3D Printing News Briefs, May 18, 2024: Sustainability, Mass Spectrometry, & More


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We’re starting with sustainability news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as Stratasys has published its second ESG and Sustainability Report. Moving on, Electroninks opened a headquarters in the APAC region, and MIT researchers 3D printed important components for a point-of-care mass spectrometer. Finally, EK released a cool new accessory: a creator kit for its Nucleus series AIO cooler covers.

Stratasys Publishes Second ESG & Sustainability Report

Stratasys established a distinct focus on sustainability in August 2021, and published the first report on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities in April of 2022. Now, as part of its Mindful Manufacturing strategy, the company has published its second ESG and Sustainability Report, in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. The report includes a wide-ranging overview of advancements and activities in Stratasys’s ESG programs, like reducing its water intensity by 32.5% across global operations. Other highlights include 81% of managers participating in management training, over 97% of all employees completing compliance training, and 100% of new suppliers in 2021 and 2022 signing the Supplier Code of Conduct, which includes environmental, social and ethical standards. Plus, Stratasys participated in an Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) Lifecycle Inventory Research Report, and earned the ISO 14001 certification at its Israeli headquarters for the second year.

“Our Mindful Manufacturing approach enables more sustainable production, for manufacturing applications across supply chains, optimizing overall environmental impacts. Being ESG and sustainability minded reduces risk and promotes the healthy management of our successful global enterprise,” said Stratasys CEO Dr. Yoav Zeif. “We are proud to spearhead this effort in our industry and with our customers, supporting decarbonization strategies across a wide array of product portfolios and operations.”

Electroninks Opens New APAC Facility in Taiwan

Electroninks—a leader in metal complex inks for advanced semiconductor packaging and additive manufacturing—continues its global expansion with the official opening of its new APAC region facility in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, which includes a full technical/field support lab, offices, and full ink production for customers using its metal-complex inks in-region. The facility enables increased ink production capabilities with new reactors and other tools, and additional engineering staff is available to work directly with customers in the region. There’s a full QA/QC lab and analytical equipment for ink qualification, and the engineering support lab houses printing tools including spray coaters, screen printers, and inkjet printers, which match equipment going into production lines at customer sites. Plus, the company announced three new hires: Takashi Mochizuki, Head of Asia Business; KY Liu, Taiwan Application Development Manager; and Kazutaka Ozawa, Technical Director. They will work closely with global operations and customers.

This new facility marks an important milestone of growth and achievement for our company, and significantly improves our ability to serve the global market. We appreciate the support of the local officials and our partners in Kaohsiung to bring this project to completion,” said Melbs LeMieux, President and Co-Founder of Electroninks.

MIT Researchers Make 3D Printed Component for Mass Spectrometer

MIT researchers have 3D printed a miniature ionizer, which is a key component of a mass spectrometer. The new miniature ionizer could someday enable an affordable, in-home mass spectrometer for health monitoring. Pictured are parts of the new device, including a green printed circuit board (PCB) with orange casing on top. Under the casing is a black rectangle where the electrospray emitter is located.

Mass spectrometry identifies the chemical components in a sample, like hormone levels in the blood of a person with hypothyroidism, by sorting charged particles (ions) based on their mass-to-charge ratio. But mass spectrometers are expensive, so often remain in laboratories, which makes the management of chronic diseases difficult. A team of MIT researchers wanted to make the process available at point-of-care, with lower costs, to enable affordable, at-home health monitoring, and have started in that direction by using binder jet 3D printing to fabricate a key mass spectrometer component: a miniature, low-cost ionizer. Because molecules in blood don’t have an electric charge, an ionizer can give them a charge via electrospray—applying a high voltage to a liquid sample and firing a thin jet of charged particles into the mass spectrometer. 3D printing allowed them to add materials that improve its performance, as well as control its shape. Its small size means the ionizer can be manufactured at scale in batches, and then added to a mass spectrometer using pick-and-place robotic assembly methods, which lowers the cost of production.

“Our big vision is to make mass spectrometry local. For someone who has a chronic disease that requires constant monitoring, they could have something the size of a shoebox that they could use to do this test at home. For that to happen, the hardware has to be inexpensive,” explained Luis Fernando Velásquez-García, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL).

“This is a do-it-yourself approach to making an ionizer, but it is not a contraption held together with duct tape or a poor man’s version of the device. At the end of the day, it works better than devices made using expensive processes and specialized instruments, and anyone can be empowered to make it.”

You can learn more about the team’s work in their published paper.

EK Reveals Replacement Cover-Creator Kit for Nucleus AIO Coolers

Finally, computer cooling solutions provider EK has released its newest accessory: the EK-Nucleus AIO Replacement Cover-Creator Kit, an inexpensive, customizable, optional replacement pump unit top for the EK Nucleus series AIO coolers. It replaces the stock cover for Nucleus AIOs, but is compatible with the 240 and 360mm models, both of which come in black and white finishes. This accessory allows users to 3D print over the base of the original cover, which is great for someone wanting to craft their own AIO aesthetic. The kit includes a 3D printed light guide with four magnets, and you can choose where the light diffuses through by building special extrudes of the print. Plus, there’s already a 3D model of the pump unit and a 3D printable base, which you can remodel and customize; download the 3D.STEP file here to make your own 3D printed, personalized cover.

“Some of the use cases EK had in mind included building a base on top of which you could use your favourite toy bricks to build a unique-looking creation. For those not interested in that, a stand for your favorite miniature model you’ve painted, or an action figure is another exciting option. Or something way more simple yet unique to your interests. Maybe a 3D-printed logo of your favourite game or universe to display your fandom. The possibilities are boundless, limited only by your imagination,” Peter Donnell wrote for eTeknix.

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