3D Printing News Briefs, March 9, 2023: Pay Per Use Pricing, Material Development, & More


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We’ll take care of business first in 3D Printing News Briefs, as IperionX appoints a former Ford executive as an AM advisor. AMFG and Imperial College London won a government-funded Innovate UK Award, and Carbon is introducing a “pay per use” pricing option. Moving on, The Virtual Foundry is collaborating on material development with the University of Pécs. Finally, the BWT Alpine Formula 1 team purchased four SLA 3D printers from 3D Systems.

Former Ford Executive Appointed as IperionX’s AM Senior Advisor

Low carbon titanium developer IperionX Limited has appointed Harold Sears as its Additive Manufacturing Senior Advisor, which will help the company expand its technical capability to quickly 3D print low-cost, high-quality prototype and production titanium components for advanced industry applications. Sears has over 32 years of experience in rapid manufacturing, with 29 of those in additive manufacturing. He had what’s described as “a highly distinguished career” at Ford Motor Company, where he led a large team of AM specialists, engineers, and operators as Technical Leader of Additive Manufacturing Technologies. With his experience in scaling AM technologies for high-volume automotive production parts and proven capability for developing and implementing AM processes that use breakthrough technologies to produce prototypes and commercial parts, Sears will help guide the company’s AM capabilities expansion across multiple production methods

“I am excited to be working with IperionX to develop market leading in-house additive manufacturing capabilities. Their patented titanium technologies offer a valuable competitive advantage to customers that need to rapidly innovate with additive manufacturing, but at lower cost and lower environmental impact,” Sears said. “I look forward to assisting with building a world-class additive manufacturing division that will offer customers innovative and sustainable titanium components on shorter timeframes.”

AMFG & Imperial College London Win mKTP Award from Innovate UK

MES and workflow automation manufacturing software provider AMFG announced that, together with top research hub Imperial College London, it has won a Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) award. Winners of the competition, which is co-funded by Innovate UK, have the opportunity to work on transformational research, and this joint achievement will drive AMFG’s development of its fully autonomous manufacturing solution. There are still many sectors that haven’t adopted digitization or AM technology, and implementing autonomous manufacturing will be necessary to get past the remaining barriers and reduce lead times, with improved productivity as well. The mKTP will set AMFG up to continue development of end-to-end autonomy, along with Imperial College London’s knowledge and research experience in AM and design thinking. The work will be facilitated through research group meetings, new management structures, academic supervisions and activities, and Project Management, and the mKTP will set up the controlled environment needed to work on important R&D initiatives.

“Establishing strong collaborations with industry is central to modern academia, and together we can solve real-world problems. Teaming up with AMFG, we aim to do exactly that. Our mKTP will create exciting opportunities to build research activities across the digital manufacturing spectrum,” said Dr. Connor Myant, academic lead at Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering.

Carbon’s Pay Per Use Pricing Subscription

Carbon has introduced a range of new flexible pricing options, where customers can pay per use based on the number of hours a printer is used. The subscription model is good for low-volume applications, ramping up from low usage to high production, and high variability. Carbon’s five 3D printer models offer a variety of build volumes and price points, and printer pricing starts at $20,000 a year. There are several advantages to using a Carbon subscription, including flexibility in capital equipment investments, commitment to long-term success rather than a one-time sale, and include maintenance, updates, and support. Once your subscription has finished, you can either return your 3D printer, upgrade it (which you can also do during your term), or simply renew. Users will also have access to the latest software tools, support for new materials, and other platform updates and improvements.

“We focus on helping you succeed in delivering better products in less time–not on selling you equipment. We build an ongoing relationship with you starting the day your printer is installed, and consistently and reliably deliver technology updates, expertise, and support to help you every step of the way. We have proven this approach with a broad range of customers, from major global brands to family-owned businesses, helping them deliver exceptional products efficiently.”

The Virtual Foundry Signs Agreement with University of Pécs

The Virtual Foundry, which offers the only fully in-house metal 3D printing technology that doesn’t require cloud-based software, announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Pécs 3D Printing and Visualization Centre. The partnership will set up a long-term cooperation for 3D printing material development, and their joint research will be focused on the biocompatibility of FFF metal 3D printing with The Virtual Foundry’s Filamet. The institute in Hungary is equipped with specialized research and measurement equipment, along with 3D printers, in order to revolutionize the region’s development in 3D printing, and together, the two will publish Filamet’s biocompatibility level, mechanical characterization, and structural analyses. The expected results will likely have a major impact on polymer and metal composite development, and will, as The Virtual Foundry’s President Tricia Suess says, “advance our understanding of metal 3D printing and new material development.”

Dr. Péter Maróti, the professional leader of the 3D Printing and Visualization Center at PTE, said, “The cooperation with The Virtual Foundry could pave the way for future developments that would enable the production of metal medical devices, implants and prosthetic limbs using much smaller desktop 3D printers instead of expensive equipment that requires a lot of space and special infrastructure.

“During the project, we will carry out standardised mechanical, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and biocompatibility tests with special materials produced by The Virtual Foundry. We are confident that the measurements will open the way for applied use of the technology, which would enable faster and more cost-effective manufacturing.”

BWT Alpine F1 Team Adds Four 3D Systems SLA 750 Printers

With 4 new SLA 750 3D printers, BWT Alpine F1 Team realizes unparalleled productivity and part quality for wind tunnel models, small composite tools, and high-temperature bonding jigs in their ADM Center.

Finally, the BWT Alpine F1 Team has decided to strengthen its AM workflow, and improve its innovation, productivity, part quality, and speed to the track, with the addition of four SLA 750 3D printers from 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD). After the team put the printer through its paces during the beta phase, it was an easy decision to purchase them. The SLA 750 includes 3D Systems’ all-in-one 3D Sprint software for preparing, optimizing, and printing 3D CAD data, and the printers are being used to build models for wind tunnel testing, as well as small composite tools, complex aerodynamic parts with pressure tappings, and high-temperature bonding jigs. The models are printed using 3D Systems’ Accura Composite PIV material, which it co-developed with the BWT Alpine F1 team and is helping to improve the feature detail, surface quality, and geometric accuracy of parts, which leads to less post-processing and finishing time. Using the complete 3D Systems AM solution of the SLA 750, 3D Sprint, Accura Composite PIV, and advanced application services, the BWT Alpine F1 team has improved its understanding of airflow over its cars, and been able to maximize its wind tunnel investment.

“We are very impressed with the depth of precision engineering that went into the development of 3D Systems’ SLA 750. BWT Alpine F1 Team has a long-standing technical partnership with 3D Systems, and we were pleased to have early access to this product when it was still in beta,” said Ben Mallock, deputy head of aerodynamics, BWT Alpine F1 Team. “We put the SLA 750 through its paces during testing and achieved the best part quality we have so far seen in the market with considerably improved productivity. As a result, we purchased additional SLA 750 systems to bring our total to four. We are enjoying the positive impact this is having on our wind tunnel testing, and getting our innovation to the track faster. With the support of 3D Systems’ SLA and SLS solutions, we’re able to produce 25,000 additively manufactured parts each year. This is a true testament to the productivity these technologies enable.”

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