This week’s news covers awards, appointments, new 3D printing facilities and services, and a shoutout to 3D printing from a Google parent company executive. Divergent 3D has received a tech award for its innovative Manufacturing Platform, and Proto Labs has appointed a new CTO, while Optomec has added a new Board Member. Computergate Australia is now offering a 3D printing warranty service in conjunction with the Australian 3D Manufacturing Association, and 3D printing services are now offered by Cresco, Iowa’s Upper Iowa Tool & Die. Pflugerville, Texas welcomes a new EOS additive manufacturing facility, and recent comments about 3D printed homes and buildings by Google parent company executive Eric Schmidt acknowledge 3D printing’s potential environmental contributions in the construction industry.
Divergent 3D Wins Tech Award
Divergent 3D won the Frost & Sullivan 2016 North American Technology Innovation Award in the category of Structural Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry. Divergent 3D’s Manufacturing Platform™ applies 3D printing to the designing and manufacturing of complex structures — like cars — with the intention of addressing the economic and environmental impact of these designs. The Frost & Sullivan North American Technology Innovation Award is intended for the company that develops new technologies impacting the functionality and customer value of new products and applications.
Kevin Czinger, Founder & CEO of Divergent 3D, addresses what the award means for his company:
“It is an honor to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our innovation that stands to transform the automobile industry. This 2016 North American Technology Innovation Award is validation of our ongoing efforts to revolutionize car manufacturing by reducing the pollution and production costs of traditional manufacturing, resulting in a sustainable path forward for the car industry.”
The Future for 3D Printed Buildings
Speaking of Google, Eric Schmidt is the executive chairman of the tech superpower’s parent company, Alphabet, and recently he made some interesting public comments on the role that 3D printed buildings can have in saving the planet. These comments were made at the Milken 2016 Global Conference in Beverly Hills, where 3,500 people including politicians, actors, technologists, and scientists gathered to discuss nothing less than the future of humanity.
In particular, Schmidt cited 3D printing as having the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said construction is 5% of the economy, and that we could build homes and buildings more cheaply and efficiently in an industrial environment (such as an additive manufacturing facility) if 100% recyclable material was used. But we already knew that, didn’t we?
EOS Opens 3D Printing Facility in Texas
Pflugerville, Texas is the fortunate new home for an additive manufacturing facility run by EOS — the company that has been in the business of developing high-end solutions for additive manufacturing for 27 years. The Pflugerville facility will provide support for EOS’ growing North America market, which topped $100 million in fiscal year 2015. The site has an innovations laboratory (iLab), where EOS application engineers interact directly with customers. A working showroom, containing the company’s range of AM systems, and an AM Ventures division, focused on startups, are also included in the project. EOS Founder and CEO Dr. Hans J. Langer describes EOS’ success:
“Our Pflugerville investment is a direct reflection of our ongoing success. Additive manufacturing is rapidly becoming a more widely accepted solution to complex manufacturing requirements across a broad spectrum of industries. We’ve recently sold our 2100th system, worldwide. With almost three decades of dedication to AM technology development, our company is committed to upholding the highest quality standards in our field.”
Given all of the company’s achievements in the past few decades, there’s no doubt that a new facility will help continue the track record and maintain EOS’ high standards in the additive manufacturing field.
Upper Iowa Tool & Die of Cresco, Iowa Now Offers 3D Printing
Many people think that the Midwest is always behind in these technological times, but this just isn’t the case. For example, in Cresco, Iowa, Upper Iowa Tool & Die (located at 956 6th Ave. W.) now offers 3D printing to meet the additive manufacturing needs of their customers. The company now has a Stratasys Fortus 380mc 3D printer to serve “rapid prototype and small batch production needs” cheaply and efficiently.
Scott Fortune, owner of Upper Iowa Tool & Die, explains why they have incorporated 3D printing into their business:
“We feel this is the best commercial 3D printer available and consequently produces the highest quality of 3D printed components. Since purchasing the business nine years ago, the business climate has changed drastically. Some of the routine work has dissolved due to a change in manufacturing practices. We realized the need to diversify. We needed to find a technology that would complement our core business while providing additional income to the business.”
This decision will draw in new customers while also introducing older customers to this growing technology — no doubt benefitting all involved.
New 3D Printing Warranty Service from Computergate
Computergate Australia is a services provider that is partnering with the Australian 3D Manufacturing Association (A3DMA) to offer warranty services programs for 3D printers in the hopes of attracting more people to the technology. Schools and businesses that may be interested in 3D printing are deterred from trying it out because of a lack of extended warranties and other forms of general support, according to Computergate chief executive Mario Greco.
Greco explains how a warranty program will encourage more 3D printing:
“By implementing our managed maintenance programs we expect to deliver superior service offerings to support all products in the field that will provide our customers with a seamless experience.”
The program includes “on-site extended warranty, helpdesk assistance during business hours, and telephone and onsite support services” — making it much easier to get the necessary support needed when utilizing 3D printing technologies.
Proto Labs Gets New Chief Technology Officer
Rich Baker has been named the new Chief Technology Officer for Proto Labs, which describes itself as the “world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts.” Baker has a wealth of technology experience in a career that has spanned almost two decades in the tech industry. A Cornell University graduate who holds a Ph.D in theoretical and applied mechanics, Baker also serves as the current chairman of NanoVox, a “a nonprofit public-private partnership focused on advancing nano-technology and advanced materials.”
This appointment, which began May 2, replaces longtime CTO Don Krantz, who recently announced his retirement.
Optomec Appoints New Board of Directors Member
Annette Finsterbusch has been appointed to Optomec’s Board of Directors — a leading supplier of “production grade additive manufacturing systems for 3D printed metals and 3D printed electronics.” For
11 years, Finsterbusch served as the Fund Founder and Senior Investment Director of the venture capital arm of Applied Materials. She was also CEO of two early stage venture-backed tech companies: Firefly Green Technology (now Ketra) and MindShadow.com.
Dave Ramahi, Optomec President and CEO, reports being delighted that Finsterbusch has joined the company’s Board:
“Annette brings a unique blend of expertise to the Optomec Board, including her strong background and understanding of the production capital equipment landscape, coupled with a fundamental understanding of the challenges that face small technology companies targeting very large markets. Annette’s broad range of successful operational roles from high technology start-ups to Fortune 500 capital equipment companies will provide important guidance for us as we grow the company.”
That’s all for this week’s news. Have a great weekend! Discuss further in the 3D Printing Weekly News forum over at 3DPB.com.