3D Printing News Briefs: March 31, 2017

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Happy Friday! In today’s edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting with business in the front and medical 3D printing in the back, with the Women Startup Challenge Europe and post-processing in the middle. 3DS added two new members to its Board of Directors, while Sigma Labs entered into a new commercial agreement with Additive Industries. Robotics startup Open Bionics is one of the ten finalists for the first ever international Women Startup Challenge Europe event, and PostProcess Technologies announced its new Surface Finish series machine. Finally, a Russian biomedical company is 3D printing prosthetic hands for young children, and doctors in a Taipei hospital used a 3D printed model to reconstruct a man’s face.

3D Systems Names Two New Members to Strengthen Board of Directors

Global 3D printing solutions company 3D Systems just announced that it’s named two experienced additions to the company’s Board of Directors. The company has added Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth, most recently the president and CEO of Battelle, the world’s largest independent R&D enterprise, and Charles (Chip) G. McClure, Jr., who has served for the last three years as a Managing Partner of private equity firm Michigan Capital Advisors, which invests in Tier 2 and 3 global transportation and automotive suppliers. Dr. Wadsworth and McClure have decades of experience and knowledge to offer, and as 3D Systems board members, they will “bring invaluable expertise and executive leadership experience within key verticals,” according to the company.

Wally Loewenbaum, 3D Systems’ Chairman, said, “We are very pleased to welcome Chip and Jeff to our Board of Directors. They bring a wealth of strong experience in automotive and aerospace and defense verticals which we expect will further enhance the range of skills and expertise within our Board of Directors.”

Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), 3D Systems’ President and CEO, added, “The addition of Mr. McClure and Dr. Wadsworth to our Board reinforces our commitment to enhance management and the Board in line with our customer centric strategy to drive profitable growth through focused execution. We expect that their broad, global experience and deep knowledge of targeted industries will be a valuable addition to our Board.”

Sigma Labs and Additive Industries Enter Multi-Year Commercial Agreement

Quality assurance PrintRite3D software provider Sigma Labs has entered a long-term, non-exclusive commercial agreement with Netherlands-based Additive Industries B.V.; the two were previously in an evaluation period in late 2015. Additive Industries will join Sigma Labs’ OEM Partner Program, and embed and resell PrintRite3D software in its AM equipment. While additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed, we know that it will last several years, and is anticipated to be worth several million dollars.

Mark Cola, President and CEO of Sigma Labs, said, “We are very pleased that Additive Industries has taken the next step in strengthening our long-term relationship by officially joining our OEM Partner Program. Having worked with their esteemed staff for several years, we’ve come to realize the shared value of providing AM machines with the full capabilities of Sigma Labs’ In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) applications. By embedding equipment with our PrintRite3D software before being sold, we can better address the needs of metal component manufacturers across a range of industries and advance the reliability and quality of AM production in real time. We look forward to working with Additive Industries for many years to come.”

Sigma Labs has been busy lately, adding partnerships and upping participation in the additive manufacturing industry. Additive Industries is working to bring metal additively manufactured functional parts “from lab to fab” with its next-generation metal AM machines, and launched its MetalFAB1 in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Open Bionics One of Ten Finalists Announced for Women Startup Challenge Europe

Nonprofit organization Women Who Tech, an advocate for women working in the historically male-dominated tech sector, created the Women Startup Challenge Europe in partnership with Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist, and his Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund. These entrepreneurs will be competing for €50,000 in cash from the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, and $210,000 in cloud services, courtesy of IBM.

“Only 10 percent of global investor money goes to women-led startups, yet women-led companies yield a 35 percent higher return than those led by men. We’ve got to invest in talent and close this gap,” said Newmark.

This week, the ten finalists for the challenge’s first international event were announced, and one of the finalists is Samantha Payne, the founder of award-winning robotics startup Open Bionics. The startup uses 3D scanning and printing to make advanced, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing, even stylish, bionic limbs. Open Bionics works hard to turn young children with limb differences into bionic superheroes, and we cover the startup’s work with prosthetics often.

The finalists, hailing from six countries, will pitch their business ventures before a panel of judges made up of investors and tech industry executives at London’s City Hall on May 3rd; the panel includes Marie-Laure Sauty de Chalon, CEO of auFeminin.com; Baroness Martha Lane Fox, founder of Doteveryone; Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; and Rajeeb Dey, CEO of Learnerbly and founder of Enternships.com. The office of London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan is hosting the finalist panel.

Mayor Khan said, “As a proud feminist, I am delighted that City Hall is hosting this exciting competition. Last year, the capital was crowned the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs for the second year in a row, so London really is the perfect location for this event. I recently unveiled my Digital Talent Programme which aims to boost the proportion of women working in the technology industry, which currently stands at just 17 percent. Both of these initiatives will help to nurture the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs and cement London’s reputation as the tech and digital capital of Europe.”

PostProcess Technologies Announces Newest Large Format Finishing Machine for Additive Manufacturing Industry

DECI Rectangular Surface Finish by PostProcess Technologies

New York-based PostProcess Technologies, which provides automated and intelligent post-processing solutions for 3D printer parts, just introduced its second-generation DECI Rectangular, the largest offering in its Surface Finish (SF) series. The creation of the DECI Rectangular was based on customer feedback, and is the only automated SF machine that was designed specifically for additively manufactured parts. It can finish parts that are printed with any materials or technology, which will be used for “both higher volume production runs or for larger complex geometries.”

Daniel J. Hutchinson, PostProcess Founder and CTO, said, “We are pioneering the way in bringing real time automation to additive. Our latest SF DECI Rectangular increases production scalability enabling our customers to meet the higher demand for larger geometries in production runs.”

The SF DECI Rectangular integrates proprietary agitation algorithms into the system, and has a large, divided chamber, so two separate, parallel production processes can independently take place, with different consumables. This allows for versatility, which is helpful when taking into account the industry’s continued, rapid growth. PostProcess uses Beckhoff as the exclusive industrial automation components provider for all its machines; its industrial PCs use one-touch programming, and offer real-time data acquisition to intelligently auto-tune a machine’s operation. This capability is important, as it offers the precision energy management that’s crucial to PostProcess production solutions.

Russian Company 3D Prints Prosthetics for Kids

A biomedical startup based out of Moscow is using 3D printing technology to develop durable, functional 3D printed prosthetics for young children – even as little as two years old! The startup utilizes 3D printing because the component parts can be manufactured much more quickly, and made to be more resilient; a good quality when children will be wearing the prosthetic hands. In addition, some of the prosthetic models even come equipped with special holders, so kids can literally hang on to their devices.

Engineers explained that it’s helpful for young children who suffer from limb disability, or who are missing a limb altogether, to start learning how to use a practical prosthesis when they’re little. In addition, the engineers believe that younger children who wear prosthetics that are as colorful and fun-looking as the ones the Russian startup is creating can actually “attract positive attention and interaction from other kids.”

Taipei Surgeons Use 3D Printing to Reconstruct A Sculptor’s Face

Liao Han-tsung, right, director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s plastic and reconstructive department in New Taipei City yesterday displays technology used in reconstructive surgery [Image: CNA]

Surgeons in a Taipei hospital used 3D printing to reconstruct the face of one of their patients recently…and it’s not the first time, either. Peng, a sculptor in his fifties, crashed his motorcycle into the back of another car, but as he only had minor bruising, swelling, and numbness on one check, he did not seek medical assistance and instead applied some ice and allowed his injuries to heal by themselves. But once the swelling finally receded, Peng realized that instead of healing, his left check was still numb, and his face was now asymmetrical, with a drooping left eye socket. Nearly three months after the accident, once his vision started to blur while he was sculpting, Peng finally went to Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City.

As one of Peng’s surgeons, Liao Han-tsung, explained, it turned out that his eyes were misaligned due to an orbital blowout fracture, and he had a displaced fracture of his left cheekbone. It’s best to perform cheekbone and orbital fracture surgery within two to three weeks after the injury, and the bones in Peng’s face would now be difficult to put back into their original positions, as they had set into a new place.

The surgeons turned to 3D printing, and a computer-assisted navigation system, to build a 3D model of Peng’s original bones. The technology was able to help the surgeons precisely reconstruct Peng’s face, and the model was a big help during surgery, so the surgeons could avoid damaging any sensitive organs, or causing Peng to go blind by hitting one of his optic nerves. Peng has recovered and is able to go back to his work as a sculptor without worrying about blurry vision. Liao said that the Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital has used this innovative technology in reconstructing the faces, or skulls, of roughly 150 patients, and all, including Peng, “have been satisfied with the results.” Discuss in the News Briefs forum at 3DPB.com.

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