This week on “The Stories We Missed This Week,” we’ve got everything from 3D printed electronics to aircraft parts to keep your mind going through the weekend. For starters, the Israeli electronics 3D printing company Nano Dimension announced that their highly anticipated DragonFly 2020 3D printer would be on display at the upcoming CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The advanced polyamide solutions provider Solvay has strengthened their Sinterline Technyl PA6 material for the creation of functional 3D printed parts. The manufacturing entity Arconic has signed two new agreements to create an array of metal 3D printed parts for the aerospace pioneer Airbus. MachineWorks has launched a new website for Polygonica, their solid modeling software toolkit for the creation of polygon meshes. As the metal 3D printing market continues to boom, 3Diligent announced that they’ve expanded their range of metal 3D printing technology. The San Diego-based 3D printing startup Formalloy received an award from a Government Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Lastly, the industrial inkjet 3D printer manufacturer Xaar announced that they will be opening a new 3D printing service center next month in Nottingham, UK.
Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020 To Be Unveiled at CES 2017
The Israeli electronics 3D printing company Nano Dimension has spent the last year quietly supplying their DragonFly 2020 3D printer to a select few organizations, including an Israel-based defense contractor and a Fortune 100 company. Meanwhile, the industry has been eagerly awaiting a firsthand look to see what this electronics 3D printer is capable of. Those fortunate enough to be in attendance at the upcoming CES 2017 in Las Vegas will have the opportunity to see the professional circuit board printer live and in action. Not only will the Nano Dimension team be demonstrating the production of multilayer PCBs, the printer will also focus on creating antennas, molded interconnect devices (MIDs), and more.
In addition to featuring the DragonFly 2020 at CES 2017, Nano Dimension also announced this week that they’ve supplied one of the largest defense companies in the world with their electronics 3D printer. An undisclosed participant in their beta program, the defense company supplies some of the world’s most advanced defense systems to thousands of civilian and intelligence agencies, governments, defense corporations, and industrial companies in both the United States and throughout the world.
The 3DPrint.com team will be in attendance at CES 2017 to get a firsthand look at Nano Dimension’s highly anticipated electronics 3D printer, so be sure to stay tuned for our CES coverage. You can catch a firsthand look at the DragonFly 2020 at the conference, which takes place from January 5 to 8, in Booth 51032 inside of the Israel Tech Pavilion, located at the Tech West Sands Expo, Level 1, Hall G.
Simon Fried, Nano Dimension’s Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, commented: “3D printing will set designers free. Electronics today are focused on function over form. PCBs are essential elements and therefore dictate the device’s form factor – typically a rectangular or square shape. But, by printing the circuitry into a product’s design, we have the potential to open up a whole new world of flexibility and design possibilities.”
Solvay Strengthens Sinterline Technyl PA6 Technology to Functional Level
Earlier this week, the Belgium-based advanced polyamide solutions provider Solvay announced that they have strengthened their Sinterline Technyl PA6 material, making it compatible with 3D printing functional parts. To optimize the Sinterline material for additive manufacturing, Solvay applied their MMI Technyl Design predictive simulation solution. To prove the viability of their development, the advanced materials company 3D printed a functional plenum chamber for the Polimotor 2 all-plastic engine. The aim of this project is to produce an engine weighing just 138-148lbs, which is 90lbs less than standard engines of today. If successful, this would help lower both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. By utilizing Sinterline materials and SLS printing technology, the MMI Technyl Design predictive performance simulations showed that the plenum could be up to 30% lighter than expected.
“The plenum fabricated with Sinterline Technyl PA6 technology could easily perform without failure under real operating conditions,” said Matti Holtzberg, Designer and Leader of the Polimotor projects. “Integrating the 3D printed part with predictive simulation demonstrated all the additional benefits we could obtain to further reduce weight.”
Arconic to Supply 3D Printed Nickel and Titanium Parts to Airbus
Back in July, the advanced lightweight metals manufacturing company Alcoa opened a $60 million metal 3D printing center under their newly formed entity Arconic. This past week, the now independently functioning company proved that their manufacturing facility is being put to good use by strengthening their collaboration with the aerospace leader Airbus. Arconic recently signed two new agreements to supply Airbus with 3D printed metal parts for their A320 commercial aircraft line. As a part of the first agreement, Arconic will be producing ducting components made from high temperature nickel superalloys. Under the second deal, the metal manufacturing company will 3D print titanium airframe brackets. These 3D printed parts are expected to be delivered to Airbus in the second quarter of 2017. Previous to these new agreements, Arconic and Airbus had struck up a deal last April to develop 3D printed titanium fuselage and engine pylon components.
“We’re proud to deepen our partnership with Airbus through these agreements,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Arconic. “Airbus’s confidence in our additive manufacturing capabilities is grounded in Arconic’s comprehensive strengths—from aerospace know-how to metals powder production and product qualification expertise. We are pleased to support our customers and pave the way to the future of aerospace manufacturing.”
MachineWorks Launches Solid Modeling Software Toolkit for Polygon Meshes
This past week has been a big one for the simulation software developer MachineWorks Ltd. For starters, they’ve announced a brand new website for Polygonica, their solid modeling software toolkit designed for processing polygon meshes. The new update includes enhancements to the functionality of their software, including new areas such as point cloud processing. The updated website shares an in-depth look at all of Polygonica’s features, as well as access to a wide range of other useful applications.
In addition to the new and improved software website, MachineWorks has also announced a partnership with the 3D printing giant Stratasys to fully integrate Polygonica into GrabCAD Print. The inclusion of Polygonica’s mesh libraries will enable GrabCAD Print users to perform automatic mesh repair, mesh offsetting, Boolean operations, and analysis functions. The mesh repair function ensures that prints will be closed and watertight, and also eliminates self-intersections, badly oriented triangles, noise shells and non-manifold edges. The mesh offsetting will minimize disruption to the 3D printing workflow, while the robust Boolean feature will prepare critical tasks such as splitting models, engraving meshes, hollowing, and infilling meshes.
“MachineWorks has set an industry standard for CNC simulation and verification software – backed by its robust Polygonica solid modelling toolkit for processing polygon meshes,” said Jon Stevenson, Senior Vice President Global Software, Stratasys. “Combined with the power of GrabCAD Print to streamline and simplify the 3D printing process, customers can dramatically enhance 3D printing design freedom and creativity to accelerate the prototyping, tooling and manufacturing process.”
3Diligent Expands 3D Printing Capabilities for Metal Parts
Earlier this week, the 3D printing marketplace and service provider 3Diligent announced the expansion of their metal 3D printing capabilities. Back in September, the company decided to separate their marketplace and direct services from one another, and now seems to be focused on enhancing both. 3Diligent has added metal plating services for 3D printed parts, which will allow designers to have their ideas printed with a metal-like effect without the hefty price tag. This method gives 3D printed parts a metallic appearance and also provides additional durability. The 3D printing service provider will also offer “wax print to cast metal” technology, a process that can be utilized for casting precious metals and industrial alloys that aren’t usually available in the powder form. These advanced technologies will join 3Diligent’s line of Laser Melting, Electron Beam Melting, and Binder Jetting with Metal Infiltration, as well as CNC machining.
“The size of the metal 3D printing market is growing and so are the number of different printing technologies available. At 3Diligent, we’re committed to understanding the tradeoffs between these technologies to advise and provide our customers a single, seamless rapid manufacturing solution. That’s why we’re pleased to add wax-to-metal and metal plating options to our already market leading breadth of capabilities,” said Cullen Hilkene, CEO of 3Diligent.
Formalloy Receives Award for Government Small Business Innovation Research Program
After the 3D printing startup Formalloy made a major splash at the recent RAPID 2016, the San Diego-based company has been looking to continue their emergence in the industry. This past week, Formalloy received an award as part of a Government Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR program will provide the startup with federal research funds to create a custom metal 3D printer, and will be completed in collaboration with the UC San Diego Department of Nano Engineering’s Materials Research Center. The machine will be based off of the Formalloy A222 Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) printer, which is currently in use by NASA, large tool manufacturers, and research centers. The A222 is not only capable of producing material parts, but can also repair, coat, and modify existing parts.
Xaar to Expand 3D Printing Services With New Inkjet Facility in the UK
Last year, the digital inkjet technology company Xaar PLC decided to expand their focus to the additive manufacturing sector, and it seems like the move has paid off thus far. This past week, Xaar announced that they would be opening their new Xaar 3D Centre in Nottingham, UK this coming January. The team behind the facility will be headed by Professor Neil Hopkinson, who joined the team back in March to help build Xaar’s 3D printing division. Hopkinson is the inventor of High Speed Sintering technology (HSS), which uses inkjet printheads and infrared heaters to 3D print from polymer powder materials. This technology operates at much higher speeds than other additive manufacturing processes, and thus is ideal for those looking to 3D print in high volume. The Nottingham-based facility will focus on developing materials and applications in collaboration with their global brand partners. Additionally, the Xaar team was expanded to include a group of engineers working out of Copenhagen, Denmark.
“I am delighted to confirm our investment in the Xaar 3D Centre in Nottingham and our 3D team including the new group in Copenhagen,” said Hopkinson. “As we build our business in 3D it is vital that we have the in-house expertise to support our partners. The addition of the team in Denmark further extends our capability.”
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