3D Printing News Briefs: October 20, 2017


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We have a lot of news to share with you in this week’s second edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, ranging from 3D printers and spinal implants to new filaments and facilities. Ultimaker is sharing the files for its most recent 3D printers, while NuVasive launches its 3D printed titanium spinal implants. LPW will be showcasing its new range of clean metal powders at formnext next month, and Philament is introducing a new glass fiber reinforced filament. Y Soft is expanding its facilities, a new AM company opens its first office, and cosmetics company Lush plans to use 3D printing technology at its new facility.

Ultimaker Sharing Files for Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended

A year after the Ultimaker 3 series was released, the company is sharing the files on its GitHub repository for both the Ultimaker 3 and the Ultimaker 3 Extended, just as it did for several of its other printers. Ultimaker makes its research, development, and knowledge accessible to its users, so they can benefit from a deeper understanding of the technology and even modify it, in order to contribute to its development, as company executives have explained that their open source roots remain important to the Ultimaker identity. The mechanical files will be released in a .step format, recognized by many CAD software packages, under the CC-BY-NC license, while the electronics will be shared under the GPL2 license; a complete bill of materials can be found on GitHub.

“The Ultimaker 3 is our most advanced 3D printer to date, and all the research and development we put in there was significantly higher than anything in the past. We wanted the period of time until we release the files to match the development period that went into creating the product,” the Ultimaker team said when asked why the files were released a year after the printers. “For the Ultimaker 2 it was 6 months and for the Ultimaker 3 it was 12 months. This way we felt comfortable about ensuring our investment into the product, and allowing our users to benefit from our research as well after this period of time.”

NuVasive Expands Advanced Materials Science Portfolio with 3D Printed Titanium Implants

Medical device company NuVasive has announced the launch of its Modulus XLIF titanium implants, which are 3D printed to create a fully porous, organic architecture that mimics real bone’s stiffness and porosity for reduced stress shielding. The implants offer enhanced imaging characteristics, as well as a good bone in-growth environment, when compared to traditional Ti interbody implants, and represent continued growth and advancement in the expanding market for titanium interbodies.

“We’ve seen an increase in surgeon preference to use titanium interbody options in spine surgeries, and we were confident we could develop a titanium option that delivers the porous properties surgeons need. Modulus XLIF maximizes the potential of 3D-printed spinal implants through the application of unique and advanced software optimization processes,” said Matt Link, Executive VP of Strategy, Technology and Corporate Development for NuVasive. “This product launch further represents our continued commitment to advancing surgical materials, and delivering best-in-class implants that provide superior osseointegration and biomechanics.”

At next week’s North American Spine Society Annual (NASS) Meeting in Florida, NuVasive will showcase its technologies, including the new Modulus XLIF, at Booth #713.

LPW Showcasing New Metal 3D Printing Powders at formnext

LPW’s new metal powder manufacturing facility near Liverpool, UK

At next month’s formnext 2017 in Frankfurt, LPW Technology will be introducing its new ranges of clean 3D printing metal powders, manufactured at its £20 million ‘factory of the future’ in the UK. The powder manufacturing facility was designed to control contamination, and will operate under intense cleanroom conditions. It has cells segregated for specific material production, and atomizers that can make small to medium volumes of clean powders out of various metals, including nickel, aluminum, cobalt, and titanium.

Dr. Phil Caroll, the Founder and CEO of LPW, said, “At LPW we view AM from the perspective of the powder. At formnext we’ll be showcasing our new production capability, assuring manufacturers operating in safety-critical sectors that our atomisation equipment has been designed to engineer out the risk of contamination in our AM metal powders.”

LPW’s PowderRange series of AM metal powders and its PowderLife AM lifecycle management system will be exhibited in Stand D48, Hall 3.1 at formnext, and company applications engineers and R&D teams will be there to give free 30-minute consultations.

Philament Introducing New Glass Fiber Reinforced Filament

Hungary-based filament producer Philament just launched its new PLA filament product, called Philament Glass Reinforced. The sustainable material is reinforced with – you guessed it – glass fiber, and has properties comparable to many engineering plastics, so it’s the perfect choice for 3D printing durable and semi-durable appliances. Philament Glass Reinforced can also be used to print lightweight parts that can be replacements for metal, due to the fact that it’s a low-warp product.

Philament Glass Reinforced material offers the same ease of printing that normal PLA filaments do, but is more stiff, stronger, and heat resistant. The filament will be likely be popular with designers, due to its glassy surface and nearly invisible layers. There’s no need for a special print head to use Philament Glass Reinforced, which is available in both 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm spools, though the recommended printer settings are a 60°C print bed and a 215°C heated extruder.

Y Soft Expanding with New Manufacturing Facility

To support the company’s current growth and future plans, Y Soft announced that it will be moving its manufacturing production facility from its Brno, Czech Republic headquarters to a larger building in the nearby Brno Technology Park, which will have an increased manufacturing capacity and high-quality production infrastructure. The new facility is three times larger than the current production area, with a production line 7 to 10 times faster, which will help Y Soft support the manufacture of IoT-related products from its Y Soft Venture portfolio companies – every manufacturing machine will be connected to a central database for production recording and analysis. Its close proximity to headquarters will allow R&D and design teams to easily collaborate with manufacturing personnel; the ordering and logistics teams will also move to the new facility. Y Soft plans to be completely operational in the new facility by the end of the month, with an official opening event planned for early November.

“As a strategic differentiator, Y Soft has always manufactured our own hardware to ensure quality and compatibility with our software solutions,” said Vaclav Muchna, Y Soft CEO and Co-Founder. “With this long-term strategy commitment, increased demand and to future proof our ability to innovate on hardware solutions, we needed to secure additional capacity and capabilities.”

Addition Design Opens First Office in Advanced Manufacturing Hub

Tom Fripp (R) with Dave Patterson and Barbara Thatcher of CMS [Image: Aspire Creative]

Professional industrial design and research company Addition Design, a joint venture with Chester Medical Solutions (CMS) pharmaceutical and medical solutions company, has just opened its first office space at the AMP Technology Centre in South Yorkshire. Tom Fripp, the former director of Fripp Design, is heading up Addition Design as design director, offering his knowledge of the advanced manufacturing sector to help the company offer an end-to-end service, all the way from design to project completion. The company, which just opened its doors in February, offers clients both design research and additive manufacturing research, and is also working on developing its own 3D printing technologies.

“As a high value engineering firm, it’s incredibly important for us to be based at the AMP Technology Centre. Being located alongside the likes of McLaren and Boeing is a huge draw to our customers, and to be within walking distance of these globally successful companies supports our vision for the future,” said Fripp. “The smaller businesses here are also an attraction, as collaboration will be key to the company’s growth. We have built up such a strong network in Sheffield and the ten-minute drive to and from the city centre means that we have fantastic access to the engineering talent pool coming from the two universities.”

Lush Will Use 3D Printing Technology at New Facility

Lush’s Mark Constantine at Jobshop UK’s directors’ lunch

Mark Constantine, the managing director and co-founder of global UK-based cosmetics company Lush, announced at the recent Jobshop UK directors’ lunch that the company is investing £13 million in Poole, Dorset, where Lush is headquartered. £4.6 million was spent to purchase an industrial unit, which will be called 1 Lush or Unit 1, and another £8.4 million has been earmarked for setting the unit up as a “test bed for innovation.”

According to Constantine, the staff will be able to experiment and try out new ideas at the unit, which could potentially be in production within months, and work on full-scale replicas of flagship stores. By installing and using 3D printing technology, Lush will be able to produce molds and products at the unit. The company says this investment shows that Lush is still committed to remaining in the UK, as this was called into question due to its production expansion into Germany and Constantine’s “strong views on Brexit.”

Discuss these stories, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 


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