3D Printing News Briefs, June 2, 2022: 3D Printers, Research, Tooling, & More

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We’re starting off with news from Farsoon in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as the company has four new 3D printer models ready for the European market. Desktop Metal and Lumafield are combining their skills to improve the supply chain, and Pepsi Co. used Nexa3D’s technology to create tooling. Finally, Etteplan is supporting research that could lead to an AM breakthrough.

Farsoon Expanding Portfolio in the European Market

Farsoon Technologies promotes 3D printed series production of parts, and as such, has announced that four new models from its portfolio are ready to be launched in the European market. The company paid attention to customer feedback from Italy and Germany when developing the open models at its Chinese headquarters, and their performance has been validated with several customers in China, as well as at the HQ application center. This portfolio expansion, which was showcased at the recent Rapid.Tech 3D trade fair, will increase productivity of parts production, as well as target the higher quality and resolution of parts printed out of plastic and metal powders.

The first new model is the Farsoon Flight-HT403P-2, with moveable cartridges, two scanners, and two 300 watt fiber lasers working to produce plastic parts using Farsoon’s special powder bed technology, Flight (fiber laser light). The Farsoon HT1001P-2 is the company’s largest laser sintering system, and features a high degree of automation, as it uses the company’s Continuous Additive Manufacturing Solution (CAMS), which automatically changes build cylinders after a job is complete. The new Farsoon FS422M-4 uses four lasers and scanners on a 420 x 420 mm2 build area, and the metal powder can be circulated in a closed loop; additionally, it also features a higher build height and optimized software. Finally, the Farsoon FS621M-4 meets the request for a much higher envelope with a 620 x 620 mm2 build area, making it what Farsoon says is “one of the largest laser melting machines available on the market.” Additionally, the printer’s powder filter systems enable a filter exchange without interrupting a print.

Lumafield & Desktop Metal Strengthening the Supply Chain

We know now that 3D printing was a big help to the supply chain during the many disruptions that the pandemic brought, but CAD models of each part are required. Lumafield, and its X-ray CT scanning technology, is able to digitize internal and external part features in detail, and is now offering a Supply Chain Resilience Package together with Desktop Metal and its range of AM solutions, so that manufacturers can quickly scan and reproduce important parts in-house to strengthen their own supply chain. Desktop Metal’s software and 3D printers can turn Lumafield’s mesh models into high-quality metal or polymer parts.

The benefits of the Supply Chain Resilience Package include holding your place in line for delivery of a Lumafield CT scanner, 15 free CT scans performed at Lumafield’s facility while you wait for your Neptune, and application engineering support for 3D printing workflow mesh extraction. But, this deal only works if you reserve a Lumafield X-Ray CT system and a Desktop Metal 3D printer between May 1, 2022 and July 1, 2022. To activate the package, place a $1,000 refundable deposit for a Neptune CT scanner, and then share your invoice showing the purchase of a qualified Desktop Metal 3D printer, dated between May 1 and July 1. Desktop Metal machines included in this package include all of its metal printers, such as the Shop System, the Studio System, X-Series, and all Production System models, including the P-1 and P-50. Additionally, all ETEC DLP polymer 3D printers, like the D4K, P4K, Envision One XL, and Xtreme 8K, are included.

PepsiCo Uses Hybrid Solution to Cut Costs & Time

Generating over $79 billion in net revenue last year, PepsiCo‘s products include many tasty foods and drinks, with such iconic brands as Gatorade, Doritos, Mountain Dew, SodaStream, and more. Speed to market is vital in the consumer goods market, and the company needed a faster, less expensive way to create metal tooling for the blow molding of its many bottles. It can cost up to $10,000 to produce a metal tool set, and take up to a month, and while 3D printing could help, a blow molding tool printed in three days on a $250,000 PolyJet system out of pricey ABS is less durable. So PepsiCo worked with Dynamism, a partner of Nexa3D, to use a hybrid approach—3D printed inserts with a conventional metal mold—and get the job done.

Dynamism validated Nexa3D’s xPEEK147 from Henkel Loctite for printing the tool inserts, as the material is strong and has a high heat deflection temperature. They were printed on the high-throughput NXE 400 3D printer, which helped PepsiCo decrease its prototype tooling development time from four weeks to just 48 hours. Using its hybrid solution, the company can make a complete mold set in 12 hours, including eight hours of print time and four hours of curing. The resulting molds can be used to make more than 10,000 bottles, at a 96% cost reduction ($350 per mold set) in comparison to traditionally-made metal tooling.

Etteplan Supporting AM Research Project in Sweden

Finally, technology service company Etteplan, which specializes in software, embedded solutions, and engineering, is putting its additive manufacturing expertise to good use in supporting the ongoing ProThin AM project, which is part of the Swedish strategic innovation program Produktion2030. Led by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, the project will last until 2024, and investigate the robustness of the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) AM process. The main goal is to determine how to use LPBF technology to 3D print components with thin walls and narrow channels, and eventually set up a methodology that will allow for serial production of components with these features. All ten project partners will offer their particular expertise to the project; for instance, Etteplan will help with product design and process simulation.

“Currently, it is possible to design complex components with such geometry, but reality and simulation are different. If you can’t do simulations correctly linked to the LPBF behavior with the material properties, you can´t predict the reliability of manufacturing the components. This will save time, money, and material,” explained Niklas Eriksson, an additive manufacturing expert with Etteplan’s Engineering Solutions Service.

“If you can produce the desired structures, manufacturers can build products with higher functionality. The parts can be lighter and require less material. That would also result in parts that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Our focus will be on simulation and design optimization for LPBF technology. Developing simulation workflows is very important and of great value regarding predictability and accuracy. We want to get more knowledge on the technical limitations to ensure that even complex parts fulfill the requirements.”

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