Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Nexa3D Reveals New 3D Printers, Executives, & Oqton Partnership at Formnext

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As Formnext 2021 winds down in Frankfurt, Germany, we’re learning more about some of the announcements made during the event. We recently told you that Nexa3D, which specializes in developing ultrafast polymer 3D printers, would be showcasing its end-to-end validated AM workflow at Formnext, as well as launching its latest system. We now have much more information about what Nexa3D has been up to, starting with the 3D printer launch and including new hires and a new partnership.

Nexa3D’s new XiP

First up, we’ll start with the XiP, the company’s first desktop 3D printer. The resin printer has a smaller footprint than some of Nexa3D’s other systems, and just like the NXE 400 and dental NXD 200, uses the company’s award-winning, proprietary lubricant sublayer photo-curing (LSPc) technology, which Nexa3D says is up to 20 times more productive than other DLP and SLA systems on the market. With its high speed, smaller size, and more affordable cost, the new XiP should make ultrafast LSPc printing more accessible.

Just because it has a smaller footprint doesn’t mean the XiP doesn’t still have a large build volume; 190 x 120 x 170 mm, to be exact. The printer features a rugged, modular design, constructed out of aluminum and offering 3.8 liter print volume, 4K STD resolution that can be upgraded to 6-8K later, and a Smart Resin Cartridge and Toolless Vat System. Gravity allows for touch-free material loading, as well as “intelligent polymer levels in the vat,” for better optimization, and electromagnets are used to clamp the Vat System in place, making material changes faster and easier.

Large builds up to 1.3 kg can be printed continuously, and Nexa3D’s Everlast Interface helps increase vat life to 50,000 layers; the vats stack in a UV-blocking storage system when not in use, which means less spills and longer resin life. The XiP also features an easy-to-use open materials platform with a smart resin cartridge, which automatically monitors shelf life and authenticates and checks material compatibility with the current print. Materials that can currently be used with this new 3D printer include polypropylene- and ABS-like ones, elastomeric, PEEK-like, dental, and general purpose.

“We’re familiar with the challenges of today’s 3D printing workflows and invested time, energy and expertise into removing every possible pain point. Alongside its productivity and safety benefits, the XiP delivers a quick return on investment, low total cost of ownership and has a rugged aluminum design that is ideal for a busy commercial environment,” said Avi Reichental, CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder of Nexa3D. “We’ve considered that a 20x faster printer can be used 20x more, and have designed the machine to withstand the extra wear and tear that accompanies so much printing.”

Other specs for the new XiP include a high-resolution monochrome 9.3″ LCD screen, 52 µm STD pixel size that can be upgraded to 25 µm, and 50 µm / 100 µm / 200 µm layer thickness. The printer is also being introduced with a fully automated desktop ecosystem and workflow, including a wash and cure system with xCLEAN detergent. Targeted markets for this desktop resin system include aerospace and defense, automotive, consumer products, medical and dental, and industrial products, and shipping will begin in Q2 of 2022.

Nexa3D also announced the pre-launch of its thermoplastic QLS 350 SLS system at Formnext this week, which is said to offer a high throughput of eight liters per hour at 20% job density. This Quantum Laser Sintering printer was developed to maximize uptime, speed, and flexibility as well, so that users can bring AM to the production environment at scale.

The system features a unique light engine of four 100 watt CO2 lasers, as well as four exchangeable build units that allow operators to put finished parts inside for cooling in order to continue printing; together, these features offer users that high print speed they desire. The QLS 350 works with materials like PA11 and PA12, which are replacements for injection molding-grade materials, as well as high-temperature materials like PA6, and its software—designed to work in a cluster with several printers for increased productivity—lets users measure the features that matter most, including build success rate and machine uptime, thanks to a KPI dashboard monitor. The software also operates as a digital twin, which allows users to track telemetrics, such as laser power, scan speed, and temperature, and trace old data to specific parts. According to Kuba Graczyk, the Head of QLS Business at Nexa3D, the QLS 350 “could change how industry uses additive manufacturing in serial production.”

“We wanted to address the problems associated with traditional SLS systems, such as lack of modularity and flexibility. This includes the biggest bottleneck caused by these systems — the need to print and cool parts in the same machine. The made to measure, exchangeable unit in the QLS 350 removes this bottleneck, enabling manufacturers to continue operations while a part cools, a big step forward for SLS systems,” Graczyk said.

The QLS 350 is now available for preorder on the Nexa3D’s website, or through its network of resellers.

In addition to strengthening its hardware portfolio, the company has been making strides in growing its team as well, and began a targeted recruitment campaign this summer that’s been drawing some major talent. Last month, Nexa3D hired Sarah Goehrke as Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Ecosystems, and this week at Formnext, it’s announced some additional key leadership hires that will shore up the team’s technical, marketing, and sales activities.

L-R: Dr. Mehdi Mojdeh, Nina Swienton, Melissa Hanson, Michael Currie

First, 3D printing technology development expert Dr. Mehdi Mojdeh joined the company in September as Vice President of Engineering. With more than two decades of leadership and technical experience, he was majorly involved in developing several 3D printing processes at 3D Systems, before joining Align Technology to develop more AM technologies and their applications. Beginning her tenure this month, senior marketing executive Nina Swienton was appointed Nexa3D’s new Chief Marketing Officer, bringing her 20 years of experience in building brands and speeding growth for software and technology-based B2B companies to the position. She was previously a Vice President of Marketing at Protolabs, leading branding, product marketing, and demand generation efforts for seven years.

Michael Currie was hired this month as the company’s new Vice President, General Manager Desktop Business Unit, and his leadership began with the launch of the aforementioned new ultrafast polymer desktop XiP 3D printer. Currie has plenty of Industry 4.0 experience and has led new product launches, growing sales teams in high-tech sectors, and go-to-market initiatives in executive leadership roles at companies like HubSpot, Formlabs, and most recently Gecko Robotics. Finally, Melissa Hanson, Nexa3D’s new Vice President, Product and Marketing Management, was also hired this month, with over 15 years of experience driving growth for SaaS and manufacturing technology companies and plenty of passion for finding the real stories of how AM can improve lives. Until 2017, she was the Head of Marketing for Stratasys’ Americas region, and implemented effective new go-to-market strategies for 3D printers, part services, and materials, and while serving after as Vice President of Marketing for Trimble’s Transportation sector, Hanson was in charge of a major performance marketing transformation.

“We are growing by leaps and bounds, attracting a world class group of kindred spirit to our company, so that together, we can do the best work of our professional journey,” Reichental said. “I am super excited to welcome a group of outstandingly accomplished teammates to our company. Our mission is to digitize supply chain sustainably. We exist to democratize access to affordable, useful, and sustainable, additively manufactured products that are good for humanity and our planet. When we founded Nexa3D, some five years ago, we understood that the day before something is truly breakthrough, it’s just another crazy idea. We knew that dreams take time, and a great deal of perseverance to accomplish. Today, our dreams are no longer just crazy ideas…they are becoming real breakthroughs and with that the means to scale and lead.”

The last piece of Formnext news from Nexa3D is its new partnership with AI-powered manufacturing software startup Oqton, which was recently acquired by 3D Systems. Nexa3D wants to meet the demand for 3D printed patient-specific dental appliances and aligners, and as such has launched a new dental software, powered by Oqton, that will help grow the reach and utility of its AM dental production solutions.

“This partnership with Nexa3D helps to serve the growing demand for additively manufactured dental models, restorations, and aligners. We partnered with Nexa3D to expand access to our automated and smart dental manufacturing software tools, so that more dental manufacturing customers can easily meet their quality requirements and continuously drive productivity and operational improvements as they scale their dental manufacturing operations,” said Oqton CEO Ben Schrauwen. “Our software is powered by AI that enables continuous learning, significantly reducing human error while improving efficiency and quality throughout the entire manufacturing process, delivering greater machine productivity and considerable time-savings.”

Nexa3D’s dental portfolio includes certified dental materials, the NXD 200 dental production 3D printer, automated post-processing solutions, and now Oqton’s software, which offers autonomous support, label creation tools that automatically generate lattice or cone supports for 3D printing at scale and reducing post-processing, and a high-density nesting and packing tool that offers what the company says is the market’s “highest density automated nesting.” Using this software, dental labs and aligner manufacturers can automate their workflows and trace every action from the dental manufacturing process, and, paired with the NXD 200, can reduced lower costs and higher throughput.

The new Oqton Software for Nexa3D is available for purchase immediately from authorized resellers.

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