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3D Printing News Briefs, September 18, 2021: Business, Materials, & More

Metal Parts Produced
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We’re filling up the front of today’s 3D Printing News Briefs with plenty of business, as one company celebrates an anniversary and two others welcome new executives to their ranks. Moving on to materials, 3D Systems launched a new material for jewelry design, and there’s a newly patented 3D printing process for a tungsten alloy. Finally, a sand 3D printing facility is being set up at the Airport City in Bengaluru.

Lithoz Celebrating Ten Year Anniversary

Austrian company Lithoz GmbH, a leader in ceramics 3D printing that started as a TU Wien spinoff in 2011, is happy to announce that it’s celebrating ten years of providing ceramic 3D printing materials and machines, as it’s worked to establish the technology as a reliable means of industrial mass production. The company has continually strengthened its commitment to this venture by combining several core values, including strong ties to academia, collaboration with customers, and the importance of the team, and now it’s time to celebrate a decade in the ceramics AM business, while also remembering to look to the future. A “Lithoz Happy Birthday Hour” networking event was held at last week’s ceramic conference, several variations of the logo will be released—including the one depicted above—and a collection of “Best Of” recordings will be published on the company’s LinkedIn page. Finally, an emotional celebration video was filmed in the recently opened Lithoz Innovation Lab to pay tribute to the company’s team spirit.

“When we started the company, nobody was actually able to do the additive manufacturing of high-performance ceramics. Nobody could meet the industrial standards. We did something that was not possible before,” stated Dr. Johannes Homa, CEO of Lithoz.

Equispheres Welcomes Two to Board of Directors

Equispheres Inc., a materials science technology company specializing in high-performance metal 3D printing powders for automotive, aerospace, and defense industries, has welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors, who have plenty of industry knowledge to share from the automotive supply chain. Rob Wildeboer, Co-Chair of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC), is already the executive chairman of Tier One automotive supplier Martinrea International Inc., and Keith Spencer, who advises private technology businesses and serves on the boards of several tech companies, co-leads the Start-up and Emerging Company Services group as a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. The two new additions will help Equispheres by contributing industry and financial expertise as the company continues to scale up and advance into the automotive supply chain.

“Wildeboer and Spencer will provide guidance as Equispheres gains traction in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors and we are grateful for their support and interest in accelerating the momentum and commitment to the path ahead,” stated Kevin Nicholds, CEO of Equispheres.

Massivit 3D Appoints New VP Business Development

Our last bit of business is from large-volume AM solutions provider Massivit 3D Printing Technologies (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: MSVT), which recently appointed industry veteran Ben Arnold as its Global VP of Business Development. Arnold has been a part of several companies in the AM industry over the years that have been responsible for major innovations, such as polymer-based composites, powder-based metal 3D printing, multimaterial polymer 3D printing, and multi-laser metal 3D printers. As a member of the management team, Arnold will focus on growing Massivit 3D’s patented GDP and Cast in Motion businesses, as well as help expand strategic partnerships, develop new business models, penetrate new verticals, and more.

“We are excited to bring Ben Arnold onboard to drive our introduction into new industries and segments. Our aim is to transform manufacturing of large parts. We continuously look for ways to make manufacturing of large parts faster, more efficient, and more cost effective through digital processes and in line with Industry 4.0 needs to ultimately reduce lead times from weeks to days, and costs for manufacturers and service providers. We believe Ben is the right person to help us expand our business and capitalize on the combination of our groundbreaking current and future technologies, and growing market interest across multiple segments,” said Massivit 3D’s CEO, Erez Zimerman.

“We are experiencing massive growth and enhancing our management team with experienced professionals such as Ben, is an important part of ensuring our continued growth and success.”

3D Systems Introduces New Wax Jewelry Material

High throughput production of 100% wax jewelry casting patterns.

Moving on, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) is advancing jewelry design with the launch of its new material, VisiJet Wax Jewel Red. The company is already a leader in 100% lost wax casting for jewelry, and this new material, paired with its AM software and wax 3D printing, will fit right into the workflow, reducing tooling time, waste, and costs, and enabling same-day pattern printing. Wax 3D printing is often used to produce patterns for jewelry casting, but it can be hard to achieve some of the more intricate details and fine meshes. 3D Systems says that its VisiJet Wax Jewel Red was created to address these needs, as its flexibility decreases breakage during the lost wax casting process, even for these complex areas.

“Additive manufacturing has made its mark on the jewelry industry – allowing artisans to push the boundaries and take their creativity to new levels. We created VisiJet Wax Jewel Red as the next step in our 100% wax casting portfolio, specifically to enable the unmatched quality of lost wax casting for jewelry design styles with fine features. This addition helps artisans and casting houses deliver unique designs while improving productivity and reducing costs,” explained Dr. Edwin Hortelano, senior vice president, materials engineering & development, 3D Systems.

Patented AM Process Can Create Complex Tungsten Alloy Components

Such precise and sometimes curved shapes are impossible to form from the hard heavy metal, whose extremely high melting point is between 3,387 and 3,422 °C, using conventional machining or forming processing techniques.

Engineers from Bayerische Metallwerke GmbH, which belongs to Gesellschaft für Wolfram Industrie mbH, have developed and patented a new manufacturing process for tungsten alloys WNiFe and WNiCu, making it possible to get the multi-phase mixed crystal alloy in powder form so it can be used in 3D printing and coating processes. These alloys have high thermal conductivity for aluminum chill-mold casting processing, as well as corrosion resistance against molten metal and high density, but tungsten also has the highest melting point of all chemical elements, in addition to a Mohs hardness of 7.5, so it’s difficult to create complex shapes like curves. You can use a mixed powder of tungsten, nickel, and iron, but the latter two have lower melting points and end up evaporating uncontrollably, which is why the new process combines the three elements during pre-alloying as a multiphase material in each powder particle. The distribution and composition of the elements in the end product can be accurately controlled, no binder metals are lost, and the longevity and efficiency of the components the powder is used to print are increased.

“The higher the proportion of tungsten in the end product, the more resistant it is to molten aluminium and the better its thermal conductivity. If, on the other hand, good ductility and mechanical machinability play a greater role, the proportion of tungsten in the alloy can also be reduced accordingly. The composition can therefore always be adapted to the specific application and the respective complexity of the shape,” explained Dr.-Ing. Hany Gobran, Research and Development Manager at Bayerische Metallwerke and the one who invented this new manufacturing technology.

“Another special feature of our alloy is that we can make the powder from scraps or chips. This is a big step forward from both an economic and environmental perspective, as it allows us to recycle and upcycle waste products from conventional processes.”

3D Printing Facility Coming to Bengaluru Airport City

Finally, a South India-based industrial group is developing a 3D sand printing facility with Bengaluru Airport City Limited (BACL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL). The sand AM facility, being created by the Peekay Group, will be built in the Airport City at BLR Airport and include a production center and an experience zone, and will be used to increase the awareness of 3D printing applications, train technology experts, and engage young people. Since last year, Peekay has been planning on installing Voxeljet’s large-scale VX4000 sand 3D printer at the facility, and recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the German 3D printer manufacturer for training, skills upgrades, and more related to the installation. The giant printer will be the most efficient, environmentally-friendly choice, fitting in with BIAL’s sustainability framework, and will also be the first installation of the VX4000 for an integrated AM service facility and training center.

“Peekay is driven by a purpose to create value for all its stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees, and the society at large. We are pleased to state that Peekay is moving ahead with its purpose and vision with this current investment with Bengaluru Airport City Limited,” stated K.E. Shanavaz, the Joint Managing Director of Peekay Steel Castings (P) Limited. “The company’s strategy has continually been enhancing productivity and aligning with external factors such as the environment, climate change, and renewable energy. Peekay is investing in a standalone technology centre at Airport City to diversify its business into new areas like aerospace, healthcare, renewable energy and transform itself as a tech-driven manufacturing company globally. We would be incorporating metal printing in addition to sand and ceramic in future expansion.”

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