3D Printing News Briefs: May 11, 2018


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We’re bringing you the business first in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, and then moving on to a car update and metal 3D printing news. The ExOne company has released its Q1 2018 financial results, while the South Korean government is investing in 3D printing and Fictiv announces the results of its Series B funding round. SLM Solutions has joined America Makes, and the TU/ecomotive team has started a crowdfunding campaign for its 3D printed circular car. Wohlers Associates is offering a collaborative DfAM course, and we’ve got information on the ADDvance metal powder cabinet that Linde LLC introduced at RAPID + TCT last month.

ExOne Releases Financial Results for Q1 2018

Like several other 3D printing companies recently, ExOne is releasing its financial results for the first quarter of 2018, which ended on March 31st. Overall, things are looking good for the company – consolidated revenue is up 9% to $11.9 million since Q1 2017, with machine revenue up 6% and non-machine revenue up 12%. In addition, the backlog at the end of the quarter has expanded over 20%, to a total of $26.1 million.

“Our growth and technology development activities are off to a solid start and are on track to meet our 2018 targets. Total revenue grew by 9%, or 13% on a non-GAAP basis after excluding $0.3 million in revenue from our exited specialty machining operation from the first quarter of 2017. The number of machines that we recognized in revenue in the quarter increased to six from five in the prior year, backlog expanded by nearly $5 million from December 2017 and machines that have been shipped to customers and are yet to be recognized in revenue totalled eight at the end of the quarter,” said Jim McCarley, CEO of ExOne. “Given this level of backlog, together with our robust pipeline, scheduled shipments and our available inventory, we expect our first half revenue to be in line with our full year guidance of growth in excess of 20%. Revenue growth at this rate is market leading performance and differentiates ExOne both in our growth potential as well as the increasing industrial acceptance of our binder jetting technology.

“Operationally, we are on plan to meet our aggressive technical improvement goals, and we are driving continuous improvement in our team composition, cost structure, and business processes. We realized year-over-year gross margin improvement this quarter and expect this to continue throughout 2018. Likewise, we are spending R&D dollars on key machine capability improvements with our lead project, the development of a large format fine powder printer, and expect to begin printing trials this quarter.”

South Korea Investing in Medical 3D Printing

Four years ago, the government in South Korea unveiled a plan to expand its 3D printing infrastructure and become a 3D printing leader. South Korea is an active participant in the 3D printing industry, though its economic outlook for 2017 was rather dismal, and announced a plan last year to invest heavily in advanced technologies like 3D printing and virtual and augmented reality. At the time, the country’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced that it would be spending ₩41.2 billion, or about US$37 million, in the coming year to further develop 3D printing expertise in businesses, the military, and the medical sector.

The MSIP appears to be making good on this promise now, as it just announced that it will spend ₩1.35 billion (about US$1.2 million) this year to increase its 3D printing expertise in order to build up the medical instrument field. The ministry said that the budget for 2018 – half allocated from the government and the rest from the private sector – is set to help one “promising company” for a full year as it develops 3D printing technology in order to manufacture medical instruments, along with rehabilitation devices and artificial bones.

Fictiv Closes $15 Million Series B Funding Round

This week at the Intel Capital Global Summit, in addition to unveiling offices in China and demonstrating its new workflow optimization tools, web-based platform Fictiv announced that it has raised $15 million in Series B funding, which will be used to improve global manufacturing access and workflow. The round was led by Sinovation Ventures, and Accel, Bill Gates, FJ Labs, Intel Capital, the Stanford-StartX Fund, and the Tandon Group also participated. Fictiv, which has a disruptive, dual marketplace approach to manufacturing, has now raised a total of $25 million in venture funding, and this latest addition will help the company introduce new digital tools for automating and optimizing workflows and grow its global network of manufacturers.

“Fictiv is creating a new world order in which software is democratizing access to fast, high quality manufacturing. We are thrilled to have these global investors on board, helping us reimagine manufacturing as more efficient and effective for both engineers and manufacturers,” said Fictiv CEO and Co-Founder Dave Evans.

America Makes Welcomes SLM Solutions

Metal 3D printer provider SLM Solutions announced that it is now a member of America Makes, the country’s national accelerator for additive manufacturing and the flagship institute for the Manufacturing USA network. A public-private partnership, America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the top organization in the US for advancing creation, discovery, innovation, and research in 3D printing. SLM Solutions will leverage its new membership to build new partnerships in the America Makes community, while also strengthening its existing relationships with other top 3D printing organizations.

“We are thrilled to be able to join the America Makes community. Most of our customers and partners in the USA are already members, so we are looking forward to joining them at America Makes events and participating in America Makes projects,” said Dr. Richard Grylls, Technical Director for SLM Solutions N.A. “America Makes is the foremost venue for technology development, exchange and education in the USA, and we hope that our current activities in research and education can be leveraged to benefit the America Makes membership.”

TU/ecomotive Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for 3D Printed Circular Car

This winter, we heard about Noah, the 3D printed, recyclable car from TU/ecomotive, a student team at the TU Eindhoven that’s dedicated to developing compact, efficient city cars from sustainable materials. The team calls Noah the world’s first circular car, as its body, chassis, and interior are 3D printed from bio-based materials, like PLA and flax, that can be taken apart and reused at the end of the car’s life. Now, TU/ecomotive has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds so that they can showcase Noah to the rest of the world this summer.

“After months of development, we are now ready to start assembling Noah. We are looking forward to early July when we can unveil Noah to the world. To showcase this car and in particular its capabilities we will drive to several major European cities and show people what Noah can do and to spread our vision of a circular economy. To be able to realize this journey we need your help!”

A pledge of €30 gets your name on the team’s website, while you can take a ride in Noah, along with one of the TU/ecomotive members, for an ultimate pledge of €500.

Wohlers Associates Offering DfAM Course with Québec Industrial Research Centre

For the first time in Canada, a three-day intensive training course on Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) is being offered through a partnership between Wohlers Associates, Inc. and the Québec Industrial Research Centre (CRIQ), the latter of which is on a mission to make Québec industries more competitive by supporting business innovation. The course, which will be targeted at managers, engineers, and designers who wish to learn more about designing parts that can benefit from 3D printing, will include topics such as best practices, DfAM rules and guidelines, consolidating many parts into a fewer number,  lattice/mesh structures, and topology optimization. The DfAM training, led by DfAM expert Olaf Diegel and Wohlers Associates President Terry Wohlers, will take place from June 12th to 14th at the CRIQ’s Montreal research facility, where participants will be able to achieve hands-on experience by designing 3D printable parts and manufacturing them on industrial 3D printers.

“We are very excited about holding this training in Canada in partnership with such a great research institution. AM is changing the face of modern manufacturing, but it requires professionals that can design complex shapes and understand the full AM production process,” said Wohlers. “This is why our DfAM course was created.”

Linde LLC Introduces ADDvance Metal Powder Cabinet

At RAPID + TCT 2018 last month, Linde LLC introduced its ADDvance powder cabinet, a new storage solution for powder metals that’s atmosphere-regulated in order to protect the integrity of the materials before use. Humidity control is necessary to improve the reproducible quality in 3D printing, and that’s just what ADDvance offers. The cabinet, made up of two atmosphere-controlled cabinets roughly 40″ x 20″, tests internal temperature and humidity levels continuously and regulates the internal atmosphere if it detects any changes with a purge gas, either argon or nitrogen; then, a lower volume stream of gas keeps the humidity levels low constantly. ADDvance also features two open shelves in the bottom for equipment storage, alarms for excess humidity, touchscreen controls, and gas flow and atmosphere monitoring.

“Achieving reproducible quality of advanced 3D powder-metal parts begins with the incoming quality of materials. Unfortunately, powder metals are prone to aging when exposed to ambient air, and especially humidity, which can affect chemical and physical properties and the overall quality of the powder. This is especially true for sensitive aluminum or titanium alloys needed for advanced aerospace and automotive parts and medical devices,” said Grzegorz Moroz, Program Manager, Metals, Linde LLC.

“Simply opening the door on a standard sealed storage cabinet can spike humidity levels from two or three percent to 35 percent or more.”

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


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