Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing News Briefs, November 20, 2021: Business, Medical, & More

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We’re starting with an unusual story in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as mimiX Biotherapeutics, which launched its first acoustic bioprinter this week, noticed that Facebook’s new Meta logo looked awfully familiar. Moving on, XJet has two new distribution partners in Europe, and 3D LifePrints is expanding to the US with a Point of Care business model, in addition to welcoming a new member to its leadership team. ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence announced another Call for Projects, and Hetitec is using voxeljet’s AM technology to become Scandinavia’s fastest foundry.

mimiX Biotherapeutics Reaches Out to Facebook, Launches Bioprinter

Last year, Swiss biotech startup mimiX Biotherapeutics (mimiX) announced its cymatiX, an acoustic bioprinter that uses sound waves to produce multi-cellular functional tissue constructs, and officially launched the system at the TERMIS World Congress earlier this week. But that’s not mimiX’s only news—the startup noticed that when Facebook unveiled its new Meta identity last month, the logo it used was extremely similar to its own. The sound waves its bioprinter uses are represented in the mimiX logo, and the startup, which said in a press release that it’s “honored” to share the logo with Meta, realized that Facebook is one of the only GAFAs (Google, Apple, and Amazon) that hasn’t “initiated a deployment in the field of life sciences.” mimiX reached out to invite Meta to join its efforts in shaping the future of medicine by sending some Coffee Stout inspiration from its favorite Celestial Brewery.

“This week we had a positive surprise as facebook announced their new corporate identity META ….and used our mimiX logo,” mimiX founder Marc Thurner told 3DPrint.com in an email.

I have no idea if this will work, but kudos to mimiX for noticing Facebook’s lack of life sciences work and reaching out to invite Meta in.

XJet Expands Foothold in Europe with New Distribution Agreements

Moving on, XJet Ltd. announced that it’s signed distribution agreements with two companies in Europe to grow its foothold there. The first is with Tri-Tech 3D, which supplies AM solutions to manufacturers in the UK and Ireland, and the second is with Portuguese distributor Emetrês, which in recent years has dedicated itself to new conventional and digital printing and finishing technologies. Tri-Tech 3D is a leading expert on 3D printing in the UK, and sells AM equipment and services to multiple industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. Emetrês has over 40 years of experience in marketing graphic and communication equipment and products, before adding AM to its sales offering. Both new partners will supply XJet customers in their regions with the company’s Metal and Ceramics printers, along with materials, training, customer support services, and local installation.

“Tri-Tech 3D has a wealth of knowledge and experience in providing the UK market with leading additive manufacturing technologies. In the same vein, Emetrês has established itself with passionate dedication to the customer experience,” said Dror Danai, XJet’s CBO. “XJet is all about the details, Emetrês and Tri-Tech match our philosophy and so make ideal partners for distributing our Carmel AM systems in their respective regions.”

3D LifePrints Launches POC Medical AM Service in US

3D technology and ISO 13485 certified medical 3D printing company 3D LifePrints recently announced that it was expanding and bringing its Point of Care medical 3D printing service business model to the US. Part of the ABHI US Accelerator program in partnership with Dell Medical School in Austin, the company is opening its new embedded medical AM facility in Texas, where the team will be working with clinicians and surgeons at host hospitals to offer solutions including virtual and 3D printed patient-specific anatomical models and custom training devices. Later, 3D LifePrints will launch new Point of Care Hubs in other states, to support hospitals in improving patient outcomes and reducing operational costs. Additionally, the company is bringing American physician and former NASA astronaut Dr. Scott E. Parazynski onto its Board of Directors to help strengthen its US leadership team and help with the long-term strategic. After retiring from NASA, Dr. Parazynski founded Fluidity Technologies, which manufactures and distributes novel control devices for mobility in 3D space.

“3D printing is revolutionising the healthcare industry across the globe, providing surgeons and clinicians with patient specific products and services in order to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. We are delighted to begin our international expansion in the US, where we are already able to provide a range of our state-of-the-art 3D medical solutions,” said Paul Fotheringham, Founder  Chief Technology Officer of 3D LifePrints. “It is also a huge honour for us to welcome Dr Parazynski to our leadership team; to have attracted a figure of his calibre demonstrates the ambitions of our company.”

Second Call for Projects by ASTM International’s AM CoE

ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) recently announced its second Call for Projects (CFP), which welcomes non-partners to help accelerate AM standards development by participating in a Research to Standardization initiative. The CFP program was developed last year to allow non-AM CoE members to get support for research focused on closing standardization gaps, and this particular CFP is complementary to the AM CoE Request for Ideas (RFI), which financially supports projects by AM CoE partners. The CFP highlights multiple themes for AM research and development topics, such as reuse, handling, and characterization of feedstock; DfAM and data acquisition, analysis, management, machine learning, and more; different AM processes and post-processing, like in-situ monitoring, support removal, and finishing; inspection, certification, and qualification, and more.

“We are thrilled to unveil our second Call for Projects. The AM CoE team is excited to continue supporting AM users and developers that participate in the Research to Standards (R2S) initiative, and further accelerate AM standardization,” said Mohsen Seifi, Ph.D., ASTM International’s director of global additive manufacturing programs.

If interested, you can register for the informational webinar at 10 am EST on December 8th.

Hetitec and voxeljet 3D Printing Build Foundry Around AM

What makes Hetitec’s business model special is that a foundry was built around 3D printing instead of integrating 3D printing into an existing foundry. This allows Hetitec to deliver finished castings within a week.

Finland-based Hetitec Oy specializes in fast, high-quality castings formed with 3D printing, and is an official partner of German industrial 3D printing company voxeljet AG. The foundry is equipped with AM, simulation, and metal casting technologies, and uses a hybrid approach—Printed Casting—to cast highly complex sand molds and cores. Founder and Managing Director Ville Moilanen was a mechanical engineer in 2008 at what was then voxeljet technology GmbH, and learned it can take over three months for castings to be delivered in Finland, because its foundry industry was designed for serial production with conventional manufacturing; for a country that’s characterized by forest machinery and shipbuilding industries, this was not ideal. Moilanen moved back to Finland in 2012 to start Hetitec Oy, investing in a voxeljet VX1000 system and opening a center for on-demand 3D printing of sand molds and cores. In 2018, the company decided to scale up by building a specialized foundry centered around 3D printing, and not just adding the technology to an existing foundry. Hetitec installed four melting furnaces for alloys like aluminum, steel, and ductile iron; invested in CAD software for casting simulation and mold making; and installed the large-format voxeljet VX2000, which was recently updated to become 40% more productive.

“If it were up to our customers, they would prefer to have the castings yesterday, a service we unfortunately cannot offer as of yet. But we can easily print one job box in less than a single day, which makes the VX2000 the most productive 3D printer in the whole of Finland. Given our equipment, we are able to produce casting sizes ranging from 1 – 600 kg within just a few days with a unique portfolio in terms of material diversity,” Moilanen said, continuing that the company also formed partnerships with others nearby and can directly machine and inspect casted parts before shipment, which means it can deliver finished parts within one week.

“This makes us the fastest freaking foundry in the whole of Scandinavia.”

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