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3D Printing News Briefs, February 10, 2022: Business, Medical, & More

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We’re starting out with business in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as EOS has launched a new network to connect businesses with certified AM manufacturers and Meltio announced a sales partner in the Benelux region. Moving on to medical news, PrinterPrezz and Uniformity Labs are working together to lower the cost of manufacturing advanced medical devices, and a 3D printed titanium anterior cervical plate has received FDA clearance. Finally, Lamborghini and Thor3D are getting in on the NFT craze with 3D printing.

EOS Launches New Production Network to Connect Businesses

L-R: Jan Löfving, CEO of Prototal, with Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS – at the Prototal GTP Site

First up, 3D printing solutions provider EOS recently launched a new end-to-end production network to help connect businesses of all sizes, from startups to OEMs and SMEs, with certified 3D printing manufacturers, which are selected EOS partners. The network will be set up first in the EMEA, and EOS plans to grow it over the next several months, and the first contract manufacturer to join is Prototal Industries, the largest and most specialized AM company in Scandinavia. Companies that join the network will gain an understanding of serial production requirements, and customers who work with these members will have the confidence of knowing that each partner has top industry knowledge and has been assessed against important criteria verifying their financial security and competence. Members will also share their expertise with the rest of the network to ensure that quality standards are maintained.

“With more than 30 years of experience in offering comprehensive additive manufacturing solutions, EOS understands market requirements for series production and with this new network we want to create added value for both parties involved – those offering manufacturing services and those in search for it,” said Mark Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS.

“This will take much of the complexity and risk out of choosing a manufacturing partner for serial production businesses, with the most innovative designs and bring products to market faster, using the latest state-of-the-art 3D printing technology and draw on the vertical industry expertise and know-how within the network.”

Meltio Announces 3D Printer Solutions as Benelux Sales Partner

Meltio M450

Laser metal deposition solutions manufacturer Meltio announced that 3D Printer Solutions, a specialist in the 3D printing market for nearly ten years, is now its official sales partner in the Benelux metal AM market, and will play an important role in distributing and supporting Meltio’s technology in the region. Meltio’s metal 3D printing solution is built around welding wire, which is an affordable, clean, and safe metal feedstock, and the company’s technology enables industrial applications. As a sales partner, 3D Printer Solutions will work to set up a supportive ecosystem in the Benelux market for Meltio’s solutions, and drive business opportunities with academia, industry, technology centers, tooling machine companies, and more.

In order to introduce Meltio’s metal AM technology to the market in the Benelux region 3D Printer Solutions is organizing a webinar, which you can register for here. The webinar will be held at 10 am EST (4 pm CET) on February 23rd, and feature Meltio’s CTO Brian Matthews and Ralf Verhoeven, the CEO at 3D Printer Solutions.

PrinterPrezz, Uniformity Labs Sign MoU for Advanced Medical Devices

Moving on, Uniformity Labs and PrinterPrezz have entered into a relationship with the goal of lowering the manufacturing costs of advanced medical devices. The two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in which PrinterPrezz will use Uniformity’s ultra-low porosity Ti64 titanium powder and laser powder bed fusion and binder jetting technologies for medical device applications. Their first joint project will be to qualify this powder in order to print implantable medical devices, starting with spinal implants 3D printed on 3D Systems ProX DMP systems. Together, PrinterPrezz and Uniformity Labs will work to qualify these implants for clearance through the FDA regulatory approval process.

“This is a tremendous market opportunity and the perfect application for our ultra-low porosity titanium powder. We have an excellent working relationship with PrinterPrezz and are excited by the prospect of combining our novel technology with their life-changing innovation platform,” said Adam Hopkins, the Founder and CEO of Uniformity Labs. “Other industries have already adopted our printing processes to enhance the 3D printing value proposition significantly, and we look forward to having the same impact in the medical segment through this partnership.”

FDA Clearance for “First” 3D Printed Titanium Anterior Cervical Plate

Quantum Anterior Cervical Plate

Speaking of the FDA, Nvision Biomedical Technologies and Watershed Idea Foundry, which are sister organizations within the Fountainhead Investment Partners portfolio, announced that they’ve received FDA clearance for the Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System, which they say is the first fully 3D printed titanium anterior cervical plate. The system has several specialized features, like dual-plate finishes with a textured posterior surface and polished anterior surface, a nested assembly with the screw-locking cover 3D printed as a single unit inside the plate, and enhanced screw holes that allow surgeons to use a shorter plate, because they accommodate 30 degrees of cephalad/caudal angulation. The Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System, which also uses Structural Encoding capabilities in order to address Unique Device Identification (UDI) requirements from the FDA, really showcases how 3D printing can positively impact patient care, as its design features anatomically optimized placement and increased flexibility, which could mean less time in the operating room.

“By additive manufacturing the Quantum system, we leveraged design options that were not available with machined plates,” explained Nvision’s Senior Vice President of Product Development Tom Zink. “The active locking system is integrally printed within the plates, and therefore never assembled, which means the locks cannot become unassembled in the surgical field. The posterior side of the Quantum plates present texture to allow for osteointegration and is designed to allow the plate to absorb load that with traditional plates is fully on the screws. With the hyper angulation of the screw holes design, the surgeon has the option to place the screws as far away from adjacent levels as possible.”

Lamborghini’s Carbon Fiber Key Unlocks an NFT

These days, we’re hearing more and more about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are a way to buy and trade art using a crypto platform, and Italian automaker Lamborghini is the latest to take part in the craze: its Space Key doesn’t so much unlock cars as it unlocks an NFT. Basically, pieces of 3D printed advanced continuous carbon fiber composite material were sent to the International Space Station by Lamborghini two years ago as part of a joint research project, and once the materials were sent back and all the tests were completed, this used space junk was subsequently recycled into five Space Keys, each of which feature a unique QR code that will send the owner to what the automaker calls an “exclusive and purely digital [piece of] artwork.” There isn’t a lot of public information about these Space Keys yet, only that they will be auctioned at a later date.

“Innovation is a deeply rooted part of the Lamborghini DNA” and “the NFT world has been calling to us, and we are excited about engaging with this very passionate and innovative community,” said Stephan Winkelmann, the CEO of Lamborghini.

Thor3D Launched Green NFT Project

Finally, continuing with NFT news, 3D scanning company Thor3D announced that it has begun an NFT project in order to raise awareness about the possibilities for sustainability in our industry and lowering the plastic footprint on the ecosystem. The idea came about when the company received a box full of defective casings for its Calibry scanners, and while the supplier did send a new batch, Thor3D didn’t know what to do about the bad ones. So the company decided to give the unusable plastic casings to an artist, who could turn them into works of art, and then Thor3D would sell the pieces and donate the proceeds to the Global Footprint Network non-profit; the NFTs for the Plastic Forms collection were listed on the OpenSea platform. It’s a good concept, except for the inherent conflict between recycling plastic and using cryptocurrency, which consumes a very large amount of energy. But, the resulting artwork is pretty fascinating.

“Being a true admirer of abstract art and avant-garde, I referred to constructivism, as the most suitable art movement to explore the artistic possibilities of plastic 3D scanner casings. One of the pivotal ideas of the constructive art – the materials dictate to an artist the form of the artwork (unlike the traditional fine art, where an artist transforms the materials). This approach was regarded as archetypal modern style, which embodied the dynamism of modern life,” Victoria, the artist, wrote about the collection.

“Elongated, glossy and rounded body shape of the scanner dictated particular forms and paint I could use. On the one hand, it restricted me. On the other – being led by object’s form pushed me into breaking my own boundaries. Another kernel of the constructive art movement – composition is replaced by the construction. In this sense the conventional understanding of esthetics is abolished. The artforms were created not for the sake of art and beauty, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art.”

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