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3D printing, as anyone watching the industry understands, is a busy business. Few know this quite so thoroughly as industry expert Todd Grimm, President of T. A. Grimm & Associates, who keeps a close watch on additive manufacturing, offering insights on specific facets as well as broad trends. At RAPID + TCT, we often look foward to his insights as the fast-talking analyst shares a look at the happenings shaping the industry at large.

Last week in Texas, the 2018 RAPID + TCT hosted another delightful session in which Grimm highlighted releases and announcements in 3D printing, segmented by ASTM technology and including 3D printing and 3D scanning hardware, supporting equipment, materials, and software. As he noted several times, 40 minutes is not nearly long enough to even quickly run through all that has happened in just half a year — but as always, he was willing to give it a try. These highlights serve as a healthy reminder of all that’s been going on in the 3D printing industry over the last two quarters, as well as a look into what we might expect to come soon from “What’s New: Roundup of the Latest 3D Printing and 3D Scanning Products.”

“We’re using the flame metaphor: we’ve gone from ignition to flashpoint to an absolute explosion of solutions,” Grimm said in opening as he set out to highlight six months of solutions.

Hardware

He began the rundown with releases in hardware; that is, announced products that are on the market now or will be within a matter of weeks to a month. Many of these had been announced previously, and the focus now is on commercialization. All notes presented quickly, for a fast-ish read of a fast rundown of announcements.

These releases, as highlighted, include:

Metals:

 

  • XJet installed first two machines for Carmel systems
  • MELD with new process based on friction stir welding / solid state because it never hits a melt point, they claim about 10x faster
  • SLM Solutions, tried and true player, SLM 800 announced at formnext, built for scalability and integration into automated workflow
  • Renishaw, another tried and true player, staying with medium-sized frame with RenAM 500Q, all about lowering part costs through efficiency in operation
  • SPEE3D, new player going after speed, how does 100x or 1000x faster sound to you? Borrowing from cold spray industry
  • Formalloy, now the X series just introduced, debuting here; DED; adding blue laser technology (blue is absorbed more readily, increases throughput, expands material)
  • Digital Metal, subsidiary of Höganäs , based on binder jetting, going after smaller parts, finer precision, surface finish
  • Prodways, Rapid Additive Forging, I don’t see any forging, based on electric arc, allows them to go after reactive materials, target making titanium parts
  • Xact Metal, last year they introduced here at RAPID, now we have product we can purchase, low price point entry into metal AM space based on powder bed fusion, later this year teasing an industrial with much larger platform

Non-Metals:

  • EOS, introduced P-810 high-temp, designed around making carbon-loaded PEKK material, all the automation components to fit into production material; also P500, reducing part cost and increasing throughput
  • HP, now four machines in new 300/500 series, mid-range system for size; HP’s delivery on the promise of MJF with full color parts, price point very attractive
  • Farsoon, going after large, large plastic powder bed fusion systems FP1000, modular, scalable solution, all about driving up time of the machine
  • Cubicure, something new, not here; born out of TU Vienna; hot lithography, use more viscous resins, open material properties not previously available, faster curing, faster build times
  • UnionTech, came to US market in last two years; latest machine, RSPro 1400, going after large SLA
  • Ultimaker, new S5, pretty good size, what caught my attention is it’s built for the industrial user, integrates hardware/software/material properties
  • Fusion3, reasonable price point, targeting industrial, enclosed chamber
  • Titan Robotics, made this podium; announced turning to industrial motion controls to give faster operation, speed/accuracy, feedback loop
  • Essentium Materials, HSE, picking up speed by faster tracking of deposition head, patented technology that was a bolt on to other equipment, FlashFuse
  • Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, PE1, unique in that it works with company’s tool changing heads, true hybrid operations, previously focused on DED, now in polymer extrusion, this is pellet-fed

3D printed RAPID + TCT podium

From here, Grimm moved to hardware that has been announced and is not yet commercially available.

As highlighted, these releases include:

Announced (not available):

  • 3D Currax, just announced now, want to disrupt injection molding, timed to announce with this presentation
    • To attack injection molding head on, they’re going after speed; Mark 10; very competitive throughput rate; looking to add AI/robotics
  • Evolve Additive Solutions, spinout of Stratasys, STEP
    • Claiming near isotropic properties, surface finish that rivals injection molding, speeds 50x faster than fastest out now
  • MVP/ORNL – large-format thermoset; target now to use benefits of thermoset to make molds to make composite parts
  • Aerosint, machine just a rendering, doesn’t exist yet; tackling problem of single material, recycling rates
  • Strangpresse, announced, available now, but since only sells to OEMs, saying announced; ORNL technology
  • NewPro 3D, NP1, come October of this year can take delivery

Hardware Announced: Metal

  • GE Additive
  • AIM3D, combining thermoplastic with metal powder, interesting they’re using pellet-fed
  • CoLiDo, also extrusion of metal-infused thermoplastics

Supporting Equipment

Following a look into the machines and systems, Grimm moved to equipment that supports additive manufacturing, primarily for post-processing.

Companies involved include:

Processes: Research

For a “little taste to see what the future-future holds,” Grimm touched on several interesting areas of research including work from:

Materials

Materials make the build, and while Grimm noted that he would not be “getting into everything new on the show floor,” he noted themes in new materials regarding tensile strength, reinforced polymers, and of course metals.

Highlighted here were:

  • Stratasys, Antero 800NA PEKK
  • Prodways polyamide 6 etc, first iteration of 612 loaded with glass bead
  • BASF, three technologies; UltraSint for powder bed; photo resin custom designed for bottom up vat photopolymerization processes; Ultrafuse Z nanocoated filaments with Essentium
  • LPW Technology, tantalum powder
  • Elementum 3D, aluminum 6061 for powder bed fusion, new class of aluminum that’s engineering-grade, not casting-grade
  • Tethon 3D

Software

The good news here, Grimm said, “is we’ve got a lot going on with software to help us as users, design/predictability/control.” 

Design software making news at RAPID + TCT that caught Grimm’s attention included:

3D Scanning

Not one to leave 3D scanning out of a conversation about digital manufacturing, Grimm was running short on time by this point in his presentation but made it a point to note the importance of scanning technologies.

Among key companies noted were:

Wrapping Up

“What’s new? Much, much more than I can cover today. You’ve made a wise choice to be here at RAPID this week,” Grimm said, as the show provided immediate access to hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees.

He left the gathered crowd with a word of advice in an innovative environment:

Ride the wave of innovation instead of being swamped by it.”

Discuss new releases and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[All photos: Sarah Goehrke]

 

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