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3D Printing News Briefs, May 7, 2022: Business, Helmets, & More

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Meltio has announced an official sales partner in the Sub-Saharan Africa region; this news begins our 3D Printing News Briefs today. Startup BIO INX, formerly known as XPECT INX, has incorporated, and secured four distribution partnerships. Kirby Morgan is using Carbon’s technology to 3D print components for dive helmets. Finally, Sepura is using the Stratasys J35 Pro to reduce development time and improve design of telecommunications equipment.

Meltio Announces Multitrade 3D Systems as Sales Partner

First up, laser metal deposition leader Meltio announced that it has appointed Multitrade 3D Systems as its official sales partner in the Sub-Saharan Africa metal AM market. Multitrade 3D Systems was established in 2019 to support the engineering industry that its distributors support with subtractive manufacturing, and specializes in supplying high-quality metal 3D printing systems. It’s already the authorized GE Additive sales representative in South Africa, and now supports Meltio sales for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Meltio’s wire LMD technology, which is built around what it calls the cleanest, safest, and most affordable metal feedstock, enables industrial applications. As an official Meltio sales partner, Multitrade 3D Systems will play an important part in distributing and supporting the company’s metal 3D printing solutions to help increase growth in the region. Multitrade 3D Systems will work to build up a strong, supportive ecosystem for Meltio’s wire LMD systems in the Sub-Saharan Africa territory, and will partner with academia, technology centers, industry, robotic integrators, and tooling machine companies to drive business opportunities for Meltio’s solution.

BIO INX Incorporates, Announces Partnerships

3D printed ‘heart’ structure in a bioink developed by BIO INX.

Belgian biomaterials startup BIO INX BV, formerly known as XPECT INX, has rebranded during its incorporation process. The startup focuses on developing and commercializing high-performance bioinks for 3D printing tissues and cells in regenerative medicine applications. BIO INX mainly works on biomaterials for high-resolution laser-based AM methods, but offers equivalent inks for other types as well, so researchers can easily transfer from one technology to another with comparable material properties. Right now, BIO INX offers five inks for deposition-based printing, and four inks for multiphoton lithography, including one that allows for live cell encapsulation down to 1 µm resolution; the startup is currently developing materials for digital light projection technology, which will be commercialized in the near future. Additionally, BIO INX has four announced four distribution partnerships: Regemat 3D and FELIXprinters for deposition-based 3D printing, and Nanoscribe and UpNano  for high-resolution printing.

“XPECT INX, allowed us to further develop the technology elaborated in our PhD research, and turn this into a viable product. We believe that launching BIO INX® was the best method to bring our technology from Academic research to real world applications,” said Jasper Van Hoorick, the CEO of BIO INX.

Kirby Morgan, DPI, & Carbon 3D Printing Components for Dive Helmets

Kirby Morgan Dive Systems, Inc. creates high-quality underwater breathing equipment, and its comfortable, lightweight dive helmets are used for commercial applications, like installing and maintaining offshore oil rigs, and inspection and repair of hydroelectric dams and ships. The company began researching the use of 3D printing years ago, in an effort to make more comfortable, durable, light components for its dive helmets, and ended up partnering with Diversified Plastics, Inc. (DPI) for this purpose. DPI is a member of the Carbon Production Network, and its Acceleration Station is powered by Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) process; this system, along with two other processes at Kirby Morgan, was used to 3D print seven lattice compression pads for the interior of the helmets.

Traditionally foam is used for these pads, but the 3D printed ones offer lightweight, integrated surface skin and lattice compression zones that vary in density depending on where they sit on the diver’s head, which improves the comfort of the helmet. DPI used several software applications to create the variable-density lattice structure and integrated outer skin of the compression pads, and worked with Carbon to complete print scripts that were modified to fit Kirby Morgan’s cost needs. Over 20 design iterations of the pads were 3D printed using Carbon’s EPU40 resin, and the process made it more efficient to print new designs and test them the next day.

Sepura Using Stratasys J35 Pro to Improve Telecommunications Equipment

Stratasys’ J35 Pro 3D Printer is being used to produce key prototypes, including ID models for the latest generation of radios and functional test pieces for new battery development.

Finally, Sepura, a British telecommunications equipment provider, is using PolyJet 3D printing from Stratasys to improve the design, and reduce the development time, of its new products, reporting that it’s decreased model lead times by over 90%. Last year, Sepura purchased the compact Stratasys J35 Pro, and has integrated the multimaterial PolyJet system into its design operations, using it to print extremely realistic prototypes and cut prototyping from two weeks to a single day. Sepura designs, manufactures, and supplies digital mobile radio products and systems for commercial businesses and public safety, and its technology is used in a number of rapid response operations. So prototype models need to be true-to-life and easily validated for reliability, fit, and suitability. The J35, with a rotating build tray to minimize moving parts, hands-free soluble support removal, and the ability to print up to three materials, has been used to print several test models for Sepura’s latest generation of radios, and functional test pieces for battery development.

“The variety of materials available with the J35 Pro allows us to create accurate prototypes and means our customers receive a detailed tangible model they can hold in their hands, move and test. We have found Elastico™ material to be particularly beneficial – we are able to produce sealing prototypes that simulate the look, feel and function of rubber and can withstand repeated flexing and bending,” said Paul Tindall, Sepura’s Head of R&D.

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