We’ve got a lot of business to cover in 3D Printing News Briefs today, starting with some big news from Dassault Systèmes – it has been recognized as the world’s most sustainable company. 3D LifePrints completed a Series A investment round for medical 3D printing, Aurora Labs appointed two new board members, and Renaissance Services received an important contract from the Air Force. Thor3D announced a new exclusive distribution partnership and Digital Metal is expanding its operations. Finally, 3D Distributed has released a new 3D printer, dubbed the Workhorse, and two companies are working together to launch a 3D design challenge.
Dassault Systèmes Named World’s Most Sustainable Company
For seven consecutive years, Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, has been included in the Top 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World (Global 100) index by Corporate Knights, which is recognized globally as the gold standard for corporate sustainability analysis. The ranking relies on computation of many performance indicators, such as environmental, financial, innovation, and social capacity, and, as of this year, the sustainability value of a company’s products. Corporate Knights just released its latest Global 100 index, and Dassault Systèmes was ranked in first place. This honor was bestowed on the company in recognition of its holistic sustainability strategy, such as reducing its environmental footprint and developing the workforce of the future.
“Dassault Systèmes is honored to be recognized as No. 1 by Corporate Knights for our vision of harmonizing product, nature and life and for implementing this vision in everything that we do. In the virtual world, we can simulate and evaluate impacts before producing the product itself. What is more, virtual worlds help people imagine differently; they extend and improve the real world,” said Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO for Dassault Systèmes. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables innovators to play a major role in inventing sustainability models. We help them create things in ways that have never been used before, just as we help the workforce of the future learn in ways that have never been applied before. The record-breaking Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft, the winning teams of the Hyperloop Pod Competition, optimized services that benefit city stakeholders, the additive manufacturing of aerospace parts that reduces their weight by 80 percent—we could proudly pick examples from any of our 12 industries of activity.”
3D LifePrints Closes Series A Investment Round
One of the top medical 3D printing companies in the UK, 3D LifePrints, has just completed a round of Series A funding with an investment of £500,000 from Fenwall Investments. The company, which provides key NHS hospitals and academic institutions with medical 3D printing and service capabilities, plans to rapidly expand its foothold within the UK’s medical sector, as well as overseas, for providing 3D technology-based services and products. 3D LifePrints will use this investment to recruit new biomedical engineers and 3D technologists, expand its portfolio of embedded medical 3D printing hubs, and invest in research and development efforts.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the completion of this funding round with investment from Fenwall, and will continue to develop our unique business model of providing embedded 3D medical printing services in order to drive down operational costs, provide innovative 3D technology based products and services, and ultimately improve patient care,” said Paul Fotheringham, Founder and Chief Technology Officer for 3D LifePrints.
New Board Members at Aurora Labs
Industrial technology and innovation company Aurora Labs, which develops 3D metal printers, powders, and digital parts, has announced the appointment of two new board members, effective immediately. Technology venture veteran Paul Kristensen, the Chairman and owner of Capital Technologies Pty Ltd, was appointed as Non-Executive Chairman of the Aurora Labs’ board of directors; he is replacing David Budge in this role, who stepped down as Interim Chairman to focus on his role as the company’s Managing Director.
Finance specialist Mel Ashton, who has over 37 years of experience as a Chartered Accountant, was appointed to the role of Non-Executive Director. Both Kristensen and Ashton will bring their in-depth technology industry experience to their new roles, as well as their records of building profitable firms in public markets.
“On behalf of the Board, I’d like to welcome Paul and Mel to Aurora Labs and to their new roles,” said Budge. “It is fortunate that our leadership in advanced technology 3D printing systems attracts people of Paul and Mel’s high-calibre background.”
US Air Force Awards Contract to Renaissance Services
Fairborn, Ohio-based Renaissance Services has received a $2.9 million contract from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, located at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), to support the production of housings and gearboxes for out-of-production aircraft and engines. The company was chosen for its capability in 3D printing ceramic tooling for sophisticated aerospace castings, as the contract combines 3D printing and structural casting to reduce the cost and time to manufacture critical components for Air Force legacy systems. As a member of the RECHARGE program (Rapid Engineered Castings: Housing for Aircraft & Reliable Gearboxes for Engines), Renaissance works with foundries across the country, which fulfills an important program objective – maintaining a production-ready network of foundries that can respond quickly to the needs of the Air Force.
“The Air Force has a long list of critical parts for aircraft and engines that have not been produced for years. It’s not uncommon for production sources to be unknown, tooling to be nonexistent, and essential technical data to be very limited. Many of these parts start as castings. These parts can cost upwards of $50,000 each and have lead times of more than a year,” Robert Morris, the Co-Founder of Renaissance Services and the RECHARGE Program Manager, said about the need for the program. “By applying our 3D printing capability to produce ceramic molds, we can then work with the foundry to produce a casting to significantly reduce the lead time and address the need.”
The company’s PERFECT-3D Division manufactures the 3D printed ceramic mold components.
Thor3D Announces Exclusive Distribution Partnership
3D scanner provider Thor3D recently finalized its negotiations with China-based ControlNice Technology Co, Ltd, a large 3D technology reseller and manufacturer, and the two are officially announcing an exclusive distribution partnership. ControlNice, which has over 30 sub-resellers in nearly every province of China, is now the master distribution partner for all of Thor3D’s products in the country, including the Drake – the first wireless, handheld 3D scanner. The companies have agreed to, and are now implementing, an ambitious expansion plan for this year, and will kick things off at the upcoming TCT Asia exhibition in Shanghai, showcasing Thor3D’s technology at ControlNice booth #N1-K68.
“Since China is one of the largest markets in the world, it is difficult to find an exclusive partner that will be able to handle such a workload. In ControlNice Technologies, we’ve found what we’ve been looking for and are excited to have a partner with such experience, local know-how, and breadth,” said Anna Zevelyov, Thor3D’s Co-Founder and Director of Sales. “In fact, with time, we hope to use ControlNice’s local manufacturing facilities to establish an independent repair and maintenance hub for our Asian customers.”
Digital Metal Plans Operations Expansion
Sweden-based Digital Metal, part of the Höganäs Group and the first high-precision 3D metal printer provider, made its binder jetting DM P2500 3D printer commercially available a year ago. Thanks to increased demand, the company has had to hire more employees and invest in new materials R&D, and is now focusing on expansion. Digital Metal will be expanding its operations, and increasing its Höganäs plant production area by 50%, in order to support serial production of the DM P2500 and new components. This will include installing a new vacuum extraction system, along with increased compression and cooling power, so the company can double its sintering capacity. In addition, there will also be an isolated space for 3D printing with materials that need special handling, and a separate quality control room.
“Thanks to the great interest, we are now starting serial production of our machines. The first batch will consist of six new printers containing the latest automation electronics,” said Digital Metal’s General Manager, Ralf Carlström. “In addition, we have reduced the overall dimensions of the machine, making it more easily positioned at customer sites. While our existing machinery will be upgraded to the latest technology at the same time.”
“For us, this expansion is just a beginning. We are no longer thinking linearly. Instead, we are primed for exponential growth.”
3D Distributed Releases New 3D Printer
3D Distributed is a full-service manufacturing and technology company that also manufactures 3D printers, extrusion systems, and 3D printer components, and offers a wide range of products, as well as CNC services. The company is always working to develop new 3D printer models that can meet the world’s demands, and this week announced the official release of its latest product – the Workhorse 3D printer, which is now available for purchase on the company’s website platform. The Workhorse 3D printer is a good solution for applications that need more weight applied to the carriage or gantry, such as for businesses that use chocolate, clay, or plastic pellet extrusion.
“The Workhorse Printer is an open-source 3D unique printer that uses lead screw driven motion to enable a range of applications. Since most 3D printers use belt-driven motion between the x and y-axis to increase speed, they subsequently lose quality when more weight is applied. Our Workhorse solution has a high helix pitch with multiple threads to enable increased speeds that also safeguard quality,” said Shane Hooper, Founder and Owner of 3D Distributed.
“Our compact solution for lead screw driven motion will complement a variety of operations that were sacrificing quality in the past. We are pleased to announce our first production introduction of 2018.”
Worldwide Product Design Challenge Launched
Product design platform Launch Forth and Allianz, one of the world’s leading insurers, are working together to launch a global design challenge that envisions the future of mobility and accessibility in sports through 3D printed adaptive mobility devices, like wheelchairs, that could level the playing field. The Allianz Adaptive Sports category was just introduced on Launch Forth’s website, and tasks the community to develop creative ideas and devices for people with mobility impairments that can be adapted for anyone, regardless of age or ability.
Elle Shelley, Executive Vice President of Launch Forth, said, “We’re calling for all innovators around the globe with knowledge and expertise in 3D printing, industrial and project designers and manufacturing engineers, to help us move the meter to create truly life-changing products. Whether it be a self-balancing bike for downhill racing or a skateboard that has special grips on the deck, we’re really pushing these solvers to think outside the box.”
The new category encompasses two main projects, the first of which is the Super Human Sports challenge, where participants will submit concept art about their vision for extreme sport equipment that is suitable for athletes of varying abilities. Submissions close on January 31, and seven winners will receive a total of $10,000 in prizes. The Mass Mobility project has already begun its brainstorming phase, and the product design challenge phase begins in Q1. This project challenges participants to submit a full product design, which can be prototyped with 3D printing technology, for a customizable active lifestyle device.
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