3D Printing News Briefs, February 18, 2023: Post-Processing, Footwear, & More

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First up in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, Wohlers Associates has published a specialty report on post-processing, and AON3D has launched a line of filaments. On to business, Lithoz and Wendt established a sales partnership to expand operations in India, Lockheed Martin Ventures is investing in Machina Labs, and VulcanForms appointed a Chief Financial Officer. We’ll finish off with fashion news, as Rains and Zellerfeld are collaborating to advance 3D footwear printing.

Wohlers Associates Publishes Post-Processing Report

This month, Wohlers Associates, powered by ASTM International, published a specialty report about post-processing for 3D printed parts. The Wohlers Specialty Report on Post Processing: Final Steps of AM Part Production, available for purchase on the Wohlers website, is an updated version of its 2021 Post-Processing of AM and 3D-Printed Parts report, but includes some new sections about the most current important developments in post-processing. This edition provides valuable, detailed, up-to-date information on producing the best parts using a range of 3D printing systems and methods, like material extrusion, powder bed fusion, and vat photopolymerization, as well as post-processing techniques. In addition to shining a light on some key industry players, the report also covers support removal methods for polymer and metal parts, heat treatment, surface finishing, coloring, and coating, and methods for lowering the need for post-processing, like designing parts so less support material is required.

“Little systematic documentation is available for post-processing, despite the vast amount of knowledge and experience individual companies have on the subject. Many consider it their intellectual property even though it is often similar to what other companies are doing,” explained Terry Wohlers, head of advisory services and market intelligence at Wohlers Associates.

“With the Wohlers Specialty Report on Post-Processing, we aim to present much of this information in one document. Our goal is to help companies stay up to date on the evolution of post-processing methods and processes so they can produce the best possible parts with the most value.”

AON3D Releases High-Performance Readyprint Filaments

High-temperature AM solutions provider AON3D has released a new line of high-performance 3D printing materials called Readyprint Filaments, said to reduce the complexities of industrial open material 3D printing without expensive open material license fees. Productivity is lost while trying to source good material suppliers, tuning the process parameters, and having to dry out hygroscopic materials when they arrive. Readyprint Filaments were created as a collaboration with AM materials company Kimya in order to make more accessible high-performance engineered polymers, and are sourced from high quality vendors with high quality management processes. They get extra factory drying, are ready to print right out of the box, and pre-configured process parameters make it easy for engineers to optimize for properties like print speed and quality, strength, and lightweighting. Readyprint filament options include HIPS, PETG and Carbon Fiber PETG, PPSU, ASA, HIPS, PC, ABS, ESD ABS, Carbon Fiber ABS, and more.

“AON3D Readyprint™ Filaments are industrial-grade materials optimized for out-of-the-box printing. Our goal is to remove the hassles of sourcing, conditioning, and tuning process parameters to get high-quality results with high performance materials,” said AON3D Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Kevin Han.

Lithoz Establishes Sales Partnership with Wendt India

In order to strategically expand its operations to India’s growing 3D printing market, ceramics 3D printing leader Lithoz GmbH has signed a sales partnership with Wendt India Ltd (WIL), which is in the field of super abrasive grinding wheels and machines. The partnership, which was announced at India’s top metal cutting industry expo IMTEX 2023 along with the Lithoz CeraFab System S65 printer, will allow both companies to grow and develop their business in India. Founded in 1983 and operated as a joint venture between German Wendt GmbH and Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI), WIL is ranked by the IGCC as one of the Top 25 Most Successful Indo-German Joint Ventures, and its new sales partnership with Lithoz is a great opportunity for both to firmly establish ceramic 3D printing in India.

“To successfully enter an important market like India, we are fully aware of the importance of choosing the best sales partner,” said Dr. Johannes Homa, Lithoz CEO. “We are very happy and excited to be working with the Wendt / Murugappa group in India and look forward to implementing their vast experience and business network in the field of machinery and precision components into our own work. As two market leaders joining forces, we are fully convinced that by uniting our expertise we will make fast progress in establishing ceramic 3D printing as an alternative production technology, strongly adding value in both fields.”

VulcanForms Announces Appointment of Chief Financial Officer

MIT-born company VulcanForms, which builds and operates advanced digital manufacturing infrastructure, announced that it has appointed experienced finance executive Dr. Philip Garton as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Dr. Garton brings more than three decades of experience at global organizations to his new position, having served as CFO at several private equity backed companies, such as Shoals Technologies Group, JM Swank, Lincoln Industrial Corporation, and more. These experiences and more will enable him to deliver major returns for the company’s shareholders and successfully support the rapid growth and scaling of VulcanForms’ digital manufacturing operations, as it’s been working to more than quadruple its production throughput at VulcanOne—the world’s highest throughout laser metal additive foundry.

“In my 27 years of experience as a CFO of multiple companies, the one area that I have enjoyed the most is advanced manufacturing. With the renewed American focus on reshoring of manufacturing, it was very clear to me on where I wanted to focus next and that is the reason why I decided to join VulcanForms. With the best technology stack and a fully integrated manufacturing approach, VulcanForms completely derisks the end-users, eliminates friction and offers a scalable long-term solution for its customers. It’s an exciting time to reshape American manufacturing and I see VulcanForms leading the way,” Dr. Garton said.

Lockheed Martin’s Venture Arm Invests in Machina Labs

On-demand manufacturing startup Machina Labs, which combines the latest robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) advances to rapidly manufacture advanced sheet metal products, has completed an investment by Lockheed Martin Ventures (LMV), the global aerospace and security company’s venture arm. The startup’s manufacturing platform allows businesses to benefit from these fast iterations to bring more products to market, and adds agility and flexibility to the manufacturing industry. The first process enabled by its patented manufacturing platform is geometry- and material-agnostic robotic sheet forming, and this latest funding, which brings the total raised by Machina Labs to $21.8 million, will be used to speed the company’s growth to meet customer demand, and to grow its R&D into additional metallurgical offerings and process.

“At Machina Labs, we are creating the factory of the future; one where a variety of designs and physical products can be produced on-demand and at scale,” said Edward Mehr, CEO and Co-Founder of Machina Labs.

“With Lockheed Martin’s investment, we can accelerate development of our sheet metal Roboforming to better serve the need of the defense sector and give the United States a competitive advantage in speed of development for national security and defense products.”

Rains & Zellerfeld Collaborate to Advance 3D Printed Footwear

Finally, Scandinavian lifestyle brand Rains partnered up with 3D printed footwear firm Zellerfeld to debut its own 3D printed shoe, called the Puffer Boot. The brand, known for a design approach that’s both functional and conceptual, previewed the “archetypal boot” at its AW23 fashion show in Paris, and the Puffer Boot fits this aesthetic perfectly. Its unique silhouette mixes air with the typical benefits of 3D printed footwear, like no stitches or glue and recyclable, as the puffer element on the instep of the shoe’s oversized shape is made of 90% air within the 3D printed structures.

Rains said that together with Zellerfeld, it was able to give the Puffer Boot an “organic shape with an intentional sculptural appearance reminiscent of a stone carving.” The brand believes that this new show is the beginning of “an exciting future for Rains as a leading fashion brand venturing into a new era of footwear following their success and achievements in lifestyle outerwear.”

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