Embattled 3D printing industry leader 3D Systems looks to be starting off 2016 in far better shape than many insiders expected. With recent, albeit rather minor, bumps in stock prices to $14 a share up from a dismal $6.2 a share in January, a surprisingly solid 2015 fourth quarter and the unceremonious and wise abandonment of the desktop market, 3D Systems seems intent to get back to the core strengths of the company. That renewed focus on their many industrial and commercial 3D printing applications will be on full display at the 2016 Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference being held in St. Louis, MO from April 3rd to the 7th.
3D Systems is using their company’s 30th anniversary, and their platform as a Diamond Sponsor at AMUG, as an excuse to showcase their full range of industrial and commercial 3D printers. They will also be heavily featuring the rest of their offerings, like their line of advanced 3D printing materials, their software options and their on-demand manufacturing services. 3D Systems also plans to host a series of discussions and workshops that seem surprisingly low on overzealous hype and high on tangible content. Their plans also seem to indicate that 3D Systems will be putting a new focus on their history with stereolithography technology, and their plans for it in the future.
“Now a leading conference for additive manufacturing, AMUG evolved from an early users’ group of 3D Systems’ Stereolithography technology in the late 1980s. Currently in our 30th anniversary year, 3D Systems is thrilled to celebrate this joint history with such a collaborative community as we continue to develop solutions to improve designs, transform workflows, bring original products to market and drive new business models,” said 3D Systems’ Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cathy Lewis.
The star of the show is clearly going to be the live demonstrations of the super-fast SLAbot-2 technology, which is based on the original stereolithography technology developed by Chuck Hull, co-founder and current Chief Technology Officer, back in 1983. The SLAbot-2 is the second generation of the exciting new SLA 3D printing technology that 3DS showed off at CES 2016 back in January, and could be a key piece of technology for their plan to revitalize the company. The technology is similar to the fast resin curing printers demonstrated by Carbon3D and NewPro3D also demoed at CES. The technology didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, mainly due to their more pressing financial woes, but also due to it being just a tech demo and not an actual finished product. Hull is also expected to be on hand to talk about SLA technology in general and their SLAbot-2 in particular.
With the SLAbot-2 technology being on full display throughout the show, and even being the subject of an entire workshop, it seems 3DS may be getting closer to producing a working model. But their existing line of SLA 3D printers isn’t being ignored either and will be placed front and center at their AMUG booth. 3DS will be heavily showing off their ProJet 6000 and ProX 800 printers, not to mention their range of resin materials. Additionally, with 3D printing being the hot, new injection molding alternative, 3DS will be focusing specifically on the ProX 800’s ability to match CNC and injection molded parts in accuracy, speed and cost.
The rest of their showing reads like a list of 3D Systems’ greatest hits, with just about every 3D printing system or accessory being pulled out of storage for the event. They will be showing off their ProX DMP 320 direct metal printing (DMP) 3D printer, and focusing on the metal printer’s speed and accuracy. 3DS will also be making room for their selective laser sintering (SLS) ProX 500 printer, their ProJet MJP 3600 and the newly announced ProJet MJP 2500 lines of multi-jet 3D printers, and the accompanying line of VisiJet M3 plastic materials. Representatives from their Quickparts on-demand 3D printing services division will be on hand, their Capture and Geomagic Design X scan to CAD software will be featured and I hear that they’ll be closing out the show with “Stairway to Heaven.”
With several sponsored workshops and sessions on the schedule, including the aforementioned SLAbot-2 demo, 3DS is going to be a major presence at this year’s AMUG. They will be leading sessions on designing for a fluid digital-to-physical workflow, medical 3D printing applications, metal printing for aerospace and defense, full-color 3d printing, new SLS materials and showcasing 3DSPRINT, which allows users to prepare, fix, print and monitor 3D files with a single software platform. You can see the entire AMUG 2016 conference schedule here, and register to attend the show here. Discuss in the Additive Manufacturing Users Group 2016 forum over at 3DPB.com.