Continuing with the week’s second edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, or rather formnext 2018 News Briefs, we’ve got more announcements coming from the huge trade fair, which just ended today in Frankfurt. 3D Systems introduced two new 3D printers and a new material, while Solvay showcased its two new medical grade filaments. ViscoTec revealed its new two-component print head, and Additive Industries announced a partnership with Air Liquide on the show floor. Finally, Honeywell FM&T engineers are using topology optimization to shorten the design process at the DOE’s Kansas City National Security Campus.
3D Systems Showcases Two New 3D Printers
This week at formnext, 3D printing leader 3D Systems announced two additions to its DMP metal 3D printing platform, along with a new aluminum alloy material. This platform allows customers to scale from the new DMP Flex 350 – successor to the ProX DMP 320 – all the way up to the new DMP Factory 350 as their production needs shift. These 3D printers were built to provide repeatable, robust metal parts production 24/7. The $575,000 Flex 350 offers an improved print productivity of 15% over previous models, comes with improved gas flow technology for uniform part quality, and allows for more efficient production of very dense, pure metal parts. The $763,000 Factory 250 combines all of these advantages and features with a little something extra – integrated powder management. An in-unit viewing panel allows for a visual inspection of the ultrasonic sieve, and also includes real-time process monitoring. In addition to its two new DMP 3D printers, 3D Systems also introduced a new aluminum alloy material, LaserForm AlSi7Mg0.6 (A), which offers electrical ductility, corrosion resistance, and high-thermal conductivity.
“At Formnext 2017, I announced 3D Systems’ intent to bring 3D printing to the factory floor with a new generation of additive manufacturing solutions. Today I am happy to report that over the last year we have brought to market an unrivalled series of plastic and metal 3D printers, materials and software that are optimizing workflows, enabling new design innovations, and reducing costs,” said Vyomesh Joshi, the President and CEO of 3D Systems. “The new innovations we are announcing today – DMP Flex 350, DMP Factory 350, and LaserForm material– further expand 3D System’s customer-first, solution approach to drive the transformation of manufacturing.”
The DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 should be available in late Q4 2018.
Solvay Introduces New Medical-Grade Filaments
Global specialty polymer supplier Solvay was also at formnext this week to launch new products. The company introduced three new additions to its high-performance 3D printing filament portfolio – KetaSpire PEEK (NT1 HC), a 10% carbon fiber-reinforced KetaSpire (CF10 HC), and Radel PPSU (NT1 HC), which are Solvay’s first medical-grade materials for limited contact applications in the healthcare industry. The KetaSpire PEEK filaments enable high part density, achieve great printed layer fusion, and provide excellent part strength, along the z-axis in particular. Radel PPSU delivers the same exceptional fusion, and also has toughness, transparency, and high elongation. These three new grades are available immediately in both North America and Europe through Solvay’s e-commerce platform.
“The healthcare industry is quickly emerging as a leading market to benefit from AM technology which makes customized parts for single use or low volumes possible. However, there is still a very limited choice of high-performance filaments that meet the stringent regulatory requirements in healthcare and this is the gap we want to close with our new selection of medical grade products,” said Christophe Schramm, Additive Manufacturing Business Manager at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit.
VisctoTec Launches New Two-Component Print Head
This spring, Germany-based ViscoTec, which is well known for its innovative 3D print heads, introduced the vipro-HEAD, a print head with an optional heating function for viscous fluids. The vipro-HEAD 3 and vipro-HEAD 5 allow the company’s 3D printing customers to process viscous fluids and pastes, and now ViscoTec has delivered again. At formnext this week, the company launched its new two-component print head, vipro-HEAD 3/3 and 5/5, which allows for the 3D printing of two-component viscous fluids and pastes.
The print head, which comes in two sizes, has parallel, independently running motors, which receive direct signals from the 3D printer itself. Bleeding screws can be adapted to the vipro-HEAD 3/3 and 5/5 for venting during start-up, and optional integrated pressure sensors can monitor the output pressure at the static mixer, so dosing is automatically stopped if any pressure fluctuations occur so the rotor and stator aren’t damaged. With ViscoTec’s new print head, nearly all two-component viscous fluids and pastes can be dispensed continuously and gently.
Additive Industries and Air Liquide Announce Partnership
The last piece of formnext 2018 news to share with you today is the newly announced partnership for industrial 3D printing between France-based Air Liquide and Netherlands company Additive Industries. The two have long enjoyed a working relationship, and decided to increase this into a professional partnership, in order to develop a dedicated infrastructure for gasses. Air Liquide will add its solutions for supplying and storing shielding gasses, and an infrastructure blueprint for Additive Industries’ MetalFAB1 3D printer will allow customers in demanding markets to increase the safety, quality, and post-processing of 3D printing.
“On our continuous quest to improve the performance of our systems while offering our users a fully integrated solution, we have identified the gas infrastructure for argon and nitrogen as an often overlooked but important piece of the puzzle,” said Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries. “Because of our partnership with Air Liquide, we now can offer a blueprint to our customers to guarantee a reliable gas storage and supply as well as a higher level of safety, our number one priority.”
Topology Optimization Used by Honeywell FM&T Engineers
Honeywell FM&T, an engineering, manufacturing and sourcing enterprise that’s part of the aerospace company Honeywell, manages and operates the Kansas City National Security Campus for the US Department of Energy. It used to take the engineers months to design and produce materials to use for tooling and testing purposes. But Honeywell FM&T is now saving time by using digital manufacturing technology, which allows the engineers to bring their ideas to fruition in days, instead of months.
Topology optimization, or TO, shortens the normal design process by creating a prototype based on the functional and physical requirements, and then simulating production with it. 3D products designed with TO are less expensive, more lightweight, and stronger, and the Honeywell FM&T team recently used the technology to redesign a part that would meet structural requirements, but also weighs 46% less as well.
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