It’s 3D printing business as usual here on this week’s second edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, with news of agreements, expansions, medical innovations, and 3D printing materials. The European Investment Bank has signed a finance agreement with Materialise, and Titomic enters a collaborative 3D printing agreement, while both 3DZ and Arcam EBM expand into new facilities. Open Bionics reaches the second stage of its clinical trial for 3D printed bionic children’s arms, and K2M has received a CE mark for its 3D printed expandable spinal cage system. Finally, Siam Cement Group has been busy developing and testing its concrete 3D printing for the construction industry.
Finance Agreement Between European Investment Bank and Materialise
This week, Belgium-based Materialise entered into a finance contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB). According to the signed contract, EIB, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), will support Materialise’s continued research and development growth programs, which are sure to include 3D printing R&D, from now until 2020. The contract, which contains customary securities, covenants, and undertakings, will provide a credit, drawable in two tranches, of up to €35 million. The first tranche can be drawn during the contract’s first year, but cannot exceed €25 million, while the second can be drawn during the second year, though it is subject to a specified debt ratio being met. Loans under the contract are to be made at a fixed rate, plus a variable margin initially equal to 1.86%, and the duration is between six to eight years, beginning at the disbursement of the tranches.
“One of the primary objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe is to support innovation and, on that front, it doesn’t get much more innovative than companies like Materialise,” said EIB Vice President Pim Van Ballekom once the contract had been signed. “The Bank has been expanding its support for cutting-edge technology thanks to the EU budget guarantee and we can only be proud to support European Innovation with this type of funding.”
Titomic Enters Collaborative Agreement with Callidus Welding Solutions
Australia-based metal 3D printing company Titomic announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Australian mining and oil & gas engineering services company Callidus Welding Solutions. The strategic alliance established by this agreement will incorporate Titomic’s innovative Kinetic Fusion technology into Callidus’ workflow, so it can gain a competitive edge in the market with the rapid 3D printing of its product development range. The collaboration is set to begin in February of 2018, and the first project will be 3D printing prototype parts at Titomic’s new Melbourne manufacturing facility, which meets the target performance requirements for the O&G and mining industries.
“We are very pleased to announce this collaborative agreement with Callidus, a highly successful engineering services company who share similar innovation values to Titomic,” said Jeff Lang, CEO and CTO of Titomic. “This project will enable Titomic to illustrate how rapid additive manufacturing via the Titomic Kinetic Fusion process can put companies ahead of their peers and provide significant efficiencies.”
The end goal of the agreement is for Callidus, once the work is successfully completed, to acquire a Titomic 3D printer.
3DZ Opens New Spanish Division as Part of Planned Expansion
3DZ, one of the top EMEA distributors of industrial-grade 3D printers from the likes of 3D Systems, Formlabs, and Markforged, is working to establish one of the world’s largest 3D printer distribution networks. With this in mind, the company recently opened its Spanish division, complete with four new offices in Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, and Linares, as it prepares for further European expansion. The new division is a result of the company’s commercial partnership with Grupo Sicnova for marketing their combined brand portfolio in Spain – Grupo Sicnova brings large-format FFF 3D printers and brands like Sicnova 3D, HP, and Ultimaker to the mix. 3DZ has six offices in the Italian market, and its recently opened Dubai office alone has already surpassed $1 million in revenue, so the new Spanish division is just the latest in the company’s expansion strategy, which is also eyeing France and Germany as additional territories.
“Companies from many parts of the EMEA region have come to trust us because we offer our partners a consolidated commercial presence with a strong brand and unified marketing platform,” 3DZ Commercial Director Sandro Festa said.
“Some of the most important system OEMs are pushing us to further expand our commercial network because they know we have a solid financial foundation, dedicated marketing, more than 10 years of experience in 3D (both hardware and software) and a 24 hour DHL consumable delivery capabilities within 24 hours all over Europe.”
Arcam EBM Moving Into New Facility
As a part of Arcam AB‘s growth strategy, the company, which is a member of the GE Additive family, has signed a lease agreement with Swedish real estate company Castellum for a new facility for Arcam EBM. The EBM business, which provides Electron Beam Melting systems, will move into a refurbished 11,800-square-meter facility in Härryda, just outside Göteborg, that’s nearly three times the size of its current site; this announcement comes about a year after Arcam’s Advanced Powders & Coatings (AP&C) subsidiary broke ground on its own new metal powder manufacturing plant.
Arcam EBM’s new facility will give the company the chance to continue expanding, as it will offer a major increase in machine production capacity, as well as allow for more collaboration within the company by uniting services and operations, research and development, and logistics. Arcam EBM will be able to move into its new facility in the first quarter of 2019.
Open Bionics Reaches 2nd Stage of Clinical Trial
The National Health Service (NHS) and Bristol startup Open Bionics, which creates Disney-based, multi-grip 3D printed devices and prosthetics for child amputees, are working together to provide 3D printed bionic hands for kids. A first-of-its-kind clinical trial of the bionic hands began this summer with seven children, and as the trial is granted a second stage, NHS and Open Bionics are one step closer to their goal of using 3D printing technology to produce much less expensive robotic arms. Open Bionics recently passed an NHS judging panel and was awarded a product development contract, which kicked off the second trial involving 15 children from NHS clinics in the UK.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the NHS to create affordable and highly functional prosthetics that children can get really excited about,” said Samantha Payne, COO and Co-Founder of Open Bionics. “The bionic arms come with removable covers so users can choose to be an Avenger one day and Queen Elsa the next. These devices can be life-changing.”
K2M Receives CE Mark for CAPRI Cervical 3D Expandable Corpectomy Cage System
Complex spine and minimally invasive solutions provider K2M Group Holdings has received a CE Mark for its CAPRI Cervical 3D Expandable Corpectomy Cage System, which features Lamellar 3D Titanium Technology. This announcement comes after the completion of its first successful surgical case with the CAPRI Cervical 3D Expandable, the first 3D printed expandable device with cervical spine indications on the market that facilitates continuous in situ height expansion and endplate angulation in the cervical spine. The system, which stabilizes a patient’s cervical spine in the case of vertebral body resections that result from tumor or trauma, will enhance K2M’s leading 3D printed spine product portfolios.
“We are pleased to receive a CE Mark for our CAPRI Cervical 3D Expandable Cage System, which reinforces our commitment to excellence in 3D-printed spinal innovation and the further integration of expandable technologies across our comprehensive complex spine, minimally invasive, and degenerative product portfolios,” said Eric Major, the President, CEO, and Chairman of K2M Group Holdings. “We look forward to further strengthening our market-leading portfolio of 3D-printed spinal devices that, when supported by our comprehensive Balance ACS platform, help surgeons facilitate three-dimensional spinal balance in their patients.”
Siam Cement Group Introduces New Evolution in Concrete 3D Printing
Last spring, Thailand-based Siam Cement Group (SCG) introduced its 3D printable cement, mixed with a special combination of powder materials and fibers. With a focus on the construction industry and 3D printed houses, the company has been working on its 3D printing cement mortar formula for nearly four years, and has already showcased several of its prototype designs, including “Helix – The Family Cocoon” and the six structural 3D printed beams that make up its “Y-Box Pavilion 21st-century Cave.” Now, the company is introducing a type of 3D concrete printing that it calls “a new evolution.”
Its Triple “S” technology consists of the design concepts of Surface, Structure, and Shelter, which work right alongside 3D printing technology platforms. SCG’s Triple “S” represents a human surface transformation – during design, the outer surface layer and inner truss of 3D printed objects are typically included, so they can be designed to structurally withstand the load. Triple “S” is designed to make sure the outer surface layer has the same structural performance as the inner truss, and Triple “S” texture patterns are, as SCG puts it, “derived from moving paths on load-bearing concrete structures.”
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