3D Printing News Briefs, July 6, 2023: Industry Collaborations, Biofabrication, & More

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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, the winners of the TCT Awards were honored. Elementum 3D hired a new Chief Financial Officer, and Sinaha Platform signed an agreement with Omega Future to create a national factory for 3D printing and educational robots will be built in Abu Dhabi. Tekna Holding and TriTech Titanium Parts are collaborating on titanium binder jetting, and Dimensionics Density announced that its recently launched density determination technology for additive manufacturing has attracted major interest. Finally, UMC Utrecht recently announced three innovations that will help make bioprinting more clinically relevant.

2023 TCT Awards Winners & More Announced

The prestigious TCT Awards, sponsored by HP, were held during a three-course dinner at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham last month, hosted by F1 sporting legend Johnny Herbert and welcoming over 200 industry professionals. The categories are split into Innovations and Applications, and members of the TCT Advisory Board vote on a shortlist. The two inductees to the TCT Hall of Fame were Diana Kalisz, VP of Engineering at 3D Systems, and Jean-Pierre Kruth, Materialise Co-Founder and a researcher for over 30 years. The Women in 3D Printing Award was given to Alba Gonzalez Alvarez, a doctor in Biomedical Engineering with nine years of academic, industrial, and hospital experience who’s has developed hundreds of 3D printed implantable medical devices. The winner of the inaugural Sanjay Mortimer Foundation Rising Star Award was Zac Smith, who is using his unique neurodiversity perspective to bring fresh qualities to the engineering field.

The TCT Award winners are:

  • Aerospace & Defence Application Award: Hyphen Innovation
  • Automotive & Rail Application Award: Markforged
  • Consumer Product Application Award: Shapeways
  • Creative Application Award: Mackinnon and Saunders
  • Healthcare Application Award: Triastek
  • Industrial Product Application Award: Lincoln Electric Additive Solutions
  • Hardware Award, Non-Polymer Systems: Mantle
  • Hardware Award, Polymer Systems: Formlabs
  • Materials Award: 6K
  • Post-Processing Award: DyeMansion
  • Software Award: Ai Build

Elementum 3D Hires Vivek Pathak as New Chief Financial Officer

Elementum 3D’s new CFO, Vivek Pathak

Metal AM materials, print parameters, and services supplier Elementum 3D announced that it’s hired Vivek Pathak as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Most recently the vice president of finance at diagnostic company Summerbio, which provides end-to-end COVID-19 test systems, Pathak has over 30 years of experience in financial leadership positions. Including his recent position at Summerbio, where he played an important part in creating and implementing corporate financial decisions to lower risk and move key business initiatives along, Pathak has worked at a variety of places, from Fortune 500 companies and a biotech company to high-tech Silicon Valley startups. He has proven experience driving corporate growth and working in international channel management, divestitures, and more, and will be able to help Elementum 3D in its quest to offer materials freedom to companies around the world looking to increase product performance and strength, while also reducing cost and weight.

“We are delighted to welcome Vivek to our team. Vivek is the decisive professional we need at the helm of our finances. We have complete confidence in his ability to safeguard the company’s assets and steer Elementum 3D toward our financial goals,” stated Elementum 3D President and Founder Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein.

First 3D Printer & Educational Robot Factory in Abu Dhabi

B2B e-commerce platform Sinaha Platform, based in Abu Dhabi and focused on supporting national products in the United Arab Emirates, signed an agreement with Omega Future to plan out and build the UAE capital’s first 3D printer and educational robot factory. Signed during the Make it in the Emirates Forum, the agreement aligns with the objectives of the Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology (MoIAT)’s national strategy for developing the UAE’s industrial sector, making supply chains more robust, promoting local products, and stimulating the local economy. The facility, using local raw materials, will help provide scientific breakthroughs, like multifunctional 3D printers, that can contribute to economic growth, and robots will be manufactured and programmed on site. The agreement was signed in the presence of HE Osama Amir Fadhel, Assistant Undersecretary of Industry Accelerators Sector at MoIAT, and Arafat Al-Yafei, Executive Director at the Industrial Development Bureau, by Omega Future’s Founder and CEO Yaroslav Aleinik and Kardous Mohammed bin Salem bin Kardous Al-Amiri, Deputy CEO of Sinaha.

“The Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates support all conditions for the success of industrial projects and provide investors with the right environment to develop their businesses,” said Al-Amiri. “The 3D printer and robot factory, which will serve the industrial and commercial sectors, will be the first of its kind strategic partnership under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology and the Industrial Development Bureau.”

Tekna & TriTech Collaborate for Titanium Binder Jetting

Tekna has collaborated with TriTech Titanium Parts in the successful Binder Jetting of titanium parts using a Desktop Metal P1 Additive Manufacturing machine (Courtesy Desktop Metal)

Canadian company Tekna Holding ASA collaborated with TriTech Titanium Parts LLC in Detroit to successfully 3D print titanium parts using a Desktop Metal P1 binder jetting machine. Tekna’s titanium powder was designed to achieve high mechanical properties and part quality. The Quebec-based company is supplying TriTech with this powder, which meets both medical ISO 13485 and aerospace AS9100 standards and should enable the Michigan firm to achieve binder jet 3D printing’s full potential. The P1 platform, printing with Tekna’s titanium powder, is located at TriTech’s facility, and is helping to provide clients with high-strength, lightweight, and customized titanium parts that offer more than what’s expected of traditional manufacturing.

“We are delighted to work with Tekna. Their plasma atomised titanium powder, known for its exceptional quality, significantly enhances our capabilities in binder jet 3D printing. It enables us to offer our clients the benefits of this groundbreaking technology, reduces manufacturing lead times, and enhances performance in critical applications,” said Robert Swenson, CEO of TriTech Titanium Parts.

Dimensionics Density Announces Successful Commercial Introduction

Dimensionics Density, part of Dimensionics GmbH, commercially launched in April and has received major interest for its density determination AM technology, which focuses on part validation and contributes to automating the AM process chain. Porosity can negatively impact the electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties of 3D printed components, make them more vulnerable to corrosive substances and high temperatures, and limit the capacity of the parts to retain gases, liquids, or other substances. Dimensionic Density’s non-destructive, metrological solution is highly accurate and efficient at identifying and mitigating issues related to porosity, allowing users to improve their AM processes in a cost-effective way. The solution has a cycle time of less than two minutes per component, and, as Philipp Pruesse, Head of Sales at Dimensionics Density explained, can easily find the density of freeform parts and highly complex AM parts, measuring it “repeatably to 0.001 g/cm 3.”

“The area in which we are working has a number of alternative but imperfect technologies, all focused on density determination. However, each has significant drawbacks or limitations when it comes to the requirement to check large numbers of parts, and we have made great efforts to highlight these, and to show how Dimensionics Density provides a superior solution to density determination for series manufacturing, whereas microsections and µCT scans are well suited for parameter development of new materials,” Pruesse continued. “So saying, we have commissioned an independent report from the Fraunhofer Institute which benchmarks the different density determination solutions, and this is due for release in a couple of weeks. In addition, we have been spending some time developing an intuitive return on investment (ROI) calculator which will soon be embedded on our new website, and which will give customers a view on just how quickly our technology pays for itself and then contributes to the on-going cost-effectiveness of AM part production.”

UMC Utrecht Researchers Share Three Innovations in Volumetric Bioprinting

The effect of strengthening a volumetrically printed tube with 20, 40 or 60 layers of melt-electrowritten scaffold. (Scale bar 0,5mm.). Credit: LevatoLab, UMC Utrecht, Reproduced under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).139 Copyright 2019, Published by Wiley-VCH (10.1002/adma.202300756)

Bioinks have enabled 3D extrusion bioprinting, with new nozzles and premade scaffolds allowing cells to survive printing, but it’s a lengthy process, and because extrusion prints have to hold up under gravity, the inks must be strong, therefore not very cell-friendly. Volumetric bioprinting helps with the issues of speed and gravity, as a spinning vial with photosensitive gel quickly solidifies once exposed to laser light, but only cells in suspension can be contained in the gels, so it’s difficult to control where they end up. Plus, the gel is hard, so it’s difficult for the cells to move and communicate with each other, which is necessary for forming tissue. But researchers from recently published papers about three innovations that could help biofabrication become more clinically relevant.

The first is creating biologically functional regions in a print, and the researchers changed the porosity of the gel, and the compounds inside that bind with other molecules, in order to help place cells exactly where they’re needed so they can help with the development, growth, or specialization of other cells to create functional tissues. Now, it’s possible to create volumetric prints that can have bioactive proteins, or growth factors, “painted” into them in 3D shapes to perform certain functions, like creating a trail to attract new blood vessels in the right place. The second bioprinting innovation out of UMC Utrecht has to do with granular gels. Bioprinted cells need to be able to grow, move, and communicate with each other to form a functional tissue, and the materials used have to offer an environment that allows for the cells to self-organize and “talk” to each other. Soft hydrogels can work, but ensuring shape fidelity and high print resolution hinders this. So the team explored the use of granular resins, which enable the combination of extrusion and volumetric printing and allow the cells to be quickly and specifically deposited. Plus, experiments with cells found that granulated resins allow for way more biological activity post-printing than solid gels offer. The third innovation had the team combine volumetric bioprinting and melt electrowriting to enable functional blood vessels. Bioprinted blood vessels have to hold up under high pressure and bending, and melt electrowriting can product complex, mechanically strong scaffolds that can deal with force. But, they can’t be printed with cells already inside due to high temperatures, so volumetric bioprinting was used to solidify cell-laden gels onto the 3D printed scaffolds.

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