On this week’s “The Stories We Missed This Week,” we’ve got news on the latest industry partnerships, expansions, products, and more. For starters, the Irish 3D printer company Mcor is raising €5M to add 100 new employees to their growing team. 3D Systems has advanced their medical training simulators by integrating enhanced virtual reality (VR) environments. Five of the most innovative 3D printing companies were named as finalists for the 20th Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards. Graphene 3D Lab expands their Conductive PLA 3D printing filament line, now offering the material in 3mm diameter. Stratasys promoted the reseller Purple Platypus to Diamond Level Reseller classification for their application knowledge, technical expertise, and customer service. TriFusion Devices has partnered up with Y-Combinator’s Standard Cyborg to build a 3D printing solution for the orthotics and prosthetics field. Ohio 3D printing company Polar 3D announces their support of the GE Additive Education Program. Last but not least, Sculpteo has taken their patent-pending Smoothing Beautifier process out of beta, making it directly available online.
Mcor Raises €5M to Expand Team with 100 New Employees
This past week, Irish 3D printing firm Mcor Technologies revealed that they are raising €5 million in funds to help expand their operation. They plan to use these funds to add 100 new employees and target sales of 2,000 printers per month. Known for developing the ARKe 3D printer, the only full-color paper 3D printer in the world, Mcor recently partnered with Flex, the manufacturer of products for companies like Fitbit and Google. Currently with a staff with 50 employees, the addition of 100 employees will triple the size of the company. Mcor co-founders Dr. Conor MacCormack and his brother Fintan are aiming for annual growth of up to 50 percent. The company plans to double their sales and match an undisclosed competitor that currently sells around 2,000 printers per month. Mcor plans to succeed through their expansive network comprised of 150 dealers throughout 50 countries. The latest financial backers include Tipperary technology entrepreneur and investor John Ryan.
“It took two years to develop our latest Arke model, and a further year of work with Flex. They can do the manufacturing efficiently and reliably, while we focus on sales and inventing, design and R&D,” said Dr. MacCormack.
3D Systems Enhances Surgical Planning with Virtual Reality Environments
Last week, 3D Systems announced that they would be expanding their Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP) service. Now, the pioneering 3D printing company announced additional advancements to their line of medical training simulators. 3D Systems will utilize enhanced VR environments that allow users to practice surgical procedures within the Virtual Reality Operating Room (VR OR). This realistic and immersive training module offers realistic environmental elements that are not typically found in other simulations, such as a virtual patient, OR team, and OR equipment, as well as realistic auditory diversions. With a keen focus of improving their digital healthcare workflow, 3D Systems’ surgical simulators were designed to provide more effective surgical preparation and team training.
“3D Systems’ focused investment in R&D has put the company at the forefront of simulation innovation,” said Kevin McAlea, EVP, General Manager, Metals & Healthcare, 3D Systems. “The addition of 3D virtual reality to our simulators represents the next step in advancing medical training for an enhanced immersive learning process that helps to deliver better procedural outcomes.”
3D Printing Finalists Announced for SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards
Since 2015, 3D printing technology has become a premier highlight at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas. This past week, 70 finalists were announced for the 13 categories featured in the 20th annual Interactive Innovation Awards. One category, entitled “Innovative 3-DIY,” awards companies that have made 3D printing more accessible and affordable, or have used the technology in new inventive ways. This year’s finalists include:
- 3Doodler PRO by 3Doodler, New York, NY
- The FormBox by Mayku Industries, London, UK
- Miia Truly Personalized CPAP by Metamason, Los Angeles, CA
- Onyx One 3D Printer by Markforged Inc., Cambridge, MA
- Original Prusa i3 MK2 by Prusa Research, Prague, CZE
Outside of 3D printing, the ceremony also acknowledges innovators in digital design, health technology, privacy and security, virtual and augmented reality, and more. The panel of judges selected these five 3D printing companies based on four criteria, including creativity, form, function, and overall experience.
“We are proud to not only honor the year’s best, most forward-thinking projects, but to bring that innovation to the fingertips of each and every SXSW conference attendee during the Finalist Showcase,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “I’m particularly impressed at how many of these projects are implementing next-generation AI technology. This AI theme is one that will be very strong throughout SXSW 2017.”
Graphene 3D Lab Expands Conductive PLA Filament Product Line
Based out of New York, the composite material producer Graphene 3D Lab has helped further the functional capabilities of 3D printing filaments. This past week, they announced the expansion of one of their featured products, Conductive Graphene Filament. This conductive PLA material is now available in 3m diameter. The decision to add to this product came after receiving multiple requests from its customers using LulzBot, Ultimaker, and other printers that utilize this filament standard. The newest size is currently available at Graphene 3D Labs’ online stores, Black Magic 3D and Graphene Supermarket.
“With the development of the 3D printing industry, the standards for the consumables manifest themselves. As a leading supplier of advanced 3D printing materials we should follow this trend to meet our customers’ needs while simultaneously growing our evolving client base,” commented Graphene 3D Lab co-CEO Daniel Stolyarov. “We will keep expanding our product line of 3D printing materials and keep our shareholders informed on the progress.”
Stratasys Promotes Purple Platypus to Diamond Level Reseller
The 3D printing titan Stratasys is heavily dependent on resellers to spread their expansive line of 3D printing products throughout the world. To give recognition to the resellers that have gone above and beyond, the pioneering 3D printing company recently developed the Diamond Level. This rank was created for resellers who provide the highest degree of application knowledge, technical expertise, and customer support. This past week, Stratasys awarded Diamond Level ranking to Purple Platypus, an official reseller covering Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Based in Irvine, California, Purple Platypus has the largest fleet of Stratasys 3D printing products in the entire southwest region. Aside from their vast product range, the reseller was also recognized for having the most knowledgeable team of experts and application consultants.
TriFusion Devices Partners with Standard Cyborg to Advance Prosthetic Devices
Texas-based prosthetic 3D printing company TriFusion Devices has partnered with Silicon Valley startup Standard Cyborg to revolutionize the way prosthetic devices are printed. TriFusion will fuse their high-grade materials and printing capabilities with Standard Cyborg’s software platform to create an advanced solution for the orthotics and prosthetics field. The collaborative effort will aim to increase the speed, efficiency, and access for clinics and patients. Their process begins with the patient having their limb scanned by a certified clinician, used to create a custom-fit geometry. This 3D model is then sent to TriFusion Devices, where they use their proprietary processes to create a 3D printed prosthetic device. In a matter of hours, the device is shipped to the clinic and fitted to the patient.
Polar 3D Announces Support for GE Additive Education Program
Back in October, the Cincinnati-based company Polar 3D made a major stride in the educational sector by acquiring STEAMtrax from 3D Systems. Now, the 3D printing cloud platform is throwing their weight behind the GE Additive Education Program, which will invest $2 million into primary and secondary schools to subsidize Polar 3D classroom packages. GE and Polar 3D will join forces to help accelerate the adoption of 3D printing technology within the classroom and throughout the world. Interested schools can submit an application to become a part of this expansive educational program. Here are the following deadlines that must be adhered to:
- February 28, 2017 – Introductory applications due
- March 15, 2017 – Down-selected schools notified
- April 7, 2017 – Detailed applications due
- April 28, 2017 – Final selections notified
“We selected Polar because of their commitment to education, strength of curriculum that integrates 3D printing in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math and the open Polar Cloud platform,” said Greg Morris, Strategy & Growth Leader of GE Additive. “We are excited to watch the ecosystem grow and develop pipelines of future talent in additive manufacturing.”
Sculpteo Takes New Smoothing Beautifier Process Out of Beta
Last but not least, the French 3D printing service bureau Sculpteo has officially released their new Smoothing Beautifier process. Recently taken out of the beta phase, this patent-pending process was developed to make polyamide 3D prints as smooth as injection molded parts. The new finishing technique is a chemical-based treatment that procures an exceptionally smooth surface finish in aspect and texture. The smoothing beautifier process helps close the gap between injection molded and 3D printed parts, which generally have rougher surface finishes. Compared to the beta version process that was unveiled in May 2016, the enhanced finishing technique now provides an even shiner surface than before. As of now, the smoothing beautifier can only be used with white polyamide PA 12, and can only be dyed black as far as color options go. Learn more about the innovative new finish here.
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