3D Printing News Briefs, May 25, 2023: Post-Processing, Osteoarthritis, & More


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We’re starting out with business in 3D Printing News Briefs today, as Exentis appointed Eric Bert the President of Exentis Americas, and 3YOURMIND announced Alexandre Donnadieu has been promoted to its Chief Commercial Officer. Moving on to post-processing, Shapeways chose AM Solutions for its 3D printing post-processing needs. Finally, B9Creations and South Dakota Mines are using 3D printing to help find a cure for osteoarthritis, and Viscient Biosciences announced the first drug candidate discovered primarily with 3D bioprinted tissue models of disease.

Eric Bert Appointed President of Exentis Americas

Dr Gereon Heinemann, CEO Exentis Group AG (right), welcoming Eric Bert, newly appointed President Exentis Americas, as part of the Exentis leadership team.

Swiss company Exentis Group AG, which provides a proprietary 3D technology platform that enables industrial large-scale production, has appointed Eric Bert to the newly created position of President, Exentis Americas. An experienced executive with over 35 years of technology management experience, including 15 years in leadership and senior commercial roles in the AM industry, Bert will set up the new Exentis 3D technology platform in North America, and establish a sales and service network via this new entity. Bert most recently served as Senior Vice President – Commercial at Inkbit, and also had important roles at 3DMEDiTech, Arcam, a GE Additive company, and Stratasys. He will put his experience to good use by accelerating the company’s internationalization by expanding into the U.S.

“During my career in the additive manufacturing industry so far, I have never come across a company with such great potential as Exentis,” Bert said. “Large-scale additive manufacturing of industrial parts or clean room applications, paired with a completely free choice of materials and no need for any post-processing, is unique. With its superior 3D technology platform offering significant cost-benefit advantages, Exentis will clearly tap into demand currently supplied by traditional manufacturing technologies, going forward. Joining the dynamic Exentis team and being part of this exciting high growth journey is a great opportunity.”

Alexandre Donnadieu Promoted to CCO of 3YOURMIND

In other AM executive news, Alexandre Donnadieu, the Managing Director of North America for 3YOURMIND, has been promoted, and appointed as the on-demand manufacturing software company’s new Chief Commercial Officer. For over five years in his previous role, Donnadieu contributed to the company’s global strategy, and grew North America into 3YOURMIND’s main market, generating 75% of total revenue and helping the company position itself as an industry leader. Donnadieu has spent his whole career working in digital transformation for industrial operations, helping to advocate and lead advanced manufacturing digital transformation initiatives in the automotive, energy, and defense industries, and prior to 3YOURMIND, advised CEOs and COOs of top-tier industrial firms on Industry 4.0 and how to define their business case for AM.

“The manufacturing industry is poised to embrace many critical challenges humanity faces. 3YOURMIND is, and will continue to be, a major driver of change for industries like defense and energy toward greater resilience and sustainability of their spare parts supply chains,” Donnadieu said.

Shapeways Chooses AM Solutions as Post-Processing Technology Supplier

AM Solutions’ S1 machine in situ at Shapeways’ Eindhoven-based facility, which in combination with the S2 machine reduces average part cleaning time from 2 hours to 20-30 minutes

Digital manufacturing and 3D printing expert Shapeways Inc. has selected AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology as its post-processing technology supplier. In order to continue optimizing outcomes for its customers, Shapeways invests in processes and technologies that help automate the AM process chain, and determined that post-processing automation from AM Solutions was the right choice to save time and offer quality solutions to its expanding enterprise customer base. Shapeways invested in the S1 and S2 post-processing machines from AM Solutions, which allow it to reduce cleaning and finishing from a two-step to a one-step process. These systems use only poly beads for depowdering and finishing in one step, and by eliminating glass bead blasting from the process, Shapeways saves time and money. The smart S1 solution features a blast media conditioning system and new air management system to enable cleaning and surface finishing in one self-contained unit. The fully automatic S2 is designed for 24/7 operation to post-process plastic parts printed using powder bed fusion. Its special loop belt allows for individual part flow and gentle handling, and an integrated abrasive recycling system, plus automatic monitoring, ensure repeatable high quality results with short cycle times and reduced scrap.

“On a daily basis, Shapeways can process anything up to 2000 parts on an array of SLS and MJF powder-bed printers, some one-off parts, some in batches, and consisting of various geometries and perhaps requiring upwards of 20 different surface finishes. This means that an automated rather than a manual post-processing operation is vital, which is why we worked with AM Solutions to customize a machine to meet our needs,” said Jules Witte, Plant Manager at Shapeways Eindhoven-based facility.

“The S1 is a great machine, the key being its useability. The size of the machine, and the fact that it separates the media from the powder removed from the AM parts means powder recycling is optimised. This saves cost, and it is an extremely clean machine to use. With the S2 we were part of the beta testing program, and what we found was that from a technology perspective it took a substantial step towards being a flow process which promoted automation, quality, and repeatability. This coupled with the large capacity of the machine were the key areas of interest. Through the use of the S1 and S2, average part cleaning time has reduced from 2 hours to 20-30 minutes, and we are able to reduce the number of machines we use to service our AM part production volumes from 6 to 3. This saves space, allows us to organise for more flow in the process, and saves energy (anything from 2-4 Megawatts per month).”

B9Creations & South Dakota Mines Researching Osteoarthritis Cure

AM solutions provider B9Creations partnered with a South Dakota Mines research team to study what causes osteoarthritis, and use 3D printing and joint-on-a-chip technology to help build a knowledge foundation to one day find a cure. The Mines research team used B9Creations’ 3D printing technology to pioneer and patent a technology called CellWell, which uses a 3D printed housing to connect it with technologies modeling other parts of the joint. This 3D printed fluidic device will allow researchers to model, study, and test cartilage cells in new ways. CellWell is a combination of micropatterning, nanotechnology, and mechanically tunable thin-film composite materials, and it nests individual cells in an environment that allows them to keep their physiological shape and nature, but also be studied. The project has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, including a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant. The CellField Technologies startup aims to work as a research arm for small- to mid-size pharmaceutical companies that are working to find an osteoarthritis cure.

“Currently when cartilage cells are removed from the body to be studied in a traditional 2D culture system, they are notoriously difficult to work with because they basically transform into a completely different cell type within a week and a half. Our technology mimics human tissue structures to keep cells behaving in the lab the way they would in the body without limiting our ability to study their behavior,” explained Scott Wood, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the NanoScience & Biomedical Engineering Department. His students lead the R&D of the nanoscience technology that CellField uses.

“We’re excited about the potential future of the technology and the company. We hope it will be a game-changer in osteoarthritis research.”

Viscient Announces First Drug Found in 3D Bioprinted Disease Models

Finally, Viscient Biosciences, an early-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other liver diseases, announced that it has identified the first drug candidate to be discovered using 3D bioprinted tissue models of disease. NASH is a growing epidemic disease, believed to affect over 10% of the U.S. population, and can lead to liver failure. Viscient will work to develop this new drug to treat the disease, and it’s expected to enter clinical trials in 2024. The lead compound in the drug is a small molecule, delivered orally, that’s designed to hit a novel target, which was identified in 3D bioprinted disease models. The drug has been well-tolerated in preclinical trials, and a promising reduction of fibrosis has been seen in the models. Additionally, the model has proven accurate in predicting successes and failures among the other tested clinical compounds, and the gene expression of Viscient’s models is, according to a press release, “well correlated with that seen in disease samples from patients.”

“It is long past time to displace the model of drug development reliant on proof of activity in animals. Viscient’s trailblazing work has resulted in 3d cellular human models of disease in which the performance of previously tested compounds has matched clinical results. Failed NASH drugs never would have been put in humans based on what can be clearly seen in these models. Our novel compound shows fibrosis reduction in these models, as do NASH drugs known to work in Phase 3, and we are excited to move this lead program forward,” Viscient’s CEO Keith Murphy said.

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