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Welcome to the first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs in 2019! We took a brief hiatus at the beginning of the new year, and now we’re back, bringing you the latest business, medical, and metal 3D printing news. First up, Sigma Labs has been awarded a new Test and Evaluation Program Contract, and Laser Lines is now a certified UK Stratasys training provider. Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, and a few of its partners, will be using Carbon 3D printing to make production-grade parts for medical devices. Cooksongold is launching new precious metal parameters for the EOS M 100 3D printer, and VBN Components has introduced a new metal 3D printing material.

Sigma Labs Receives Test and Evaluation Program Contract

This week, Sigma Labs, which develops and provides quality assurance software under the PrintRite3D brand, announced that it had been awarded a Test and Evaluation Program contract with a top additive manufacturing materials and service provider. This will be the company’s fifth customer to conduct testing and evaluations of its technology since September 2018, and Sigma Labs will install several PrintRite3D INSPECT 4.0 in-process quality assurance systems in the customer’s US and German facilities under the program. It will also support its customer in the program by providing engineering, hardware, metallurgical consulting and support services, software, and training.

“Sigma Labs is deeply committed to our In-Process Quality Assurance tools, supporting and moving forward with them,” said John Rice, the CEO of Sigma Labs. “I am confident that this initiative, which marks our fifth customer signed from diverse industries in the past four months, will validate our PrintRite3D technology in commercial-industrial serial manufacturing settings. We believe that going forward, AM technology will play an increasingly prominent role in the aerospace, medical, power generation/energy, automotive and tooling/general industries, all areas which are served by this customer.”

Laser Lines Announces New Stratasys Training Courses

Through its new 3D Printing Academy, UK-based total 3D printing solutions provider Laser Lines is now a certified provider of Stratasys training courses. The custom courses at the Academy for FDM and Polyjet systems are well-suited for new users, people in need of a refresher, or more experienced users, and include tips and tricks that the company’s certified trainers have personally developed. One-day and two-day courses are available at customer sites, or at the Laser Lines facility in Oxfordshire.

“The training courses are an extension of the advice and education we have been providing to customers for the past 20 years. With our experienced team able to share their knowledge and experience on both the FDM and Polyjet systems and materials, customers who are trained by us will get the value of some real life application examples,” said Richard Hoy, Business Development at Laser Lines.

“We want to ensure that our customers get what they need from our training so before booking, our Stratasys academy certified trainers can discuss exact requirements and advise both content and a suitable duration for the training course so that it meets their needs entirely.”

Exploring Applications in Medical Device Manufacturing

Enabled by Michigan state legislation, the Grand Rapids SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority has awarded a half-million-dollar grant that will be used to fund a 2.5-year collaborative program centered around cost and time barriers for medical devices entering the market. Together, Grand Valley State University and its study partners – certified contract manufacturer MediSurge and the university’s applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI) – will be using 3D printing from Carbon to create production-grade parts, out of medical-grade materials and tolerances, in an effort to accelerate medical device development, along with the component manufacturing cycle. A Carbon 3D printer has been installed in aMDI’s incubator space, where the team and over a dozen students and faculty from the university’s Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing will work to determine the “tipping point” where 3D printing can become the top method, in terms of part number and complexity, to help lower startup costs and time to market, which could majorly disrupt existing manufacturing practices for medical devices.

“We are thrilled to be the first university in the Midwest to provide students with direct access to this type of innovative technology on campus. This novel 3D additive manufacturing technology, targeting medical grade materials, will soon be the new standard, and this study will be a launch pad for course content that is used in curriculum throughout the university,” said Brent M. Nowak, PhD, the Executive Director of aMDI.

New Precious Metal 3D Printing Parameters at Cooksongold

At this week’s Vicenzaoro jewelry show, Cooksongold, a precious metal expert and the UK’s largest one-stop shop for jewelry and watch makers, announced that it is continuing its partnership with EOS for industrial 3D printing, and will be launching new precious metal parameters for the EOS M 100 3D printer, which is replacing the system that was formerly called the PRECIOUS M 080. The EOS M 100 builds on the powder management process and qualities of the PRECIOUS M 080, and the new parameters make it possible for users to create beautiful designs, with cost-effective production, that are optimized for use on the new 3D printer.

“We are proud to continue our successful partnership with Cooksongold, which was already established 2012,” said Markus Brotsack, Partner Manager at EOS. “The EOS M 100 system increases productivity and ensure high-quality end parts as we know them. Based on our technology, EOS together with Cooksongold plans to develop processes for industrial precious metals applications too.”

VBN Components Introducing New Cemented Carbide

Drill bits in Vibenite 480; collaboration with Epiroc.

In 2017, Swedish company VBN Components introduced the world’s hardest steel, capable of 3D printing, in its Vibenite family. Now it’s launching a new 3D printing material: the patented hard metal Vibenite 480, which is a new type of cemented carbide. The alloy, which has a carbide content of ~65%, is heat, wear, and corrosion resistant, and based on metal powder produced through large scale industrial gas atomization, which lowers both the cost and environmental impact. What’s more, VBN Components believes that it is the only company in the world that is able to 3D print cemented carbides without using binder jetting. Because this new group of materials is a combination of the heat resistance of cemented carbides and the toughness of powder metallurgy high speed steels (PM-HSS), it’s been dubbed hybrid carbides.

“We have learned an enormous amount on how to 3D-print alloys with high carbide content and we see that there’s so much more to do within this area,” said Martin Nilsson, the CEO of VBN Components. “We have opened a new window of opportunity where a number of new materials can be invented.”

Early adopters who want to be among the first to try this new material will be invited by VBN Components to a web conference at a later date. If you’re interested in participating, email info@vbncomponents.com.

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

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