UrbanAlps Wins 2019 purmundus challenge at formnext for 3D Printed Stealth Key

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With all the announcements about new systems, partnerships, and materials coming out of last week’s formnext 2019, let’s not forget about those companies that came home from the event with well-deserved awards. The purmundus challenge, now in its seventh year, is a design competition for 3D and 4D printing that’s supported by some of the industry’s major international players. This year, Swiss startup UrbanAlps AG took first place for its innovative 3D printed Stealth Key.

With the motto “Beyond 3D Printing,” challenge participants from 18 countries on five different continents were asked to use 3D printing to design forward-thinking solutions that address the challenges of the modern world, and there was plenty of room for creative answers.

11 international jury members, including artists, experts, researchers, and executives from the AM field, determined the winners based on factors such as design innovation, aesthetics, and benefits in terms of economy and use.

On November 21st, the jury awarded seven competition submissions, including first place winner UrbanAlps and its patented Stealth Key, for the 2019 purmundus challenge.

Christoph Behling, owner at Christoph Behling Design and a purmundus challenge juror, said, “Very rarely, through 3D printing, a product can achieve unique shapes that can’t be created with any other technology, can capitalize on the ability to be individual and can create a unique performance that enhances life. The winner of this year’s purmundus challenge can do all three things: Stealth Key from UrbanAlps.”

We first heard about UrbanAlps’ award-winning 3D printed Stealth Key back in 2015, and the company claims it is the first metal 3D printed key in the world. It’s an ingenious solution – the durable key actually hides most of its mechanical security features internally, which makes it virtually unscannable.

“Stealth Technology harnesses the power of industrial 3D metal printing to deliver superior key copy protection. Employed in the production of high strength components for satellites, jet engines and gas turbines, UrbanAlps’ advanced technology is a key component in providing an unrivalled, market leading mechanical key solution to mitigate duplication risks,” the challenge wrote about the winning company and its innovative product.

Each Stealth Key is custom made using selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printing, and doesn’t require magnets or electronics – just, as UrbanAlps states, “smart, simple and reliable mechanics.” The keys feature a modular design, and can be retrofitted in order to fit existing locks and doors to help prevent any security breaches.

The key first became commercially available two years ago.

“It is the best application of additive manufacturing: a serial produced product in which each one is individually different. It is arguably the most exclusive and secure key,” UrbanAlps CEO and co-founder Dr. Alejandro Ojeda told 3DPrint.com back in 2017.

Additional features of the Stealth Key, which UrbanAlps calls an “affordable security solution,” include:

  • Anti-drill capabilities
  • Fit US and European standards
  • Security by code concealing
  • Lock picking and bump resistant
  • Can be combined with electronics
  • Less than 2% material waste in key production

“We are honored that the Stealth Key received this award given the great variety and quality of the finalists. Furthermore, at such a venue as the world leading 3D printing fair,” Dr. Ojeda said. “Day by day we strive to make the Stealth Key – The- killer application the 3D metal printing industry is eagerly awaiting.”

As the winner of this year’s purmundus challenge, UrbanAlps won €3,000, access to Altair Inspire Studio, a certificate, and a trophy. Victoria University of Wellington took second place for its 4D printed hyrdophytes, while CellCore GmbH won third for a 3D printed monolithic rocket chamber. Diehl Aviation Laupheim GmbH received a Special Mention for its 3D printed comfort curtain header, the Institut für Technische Optik and Universität Stuttgart won the Innovation Prize for a 3D printed miniaturized endoscope, and KUPOL Inc.’s motorcycle helmet with integrated 3D structures was named best in Simulation Driven Design. Finally, NMU ECO-CAR won the Public Choice Award for a 3D printed mountain bike frame.

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2019 purmundus challenge!

[Images provided by UrbanAlps]

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