3D Printing News Briefs: March 27, 2018


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We’ve got plenty of business news to share with you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by some interesting research efforts. Sciaky and Sigma Labs are both announcing new agreements, while LPW Technology is working with Global Advanced Metals regarding 3D printed tantalum and Matsuura Machinery has become an authorized MJF reseller for HP. FIT America appointed a new Vice President, and Create O&P has a new CEO. ETH Zurich published research on 3D printed robotic soft actuators with programmable architectures, and a consortium is testing 3D printing technology for use in zero gravity conditions.

Sciaky Enters Sales Agreement for Brazil with Farcco Tecnologia

Metal 3D printing solutions leader Sciaky, Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI), announced that it has reached an agreement with Farcco Tecnologia, a quickly growing metal 3D printing solutions sales agent, to ramp up sales efforts of its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) solutions in Brazil. In terms of work envelope, Sciaky’s EBAM systems are the industry’s most widely scalable metal additive manufacturing solutions, able to 3D print parts ranging from 8 inches to 19 feet in length, and delivering consistent part geometry thanks to its Interlayer Realtime Imaging and Sensing System (IRISS) real-time adaptive control system. Both Sciaky and Farcco, which offers support throughout the entire sales cycle, believe there is a lot of opportunity for EBAM in the country’s aerospace industry.

Fabio Sant‘Ana, CEO of Farcco Tecnologia, said, “Brazil’s thriving aerospace, oil & gas, and mining industries are natural fits for Sciaky’s EBAM metal 3D printing solutions and renowned EB welding offerings. It’s an honor to introduce these innovative technologies to the visionaries at Brazil’s leading manufacturing companies.”

Sigma Labs and NIST Sign Cooperative Agreement

Software company Sigma Labs has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in order to study the effects of recycled powder and part placement on process variability and part quality with Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D quality assurance software. The study is the first of its kind to characterize the use of recycled powder in the laser powder bed fusion process using post-process mechanical property characterization and in-situ monitoring technology.

Mark Cola, President and CTO at Sigma Labs, said, “Using our PrintRite3D technology will enhance NIST’s interlaboratory round-robin studies to provide much needed and currently unavailable scientific in-situ data on the impacts that different build layouts or recycled powder have on the LPBF AM process and its variability. With this knowledge, we can help to improve the efficiency and reliability of the process so that the AM community can take full advantage of its desirable material and cost savings.”

LPW Technology and Global Advanced Metals Cooperate on 3D Printed Tantalum Efforts

High Flow, High Purity Tantalum Powder [Image: Business Wire]

3D printing metal powder manufacturer LPW Technology and Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd (GAM), a top producer of tantalum and niobium products, are announcing a cooperative agreement regarding 3D printing tantalum. The material provides higher biocompatibility, excellent osteointegration, and lower stress shielding, with respect to metals and alloys currently used for medical implants. The agreement between the two companies will demonstrate how suitable spheroidized tantalum is for metal 3D printing. By successfully demonstrating laser 3D printing of tantalum, GAM will give its customers in multiple markets an additional powder option.

“Leveraging LPW’s laser powder bed fusion expertise, developed by viewing AM from the perspective of the powder, represents one step of our strategy to extend our offering in tantalum and other refractory metals to the additive manufacturing marketplace,” said Andrew O’Donovan, CEO of GAM. “We can now measure and share physicochemical data for both our spherical tantalum and the resulting 3D printed part and bring this solution to our partners, for example practitioners, designers and manufacturers of tantalum based surgical implants and other high reliability and critical devices.”

Matsuura is Newest HP Multi Jet Fusion Reseller

Japanese heavy industrial technology manufacturer Matsuura Machinery has announced that it is now an authorized reseller of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D Printing solutions, marking a great addition to the company’s expanding AM division. HP’s MJF technology is reliable and fast, providing consistent part quality for prototyping, short-run, and full production manufacturing needs; adoption has been increasing around the globe since MJF hit the market in 2016. Matsuura fully supports its AM products and customers for the long run through its specialized AM Applications Engineers and Service Technicians, and at next month’s MACH 2018 exhibition, the company will be featuring some sample 3D printed parts from the HP Jet Fusion 3D printer at its stand H6-762 in the 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing Zone.

“The partnership with HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions perfectly complements our existing additive range, giving customers even greater choice to be part of this new era in manufacturing,” said Roger Howkins, Managing Director at Matsuura Machinery. “Our experience and knowledge in the additive manufacturing sector spans many years, so customers looking to explore this market can expect to receive high levels of support from our additive team. The HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solution enables 3D printing to become a viable alternative to traditional production methods.”

FIT America Appoints New Vice President

Team FIT America, L-R: Enrico Huebner, Debbie Closen, and Bruce Colter.

FIT America, a subsidiary of German FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, has appointed AM leader Bruce Colter as its new Vice President. Colter has plenty of senior leadership in growing and rebuilding companies around the world in process control, computer software and hardware, and 3D printing. As FIT America is focused on providing high-quality Additive Design & Manufacturing (ADM) parts to US clients in aerospace and defense, automotive, consumer packaged goods, energy/oil and gas, and medical and dental, Colter will work to strengthen its strategic network of client solutions in these markets. In addition, he will also be leading efforts to build a FIT AM facility in the US.

“I’m especially happy to team up with FIT. I have seen most of the AM operations in the USA and FIT has the best solution(s) that I’ve seen in the market. We are so much more than just a contract manufacturer. FIT has proven to be a reliable partner for successful industrial AM,” Colter said.

“As regional and global markets are becoming increasingly competitive, we are sharing our expertise to provide an economic value-proposition for our manufacturing customers in the use of AM technology. FIT is the right partner to help US companies gain a competitive advantage while they increase revenues and save money using FIT solutions.”

New CEO Announced for Create O&P

Cissi Schaffer

Today, Create Orthotics & Prosthetics (Create O&P) announced that it’s appointed Cecilia ‘Cissi’ Schaffer, an accomplished business executive, as its new CEO and Chair of the Board of Managers. The company originally got its start with custom-designed, 3D printed leg covers, but has greatly expanded its offerings over the last two years. As Schaffer gets to work leading Create O&P through its next growth phase, CPO, Founder, and former CEO Jeff Erenstone will be taking on the role of CTO. Schaffer is new to orthotics and prosthetics, but does have plenty of experience in executive-level positions, most recently serving as Vice President of Operations for a commodity trading and logistics company.

“I’m excited to join such a dynamic and experienced team. I feel that my background is a good fit with what Create wants to accomplish. I believe in the vision of the company, its products, and the technology that we offer,” said Schaffer. “Strong client satisfaction has always been an important value for me, and so I appreciate Create’s emphasis on customer service. I look forward to being part of the Create team and to lead the company for many years to come.”

ETH Zurich Publishes Research on 3D Printing Robotic Soft Actuators

Muscular hydrostat and 3D printed bioinspired soft actuators.

Recently, ETH Zurich published a paper, titled “3D printing of robotic soft actuators with programmable bioinspired architectures,” in the journal Nature Communications. The paper covers the research team’s multimaterial silicone 3D printing process – the researchers developed a novel production method for seamlessly 3D printing silicone to fabricate pneumatic soft actuators capable of multiple actuation modes. They also modeled the design criteria, in order to create a digital design route for these modes. Co-authors include Manuel Schaffner, Jakob A. Faber, Lucas Pianegonda, Patrick A. Rühs, Fergal Coulter, and André R. Studart.

The abstract reads, “Soft actuation allows robots to interact safely with humans, other machines, and their surroundings. Full exploitation of the potential of soft actuators has, however, been hindered by the lack of simple manufacturing routes to generate multimaterial parts with intricate shapes and architectures. Here, we report a 3D printing platform for the seamless digital fabrication of pneumatic silicone actuators exhibiting programmable bioinspired architectures and motions. The actuators comprise an elastomeric body whose surface is decorated with reinforcing stripes at a well-defined lead angle. Similar to the fibrous architectures found in muscular hydrostats, the lead angle can be altered to achieve elongation, contraction, or twisting motions. Using a quantitative model based on lamination theory, we establish design principles for the digital fabrication of silicone-based soft actuators whose functional response is programmed within the material’s properties and architecture. Exploring such programmability enables 3D printing of a broad range of soft morphing structures.”

Consortium 3D Printing in Zero Gravity

BAM, CUT, and the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems are testing 3D printing in zero gravity. For the first time, the researchers are experimenting with metallic powders. [Image: BAM]

A German consortium, made up of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), the Clausthal University of Technology (CUT), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig, wants to 3D print tools in zero gravity conditions, and has developed a new method for doing so. During DLR’s parabolic flight campaign earlier this month, BAM tested out its patented 3D printing process, and for the first time used metallic powders to 3D print in zero gravity. A continuous gas flow was used to accomplish this feat: it’s sucked through the powder layers and draws in the particles to stabilize the powder bed without gravity.

Professor Jens Günster, Project Manager and head of BAM’s Ceramic Processing and Biomaterials Division, said, “We were able to successfully test our process and produce the first small ceramic components under zero gravity conditions during our first flight of the 30th DLR parabolic flight campaign in August 2017. Now we want to go one step further and show the potential of our process for additive manufacturing of metallic components during space missions.”

You can find more information about the consortium’s project, and its parabolic flight experiments, here.

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



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