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3D Printing News Briefs, August 18 2022: Machine Learning, Meatless Meat, & More

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We’re taking care of business first in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as a former GE executive has joined the senior management team of Nano Dimension and Velo3D welcomes StarHagen to its Contract Manufacturer Network. Moving on, Snapmaker announced that its Artisan 3-in-1 3D printer is now available for pre-order. In research, an MIT CSAIL team is training a machine learning model to monitor and adjust 3D printing to correct errors in real time. Finally, SavorEat has launched some new 3D printed plant-based meat alternatives.

Former GE Executive Joins Nano Dimension Team

Dale Baker

First up, 3D printed electronics leader Nano Dimension, headquartered in Israel, announced that former GE executive Dale Baker will be joining its senior management team as President of Nano Dimension – America, replacing Sean Patterson. Throughout his career, Baker has served as the President or CEO of seven companies, and been involved in the acquisition and subsequent integration of over 25 companies. Most recently, he worked at GE and in its Electrical Distribution and Control business, before eventually joining GE Capital and rising to the role of Senior Vice President and Manager of the New York office for Corporate Finance. At Nano Dimension – America, Baker will be in charge of expanding the company’s US operations, as well as executing its current organic mergers and acquisitions growth strategy and leading worldwide sales activity.

Baker said, “I am excited by the opportunity to impact the additive manufacturing and electronic manufacturing industries, leading Nano Dimension to revolutionise Industry 4.0 by digitising supply chain activities and converting manufacturing into a neural network of edge-devices, enabling customers to manufacture, print, inject, when and where needed.

“I am not only excited about the opportunity, but also by the actions they have already taken, the foundation they have built and the vision which we shall make a reality.”

Velo3D Contract Manufacturer Network Welcomes StarHagen

Metal AM leader Velo3D (NYSE: VLD) announced that the newest partner in its Contract Manufacturer Network is StarHagen, which provides high-quality production parts for aerospace companies. Based in North Carolina, StarHagen specializes in manufacturing with extreme precision for production volume and prototype manufacturing and operates a variety of CNC machines. Now, the contract manufacturer can add another machine to its portfolio with the purchase of a Sapphire 3D printer from Velo3D, which is calibrated to print in nickel-based superalloy Inconel 625 and will help StarHagen deliver high-quality aerospace parts for high-performance designs. StarHagen wanted to work with Velo3D partly due to its ease of use, as its Sapphire printers can be easily monitored by operators experienced in traditional CNC machining.

“Our team has extensive experience manufacturing high-value parts for aerospace applications and to maintain our leadership position in the industry we knew we needed an additive manufacturing solution. In our evaluation of offerings on the market we found that none could exceed the capabilities delivered by Velo3D,” stated Scott Anderson, StarHagen Managing Director. “The company’s unique capability of printing parts with minimal supports and its extensive adoption within the aerospace industry—including with some of our existing customers—gives us the confidence that we will be successful with our deployment.”

Snapmaker Announces Available Pre-orders for Artisan 3-in-1 3D Printer

Snapmaker develops, manufactures, and sells 3-in-1 desktop 3D printers that integrate 3D printing, laser engraving and cutting, and CNC carving. The digital manufacturer has just announced that the Artisan, which is its latest generation system, is now available for pre-order through its official store. The Artisan is an improvement to the company’s flagship Snapmaker 2.0, which was the most-funded technology project on Kickstarter in 2019, and has the same level of performance and quality, but with more features to turn your desktop into a workshop.

The printer boasts a 400 x 400 x 400 mm work area, an integrated control system with an ultra-wide 7″ touchscreen, and a compatible enclosure for extra safety. Additional features the Artisan provides include next-gen linear modules with embedded steel guiderails for more durability and precision, as well as 300°C dual extrusion 3D printing and quick-swap platforms and tool heads. The next-generation desktop 3D printer also offers a 10W laser engraving module and a 200W CNC carving and cutting module. The pre-order price for the new Artisan 3-in-1 will be $2,799 with free shipping, available on the Snapmaker store.

MIT CSAIL Researchers Control Digital Manufacturing with AI

Researchers from MIT CSAIL (Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory), along with a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria, created a machine learning system that uses computer vision to monitor 3D print jobs and adjust the process to fix errors in real time; the research was published here. Typically, expert operators use trial and error when working with new materials to find the best parameters for consistent, effective printing, and the researchers have streamlined this lengthy procedure using artificial intelligence. They taught a neural network how to adjust print parameters through the use of simulations, and then applied the closed-loop controller to a real 3D printer, which they report was able to print objects more accurately than other controllers to which they’d compared it. Training a neural network in this way is not nearly as expensive as it would be to print thousands of real objects for training purposes, and engineers can potentially incorporate novel materials into their prints more easily in order to create objects with special properties.

“This project is really the first demonstration of building a manufacturing system that uses machine learning to learn a complex control policy. If you have manufacturing machines that are more intelligent, they can adapt to the changing environment in the workplace in real-time, to improve the yields or the accuracy of the system. You can squeeze more out of the machine,” explained senior author Wojciech Matusik, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT who leads the Computational Design and Fabrication Group (CDFG) within CSAIL.

SavorEat Launches New 3D Printed Plant-Based Products

Israeli food tech startup SavorEat makes 3D printed pork, turkey, and beef burgers. (Image courtesy of SavorEat)

Israeli food tech startup SavorEat, which uses a patent-pending smart robot chef system to 3D print plant-based meat alternatives like vegan beef burgers, has added some new meatless products to its pantry, including vegan turkey burgers and kosher, gluten-free, allergen-free, vegan pork patties. The startup’s patties are made out of peas and other plant-based proteins with sunflower and coconut fats; when combined with a plant-based cellulose fiber during 3D printing, a meat-like texture is created. SavorEat will likely offer Israeli diners its new 3D printed food products, but the plant-based options were actually developed specifically for the company’s main focus, which is the US market.

“The new products were developed to adapt to SavorEat’s primary market – the US. The many tests we conducted show that these two products are trendy among American target audiences,” said SavorEat Co-Founder and CEO Racheli Vizman. “Therefore, we also developed them in preparation for the first commercial activity expect to begin in the US by the end of this year as part of our collaboration with Sodexo.”

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