3D Printing News Briefs, March 17, 2022: Software, Business, & More


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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting with software, as Senvol demonstrated a machine learning approach to material property allowables development as part of a USAF-funded study. Conflux Technology introduced its quality control software, and AddUp has released a new monitoring software for AM. On to business, as Headmade Materials has closed a €2.5 million Series A financing round, 3D Systems is partnering with Saremco Dental AG, and Collins Aerospace has increased its additive capability with an SLM Solutions multi-laser system. Finally, Badgemaster used Photocentric’s AM technology to make a new reusable name badge.

Senvol ML Demonstrates New Way to Develop AM Material Allowables

As part of a contract from America Makes, funded by the US Air Force, Senvol ML demonstrated a machine learning software approach to developing material property allowables for AM that was just as accurate as the conventional method, but more flexible, time-effective, and cost-effective. As the Technology Director of America Makes, Dr. Brandon Ribic, said, Senvol ML’s program, which supports the qualification of AM processes, showed a different approach to AM allowables that uses the data analysis approach of machine learning, as well as digital technology. Senvol worked with partners Northrop Grumman, the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, and Pilgrim Consulting on the program, which worked to demonstrate this new approach with a Nylon 11 Flame Retardant material, 3D printed using powder bed fusion technology.

“Senvol implemented data-driven machine learning technology that has the potential to substantially reduce the cost of material allowables development. By demonstrating an entirely new – and significantly more efficient – approach to allowables development, Senvol aims to drive tremendous value for the U.S. Air Force, the America Makes membership, and the additive manufacturing industry at large,” said Zach Simkin, the President of Senvol.

“The results of this America Makes program were incredibly successful. Additionally, we identified several other opportunity areas to go deeper into the machine learning capabilities to address this critical need for the industry. We look forward to continuing to partner with industry to advance this cutting edge area.”

Conflux Introduces Quantify Quality Control Software

Speaking of software, Australian company Conflux Technology, well-known for its 3D printed heat exchangers, has launched Conflux Quantify, a proprietary quality control software developed specifically for the unique geometries required for its heat exchangers. Because of the necessary resolution of the large data sets gathered from CT scanning whole heat exchangers or a series of parts, manual analysis of these sets is not possible; Conflux says that its new software provides a quantified analysis of large CT data sets.

Conflux uses proprietary laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) parameter sets that allow for otherwise impossible geometries, and the software analyzes and looks for defects in pore morphology and distribution, surface roughness, and wall thickness, in addition to other areas. It’s also said to offer better quality control, cheaper HXs because of less trial and error, and improved development capabilities, which leads to light/thinner/higher performance HXs.

AddUp Launches Dashboards Quality Assurance Software

AddUp, a joint venture between French industrial groups Michelin and Fives, recently launched AddUp Dashboards, a new multi-scale monitoring software available for its FormUp Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) and BeAM Directed Energy Deposition (DED) machines. The AM quality assurance software solution offers both historic process and real-time data for your printers, regardless of where they’re located, and displays a summary on an easy-to-read dashboard view. AddUp Dashboards receives data through MQTT and OPC-UA connections, which means it’s compatible across Industry 4.0 platforms.

AddUp Dashboards displays process data for 80 different parameters, including powder consumption, state of gas flow, oxygen and humidity levels, and more, and the information is refreshed at a fast rate of five seconds. By tracking data from every build, including the current one, users can get a good view of the progress and status of all their PBF and DED systems for the past month, or just look to see the last layering cycle of the previous build, both of which help monitor machine health. The user interface only requires a web browser, and can easily be customized with more than 25 different data visualization styles. AddUp Dashboards also has an alerting system, so if a printer’s status runs amok, email notifications can be sent to multiple users, or just one, so the issue is fixed in a timely manner.

Headmade Materials Finishes Series A Round

Germany-based 3D printing company Headmade Materials, which combines powder metallurgy with plastic 3D printing in its Cold Metal Fusion technology, announced that it has closed a Series A financing round that brought in about €2.5 million; combined with previous funding rounds, the company’s total now sits at €8.25 million. This capital will be used to continue developing its unique technology, as well as expand its international sales and production capacities. The lead investor this round was AM Ventures, and Btov Industrial Technologies Fund invested again.

“With decades of experience in industrial 3D printing, AM Ventures is the perfect fit for us,” said Christian Staudigel, the Co-Founder and CEO of Headmade Materials. “Moreover, the interaction with our existing investor Btov Industrial Technologies Fund has already worked excellently elsewhere in additive manufacturing.”

3D Systems, Saremco Dental AG Partnering for Digital Dentistry

Employing CROWNTEC as part of the NextDent digital dentistry solution enables production of permanent crowns that are 30% stronger than those produced using previous generations of C&B materials while reducing material waste.

In order to speed up innovation in the dental industry, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Swiss company Saremco Dental AG have entered into a strategic partnership and will combine the materials science expertise that Saremco offers with 3D Systems’ NextDent digital dentistry solution. Additionally, the two companies announced the immediate availability of the CROWNTEC composite resin for 3D printing biocompatible permanent restorations, including veneers, crowns, inlays, and artificial teeth for dentures, on the NextDent 5100 dental 3D printer. The CE-marked Class IIa material has 510(k) clearance and comes in multiple shades to match a patient’s teeth, and is said to create dental devices 30% stronger than previous materials were capable of producing.

“The pursuit of continuous innovation is our primary focus. For over 30 years, we have specialized in the development of light-curing resins for restorative dentistry. In recent years, we have been able to transfer our extensive know-how in the field of light curing to 3D printing technology and successfully develop it further. Especially with CROWNTEC’s superior physical properties, and wide range of indications we reached a new milestone,” said Franca Schmid, owner and CEO of Saremco Dental. “We are therefore particularly pleased about the strategic cooperation with 3D Systems, a partner with strong sales and innovation capacities. Furthermore, 3D Systems offers the entire digital workflow and thus excellently complements our resin-focused orientation.”

Collins Aerospace Adds SLM 3D Printing Capability

SLM Solutions announced that Collins Aerospace has increased its additive capabilities with the purchase of its 12-laser NXG XII 600 3D printing system. Collins, which specializes in designing and producing engine nozzles, already owns multiple SLM 280 and SLM 500 3D printers, and this new addition will only increase its production of lightweight 3D printed aerospace parts. With its large build size and faster speeds, the NXG XII 600 was made for serial production, and Collins, which is one of the first ten customers in the world to purchase the printer, will install the NXG XII 600 at its engine nozzle production facility in West Des Moines, Iowa. SLM Solutions will deliver the multilaser system in the second half of 2022.

“Collins Aerospace and SLM Solutions have been operating several SLM Solutions machines in different locations around the globe for a number of years now,” said Gerhard Bierleutgeb, Executive Vice President of Global Services and Solutions at SLM Solutions. “The procurement of the latest generation NXG XII 600 shows that both parties have successfully managed to service and operate this technology in an aerospace production environment.”

Photocentric’s Technology Used for Reusable Name Badge

Finally, British badge manufacturer Badgemaster used LCD 3D printing by Photocentric to create a new reusable name badge for a major retailer. Originally, Badgemaster created a design with a plastic injection molded back component, and a molding company was scheduled to tool and produce the badge, but the project was shelved during the pandemic. Once it restarted, they ran out of time when the customer requested a shorter lead time to coincide with a rebrand launch. Badgemaster knew that Photocentric built a 3D printing farm to fabricate face mask visor components for NHS and Care homes, and asked the company if it could deliver the product in time; after some product trials, the answer was determined to be yes. Badgemaster ordered 30,000 components for delivery within three weeks, and Photocentric printed them all on its LC Magna systems in Peterborough.

“We were thrilled to assist Ian and the team at Badgemaster for this project in which our print farm was able to deliver a rapid turnaround of components at the quality required, with no tooling necessary. Allowing our client to deliver for an important high street partner in a challenging timeframe is a great example of the strengths of additive manufacturing as a solution, and it emphasises the benefits of our LCD 3D technology,” said Sally Tipping, Sales Director for Photocentric.

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