3D Printing News Briefs: January 5, 2018


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Welcome to 2018, and the new year’s first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs – the 3D printing industry doesn’t stop for anything, not even midnight celebrations. We’ll kick things off with a little business, followed by news about 3D printing workshops and some partnerships for interesting 3D printed products. Europac 3D is expanding to larger offices, while Local Motors has received over $1 billion in financing for its autonomous Olli shuttle. A big manufacturing conference will be held in Thailand this summer, and fabrication company InnoTech recently held 3D printing workshops in Oman. Luxexcel is partnering with augmented reality company Vusix for 3D printed prescription lenses, and SOLIDWORKS is embarking on a unique collaboration with Formlabs for its upcoming SOLIDWORKS World 2018.

Europac 3D Announces New Offices

(L-R) John Beckett, Mark Beckett, and Laura Jones, MP.

In order to handle increased demand for its 3D printing services, 3D printing, scanning, and inspection business Europac 3D, headquartered in the UK, has moved to larger offices in Cheshire, which were officially opened in December by Crewe and Nantwich constituency MP Laura Smith, of the Labour Party. The company has also expanded its team of specialists with the move to its new 465 sq meter offices in Crewe Business Park, which offers Europac 3D more modern facilities and enough space for showroom demonstrations. The expansion took place after Europac 3D was appointed as a UK Channel Partner for HP, which means the company is responsible for the sales and servicing of all of HP’s 3D printing equipment in the UK.

“We’re thrilled that Laura has taken the time to open our new offices and to support our business as we grow here in Crewe,” said John Beckett, Managing Director of Europac 3D. “These are exciting times for the 3D scanning and printing industry as new products hit the market and demand grows. We’re well placed to capitalise on these opportunities and to continue to support our customers with the latest products and services.”

Local Motors Receives Over $1 Billion for Olli Funding

Ground mobility company Local Motors, which uses MakerBot 3D printers to make parts for its autonomous Olli shuttle, recently secured over $1 billion in financing for its Olli customers, having teamed up with two leading professionals in the industry – sustainable transportation leasing company Xcelerate and Elite Transportation Services, a subsidiary of Elite Parking Services. This gained Local Motors both third party operational support, as well as vehicle financing for the Olli.

Customers who maintain relationships with transit companies will be able to finance just the Olli for up to 84 months with Xcelerate, while continuing to work with existing operations and monitoring partners. ETS, in addition to offering up to $1 billion in financing for customers who use its services, will provide an all-inclusive Olli operational solution, which will include management, insurance, monitoring, operations, routine maintenance, and warranty service, among others. Xcelerate has also agreed to provide up to $20 million in vehicle financing for the Olli. You can visit the Local Motors site if you’re interested in financing an Olli and request a call.

Manufacturing Technology Asia Conference to be Held in Thailand

There has been steady investment in Thailand’s manufacturing sector, making it the second largest economy in southeast Asia. Due to this fact, the premier industry series MTA2018 – Manufacturing Technology Asia – will be launched in Thailand this May. MTA2018, which will bring together over 1,700 exhibitors from 45 regions and countries in an effort to boost the manufacturing sector, will be held alongside INTERMACH and SUBCON THAILAND 2018, and focus on the latest manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, metalworking, and smart manufacturing. Additional highlights of MTA2018 will include forums and seminars, and the conference will run from 10 AM to 7 PM each day, May 16-19.

“Over the years, Thailand has rapidly risen among the ranks in the region to become a manufacturing powerhouse and Southeast Asia’s second largest economy. A key contributing factor to this is the move of the sector towards high-end manufacturing, which has attracted international and regional investment,” said Mr. William Lim, Project Director (Engineering Events) at UBM SES, organiser of MTA2018. “To ensure the sector’s continued growth, local companies need to continually invest and upgrade their capabilities to boost productivity, move up the value chain, and be better equipped to compete in the global arena. MTA2018, together with INTERMACH and SUBCON THAILAND, is the platform that will connect the manufacturing sector to international expertise and best practices that will help spur further growth.”

InnoTech Holds 3D Printing Workshops

Oman-based fabrication company InnoTech recently held 3D printing workshops that were aimed toward engineers and businessmen in the country’s capital city of Muscat. Over 100 people attended the two-day workshops, which were sponsored by BP Oman as part of a social investment program and held at the Nizwa Cultural Centre and the Ibri College of Technology. Participants spent four days learning and receiving practical training in topics like 3D design, CAD software, 3D printing, and digital fabrication. On the last day, teams assembled parts of a 3D printer and then built their final projects together.

“Nowadays, this technology can be seen in every major industry worldwide from automotive, aerospace, defence and consumer products to medical supplies. Additive Manufacturing is important in the rapid prototyping and manufacturing industry for many reasons, mainly for its ability to create simple product designs and significantly reduce weight of parts,” said Othman Al Mandhari, the co-founder and CEO of InnoTech, in a report by the Times of Oman. “This technology is further supporting innovation and creativity through allowing users to try different iterations without bearing additional cost, unlike conventional manufacturing. Supporting our ambition to instill a culture of additive manufacturing, 3D printers will be permanently installed in the Nizwa Cultural Center and Ibri College of Technology. Students and staff will be able to use them for free at any time.”

Luxexcel and Vuzix Partner for 3D Printed Prescription Lenses

This week, 3D printed ophthalmic lenses provider Luxexcel announced that it is working with augmented reality (AR) leader Vuzix Corp to provide 3D printed prescription lenses for the Vuzix Blade AR headset, available for both the consumer and enterprise industries. Luxexcel’s 3D printing VisionPlatform solution allows for the 3D printing of mass-customized lenses for more traditional ophthalmic segments, as well as emerging markets like AR, and its new work in the AR/VR segment with Vuzix shows the potential the company’s 3D printing technology has in terms of smart eyewear.

“60% of the US population needs eye correction. Without custom prescription inserts, those people will not be able to fully enjoy the most advanced new augmented reality products,” said Hans Streng, CEO of Luxexcel. “Luxexcel is thrilled to partner with Vuzix as the early adopter of 3D printed ophthalmic lens inserts. We see great synergy between the amazing innovations of Vuzix and the technology of Luxexcel.”

The company’s 3D printed prescription inserts will be introduced, together with the Vuzix Blade AR headset model, at CES 2018 this week in Las Vegas.

Formlabs Offering Free Custom 3D Prints to SOLIDWORKS World Attendees

We learned this week that Formlabs has just launched an exciting new campaign, in collaboration with SOLIDWORKS, and will be offering free custom 3D prints to all the attendees of SOLIDWORKS World 2018, coming up in Los Angeles this February. This will be the first time that every conference attendee will be given the opportunity to submit and receive custom 3D printed models from Formlabs. To take part in the campaign, attendees should submit their models by January 28, so they can be 3D printed on the Form 2 in one of the company’s Engineering Resins, and picked up at Formlabs booth #806 any day during during SOLIDWORKS World. While picking up your custom 3D printed part, you can also discuss your design goals with the company’s on-site team of specialists.

To request your free Formlabs custom sample, visit the custom sample part submission page and follow the steps, so your model is sure to meet the design specifications and criteria.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.


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