3D Printing News Briefs, October 2nd, 2021: Business & Carbon Nanotubes


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We’re starting with business again in this edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, as VELO3D has expanded its team further and Evolve Additive Solutions welcomed two new board members. ASME has announced a new company to help accelerate digital transformation, and Branch Technology received a state matching grant to help propel its growth. Finally, B9Creations and Mechnano are working together on carbon nanotube-enabled materials.

VELO3D Expands Executive Team Again

Velo3D has hired (left) Bob Okunski as head of Investor Relations and (right) Steve Starner as VP of Sales for North America.

Just a few days ago, advanced metal AM leader VEOL3D, Inc. officially became a public company on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “VLD,” finishing the process it had begun when it announced a SPAC merger this spring. The company has been busily stacking the deck with talented people as of late, introducing three new board members in the last month, as well as two senior executives to its team in Europe. Now the company has welcomed two additional hires to its executive team. Bob Okunski, who has plenty of experience working with innovation technology companies and spent over 13 years in investor relations at SunPower Corporation, joins VELO3D as its first Vice President of Investor Relations. VELO3D has also brought on Steve Starner as its new Vice President of Sales for North America, after leading customer-focused technical sales teams in multiple areas of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence for nearly 15 years.

“It’s very gratifying that Velo3D is able to attract such top talent to our company,” stated VELO3D’s Founder and CEO Benny Buller. “To best serve our customers, and our investors as well, we make a point of hiring people who intrinsically understand the critical role that leading-edge technology plays in innovation, and who can communicate both the substance and the excitement of what we’re achieving here at Velo3D.”

Evolve Additive Solutions Welcomes Two Board Members

Evolve Additive Solutions, which created what it calls the world’s first scaled volume production-ready manufacturing platform in its proprietary STEP (Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process) technology, has appointed two new members to its Board of Directors: Joe Allison and Hugh Evans, both of 3D Ventures Group and bringing plenty of finance experience to the table. Allison has spent more than 30 years in the AM industry, first as an R&D engineer for 3D Systems in the late 1980s, before founding industry service provider Solid Concepts, where he served as CEO for 23 years. After selling it to Stratasys, he was CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for three years, and is now an active advisor and investor in the AM industry, just like Evans. Evans serves on the Board of Directors as an advisor for many industry projects, and most recently served as SVP Corporate Development and Digitization at 3D Systems from 2013-2019.

“We are excited to welcome Hugh and Joe to our Board and look forward to their leadership, insights and contributions. We are at a turning point in our company’s evolution and commercial product globalization,” said Evolve’s Founder and CEO Steve Chillscyzn. “With Hugh and Joe’s support, and history of demanding excellence, we are confident that our impetus to constantly push and challenge the barriers of digital manufacturing will remain a strong driving force at Evolve.”

ASME Launches New Metrix Subsidiary

Recently, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) announced that it was launching a new company to speed up digital engineering transformation for multiple industries. Metrix Connect LLC, the new subsidiary, will be the exclusive conduit to ASME members through the media products brand Mechanical Engineering®, but more importantly, it will host an integrated events and content platform for engineers and other technical professionals in digital engineering, 3D printing, energy transformation, and robotics. Metrix will offer collaboration and networking opportunities, expert content, and both virtual and in-person events. Business development and events expert Deborah Holton, who was the vice president of events and industry strategy for SME before serving as ASME’s managing director of industry events since 2018, will lead Metrix as its president, and bring her team to the new company. This means that Metrix will launch with eight established event brands, including AM Medical, Digital Twin Summit, and AM Tech Forum.

“ASME has a long history of connecting engineering experts and the next chapter starts with Metrix. From the first meeting of ASME’s founders 140 years ago through today, we bring engineers together to solve real-world problems and improve the quality of life worldwide,” said Tom Costabile, ASME’s Executive Director and CEO. “Engineers rely on ASME for standards, professional development, and technical resources. Our industry events team already has strong connections with industry leaders. With Metrix, they’ll build on those relationships and focus on creating enduring, immersive experiences where technology insights, expert advice and resources are available to engineers around the clock to inform their technology purchase decisions and strengthen business relationships.”

Branch Technology Receives State Aid to Keep Growing

The façade of this TVFCU bank in Chattanooga’s Southside is entirely 3D printed. Image courtesy of WTVC.

Chattanooga prefabrication and technology startup Branch Technology, which uses its large-scale construction 3D printing to fabricate large structures, raised $11 million in funding last year, and has now announced it’s been awarded a $300,000 state matching grant from development agency Launch Tennessee to continue its growth. This is part of the state government’s efforts to use the annual budget to spur high-growth, high-tech companies like Branch Technology, and the startup will use the funds to create a new R&D position, develop and print new polymers for its patented Freeform process, and outfit more construction robots in its 40,000-square-foot Riverfront Parkway production site. Branch Technology, which is working on contracts with NASA and the DoD, has raised a total of $22 million of equity capital to support its growth, and hopes to double in size within a few years.

“The support we have gotten from Tennessee was definitely a draw to bring us here and have really aided in our company’s growth. There is a real network of startups, a number of accelerator programs to help small businesses grow and the resources of places like ORNL up the road to help us with new materials, designs and innovation,” said architect and Branch Technology founder Platt Boyd, who relocated the business from Alabama to Tennessee in 2015.

“There’s a lot of waste with the materials (in conventional construction) and our process is very efficient and sustainable. We continue to improve our processes and that should create a lot of opportunities in the future.”

B9Creations & Mechnano: Carbon Nanotube-Enabled Materials

Finally, professional 3D printer manufacturer B9Creations is partnering with nanomaterial company Mechnano to increase its portfolio of engineering photopolymer materials, meant for scaled AM production applications. Mechnano is said to be the first company to use vat photopolymerization to make parts with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in order to improve impact, tensile performance, and tear resistance, as well as achieve static-dissipative properties. Both partners win in this relationship, as B9Creations will bring its ultra-precision, high-throughput B9 Cores Series 3D printers to the table, and Mechnano will leverage its proprietary MechT technology, which detangles and separates carbon nanotubes before dispersing them—with no re-clumping—throughout its nanomaterials, which can then be tailored to specific performance requirements.

“The decision to partner with Mechnano was a natural step in expanding B9Creations’ offering of production-ready additive manufacturing solutions. Mechnano’s engineering-grade materials are well-matched for the high throughput, precision, and plug-and-play technology of the B9 Core Series systems to enable businesses to move from prototyping to production with ease,” said Shon Anderson, B9Creations CEO.

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