–the latest in technology.

One of the highlights is Concept Laser’s new plant architecture. Unveiling the AM Factory of Tomorrow, Concept Laser states that they are offering something completely new in regards to performance level, as well as quality and flexibility. Rather than offering one or two new pieces of hardware, they propose an entirely new paradigm in production for 3D printing, to be launched in late 2016.Concept's-factory-concept

The new plant architecture offers a production process consisting of:

  • Modular warehouse
  • Build job preparation
  • Additive manufacturing process
  • Dismantling and post processing

“In essence,” says Dr. Florian Bechmann, head of R&D at Concept Laser, “it is about splitting up build job preparation/build job follow-up processing and additive manufacturing in any number of combinable modules. With comparatively large build envelopes, build jobs can be carried out with a time delay. The intention is that this should drastically reduce the ‘downtime’ of previous stand-alone machines.”

“There is plenty of potential here for improving the level of added value in the production chain. In contrast to purely quantitative approaches of previous machine concepts, we see here a fundamentally new approach for advancing industrial series production one step further.”

This is a new architecture that aims to work on the qualitative rather than the quantitative in the manufacturing environment, focusing on integration, and avoiding previous solutions just offering a standalone solution.

UntitledRenishaw will be offering a new build preparation software package, in addition to two new metal 3D printing systems. Exhibiting as Renishaw plc at their main stand in Hall 3.1, they will also be exhibiting as Renishaw LBC Engineering, on stand D78. They will also show off their new global network of Solutions Centres with a live demonstration that exhibits delivery of these comprehensive solutions.

With the distinct honor of serving as the supplier to the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing team and member of their Technical Innovation Group, they will offer a demonstration on how a 3D printed part processes all the way through the production chain, using a component from the T2 racing yacht.

Also in the works via Renishaw is a plan to open the Additive Manufacturing Solutions Centre. This will offer a progressive venue for a range of manufacturers to ‘benefit from dedicated incubator cells.’ Supplied with Renishaw’s additive manufacturing systems, customers will be able to proactively participate in running evaluation projects to see how indeed the new technology might be of benefit to their own organizations. Renishaw emphasizes both knowledge and ‘skills transfer.’

“The goal is to provide an insight into the technical and commercial benefits of AM and ultimately to provide the evidence to support investment in metal additive manufacturing technology,” states the Renishaw team in their latest press release.

Vector-300x300Last, but surely not least is a company we write about often, from the latest release of their Perfactory Vida 3D Dental Printer to their DLP wax printer. EnvisionTEC is currently on hand at formnext to unveil the Vector 3SP in Hall 3.1, Stand 3-80.

Meant to fill out their industrial lineup, the Vector 3SP will take a spot in between the ULTRA 3SP series and the large-frame family, consisting of the Xtreme 3SP and the Xede 3SP models. This 3D printer fills a niche in that the Vector 3SP offers a 29% larger build envelope over the ULTRA 3SP. It will also offer greater speed, as well as offering more versatility for customers.

“We are pleased to present the Vector 3SP as an enhanced 3D printing solution for professional and industrial use. This new release reinforces EnvisionTEC’s dedication to providing the industry with constant innovation in additive manufacturing. The Vector 3SP is capable of producing functional end-use parts with the exceptional surface finish we are known for with even greater speed than we have offered in the past,” said EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani.

The new machine also boasts a new single-frame design, along with a 15” touchscreen monitor on a swing arm, controlling the integrated PC. EnvisionTEC will also have numerous machines on display, along with several new materials that they state are targeted toward the molding, industrial wax patterns, and direct manufacturing industries.

Formnext provides an innovative platform for numerous exhibitors from sectors such as materials, mechanical engineering, measuring technology, prototype construction, further processing, and accessories. The show gives exhibitors a chance to display new and existing products and services to industry professionals from around the world who are qualified to use such tools. Both presentation and networking opportunities abound, allowing companies to reach out to technicians, product developers, process managers, executors, and proprietors.

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