3D Printing News Briefs: April 11, 2017

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In today’s edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’ll talk about new 3D printing material colors, an industrial fair, how 3D printing technology was used to build brain models, a plant health product, and a carbon positive ceramic bowl, and then wrap things up with a little business news. colorFabb’s newest filament is now available in five new colors, and VSHAPER will soon be attending its first foreign fair. Doctors in China are 3D printing brain models, a plant health care company used 3D printing technology to build a cutting-edge tool, and a Kickstarter campaign just launched for a carbon positive ceramic bowl in the shape of Antarctica. Finally, TRUMPF will be expanding its group management in just a few months, and Proto Labs announced that it has reached a settlement with ICO Products over a patent infringement dispute.

colorFabb Announces New Skin Tone Colors for nGen_FLEX Filament

Dutch materials manufacturer colorFabb announced its nGen line of 3D printing filaments in 2015, and launched nGen_FLEX at the TCT Show in Birmingham in September 2016. The material has a Shore A hardness of 95, with a high temperature and chemical resistance, and is a good choice for functional parts. colorFabb demonstrated its first semi-flexible material’s potential applications in the field of prosthetics while at the TCT Show, and also mentioned that different skin tone colors might be developed. The company just announced that there are now five separate skin tone colors available for its nGen_FLEX filament line.

The goal of the new skin tone colors is to have 3D printed prosthetics that can “meet local sensitivities,” and the colors, based on the Pantone color chart (though not perfect matches), were picked and developed with the help of several NGOs active in the Middle East and East Africa. The spools are only available in limited quantities, through colorFabb’s webshop. The new skin tone colors are:

  • PANTONE 5Y08 SP – Light Beige
  • PANTONE 2Y10 SP – Medium Beige
  • PANTONE 4R15 SP – Light Brown
  • PANTONE 3R14 SP – Medium Brown
  • PANTONE 1R15 SP – Dark Brown

Verashape Bringing VSHAPER 3D Printers to Hannover Messe

As part of its initiative to expand into foreign markets, Poland-based Verashape will be attending its first foreign fair when it goes to Hannover Messe later this month; Poland is the partner country for this year’s large industrial fair. The US was the partner country last year, and then-President Obama checked out some 3D printing technology. Verashape will showcase its VSHAPER 3D printers, which have been used in multiple industries, including aerospace, automotive, and foundry.

“We will present all our printer models as well as the SOFTSHAPER software at our 44 meter stand,” said Tomasz Szymański, founder and CEO of Verashape. “We have also prepared some new solutions that are going to have their premiere in Hannover. We believe that our VSHAPER ONE Pro Printer, heating up to 450ºC, will attract a lot of attention, as it has been very popular among customers from around the world.”

The theme for this year’s Hannover Messe fair is Integrated Industry – Creating Value, and the exhibition halls will be divided into different zones, including Industrial Automation, Energy, Industrial Supply, and Research and Technology. You can find all of Verashape’s VSHAPER 3D printers at stand C76 in the Digital Factory zone, located in exhibition hall number 17.

Brain Surgeons in Shanghai Practicing with 3D Printed Models

At a recent seminar in Shanghai, China, experts explained that 3D printing technology has been used to prepare for brain surgeries at a few of the top local hospitals. When given a 3D printed brain model to study with beforehand, surgeons are able to work out a solid surgical plan, and get a more accurate view of the location in the brain that will be operated on. In addition, studying with 3D printing technology can shorten a young doctor’s overall training from 20 years to only several months.

Dr. Liu Weidong, President of Punan Hospital, explained, “Thanks to the 3D printing technology, we can do frequent practices on the patients’ model, while their real condition was only known during surgery previously. The model allows us to do precise diagnosis and do thorough research to work out a plan, which can remove the sick position like tumor and abnormal vessels while protecting the surrounding nerves and vessels.”

Dr. Weidong said these same hospitals are also working to develop 3D bioprinting technology with domestic scientists.

Arborjet Uses 3D Printing Technology for Tree Injection Tool

Plant health care company Arborjet, located in Massachusetts, introduced its new FSeries TREE I.V. micro-infusion system, and 3D technology was used to help the system perform tree micro-injection applications faster, easier, and more accurately.

Russ Davis, Arborjet President and COO, said, “We collaborated closely with our applicator partners to look at every detail of the treatment experience and make it as efficient, fast and flexible as possible. Our customer input combined with our in-house engineering capability in 3D design and 3D scanning and printing has resulted in a product that we are incredibly proud to put our stamp on.”

Arborjet’s patent-pending aluminum Hex PDS (Parallel Distribution System) is important to the success of the new system: its manifold contains a center reservoir, used to evenly distribute fluid into at least six injection ports off of one hub. Thanks to its ability to inject up to 120 PSI, Arborjet’s new FSeries system allows for greater flexibility and safety, and this increased pressure reduces the amount of time it takes to set up for and apply tree injections. The bottle cap also features a new fill port, so the bottle can be quickly and safely filled without needing to remove the cap assembly.

Joy Complex Launches Kickstarter Campaign for South Bowl Project

Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Burnich of Joy Complex, whose creative 3D printing work we’ve admired before, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a project called The South Bowl: A Carbon Positive Ceramic Bowl. Burnich believes that his project may be the world’s first carbon positive ceramic bowl, or at least, as he concedes, “the first one shaped like Antarctica!” Burnich’s original idea was to make a bowl shaped like the bottom of the world, which is warming up at an alarming rate.

By backing the South Bowl project on Kickstarter, not only can you purchase, and help make, a unique product, you can also help the environment by fighting against climate change.

According to a Joy Complex blog post, “Each South Bowl takes embodied CO2 into account and attempts to neutralize its environmental impact with a voluntary carbon offset (VCO). The South Bowl’s integrated carbon offsets will fund projects in renewable energy, forestry, and energy efficiency – over time reducing the emission of carbon and putting us on the road to a healthier planet. The South Bowl offsets a 1/4 metric ton of carbon dioxide.”

Burnich used 3D printing technology to make a prototype, digitally designing the bowl with CAD 3D modeling software; the final proof of concept for the South Bowl was 3D printed in SLS nylon. The large, final product will be traditionally manufactured, not 3D printed, out of ceramic, but one of the available Kickstarter rewards is a small 3D printed version of the South Bowl. Watch the Kickstarter campaign video to learn more:

TRUMPF Expanding Group Management

Family-owned laser specialist and machine tool manufacturer TRUMPF will be making some changes to its board. Effective July 1, 2017, the company will expand its Group Management, and Christian Schmitz and Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, both active in the company for many years, will join TRUMPF’s managing board. Schmitz will head up the Laser Technology/Electronics division, while Prokop will take over the Machine Tools Division. Peter Leibinger and Mathias Kammüller, who previously retained responsibility for these divisions, will move into positions that will allow them to assume responsibility for TRUMPF’s growth areas.

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, current Chairwoman of the Managing Board, will also take on the role of Labor Director, after the current director leaves the company. Leibinger-Kammüller believes that the expansion of the board will allow the company to “continue playing a key role in the digital transformation of mechanical engineering.”

“Our primary focus so far has been on products and services,” said Leibinger-Kammüller. “With the new organizational structure we are taking things a step further and reinforcing our digital interaction with our customers. That is the key message to the market.”

Proto Labs Reaches Settlement Agreement with ICO Products

Digital manufacturing company Proto Labs, Inc. has been involved in an ongoing patent infringement dispute with Ohio-based plastic injection molding manufacturer ICO Products. Today, Proto Labs announced that the two companies have reached a settlement agreement to the dispute, which is related to Proto Labs’ proprietary quoting technology. Proto Labs has been anchored by this automated quoting software since the company was founded in Minnesota in 1999. The software, which analyzes 3D CAD models, determines real-time pricing and provides interactive design feedback to its clients in less than a day.

ICO Products, as a result of the settlement agreement, will enter into a license agreement with Proto Labs, which will give ICO Products rights to continue using some of the aspects of Proto Labs’ technology in its own quoting system. In exchange, Proto Labs received monetary compensation, as well as an equity stake in ICO Products, with an option to take a larger stake in the company in the future. Discuss in the News Briefs forum at 3DPB.com.


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