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Focus on 3D Printing

Architects develop 3d-printed trachael stent based on shell lace structure

Tonkin Liu has pioneered the use of structures based on a single-surface shell lace design. Now, Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin of London-based Tonkin Liu have developed an innovative medical device called the Shell Lace Stent for use in patients' windpipes. The prototype stent is based on the firm's signature Shell Lace Structure, a “single-surface structural technology designed and developed through a decade of research for architectural and engineering applications,” and prototyped using digital design software and 3D printing.

Tracheal stents are commonly used to support transplants of the trachea and to treat collapsed airways in cases of throat cancer, trauma, and old age. Stents are typically manufactured as a non-tailored tubular mesh. Tonkin Liu's stent design is c-shaped rather than tubular, with the aim of adapting better to the individual shape of each patient's throat. The C-shaped design unfurls once inserted, creating a strong fit inspired by the geometric principles of Calla Lily petals. The device is manufactured from medical grade silicon, with a perforated surface allowing for breathability and drug-delivery to the trachea tissues.

New study on additive manufacturing trends

SmarTech Publishing has two new studies on additive manufacturing trends. The Crozet, Va.- based firm is said to be a leading provider of industry analysis and market forecasting data to the additive manufacturing industry. Highlights of the two reports are given below:

The first report addresses the polymer material extrusion market, commonly known by the Stratasys trade name FDM. It is projected to generate the most revenues in polymer 3D printing hardware used in professional and industrial environments through at least 2024. By 2027, the polymer material extrusion market of non-hobbyist and consumer users will generate $2.2 billion in printer and hardware sales alone.

In 2017, material extrusion 3D printing technology generated the greatest amount of revenues for 3D printers—more than other polymer printing processes such as powder bed fusion and vat photopolymerization. About 70% of those revenues was associated with low-cost desktop and consumer extrusion printers. This segment features printers ranging from lower-end Stratasys products like the Mojo, uPrint, and F170, to the entire product range of companies like Ultimaker, Aleph, Objects, Leapfrog, Zortrax and many more.

From a competitive standpoint, material extrusion 3D printing technology is mostly controlled by a single company—Stratasys. However, the dynamics of the market have continued to change significantly over the last several years. Not only have new entrants become more established with business models in selling printing solutions exclusively to professional users (such as Cincinnati, Inc.), but perhaps more notable has been the number of companies that has transitioned from marketing low-cost printers primarily to consumers and educational customers to making systems for more manufacturing and business-oriented use.

These companies have indeed eroded Stratasys' overall market share in the polymer material extrusion market in professional environments over the last several years. For example, in the first quarter 2018, multinational manufacturer Bosch made an investment in Dutch provider Ultimaker, which will become a worldwide supplier to Bosch with extrusion-based printing solutions. Just five years ago, it would be relatively unheard of for a multinational company of that size to engage at such a broad levels with any other extrusion 3D printing solution provides than Stratasys.

Polymer Additive Manufacturing Trends 2018

This report provides market data and analysis of market trends at the professional and industrial level. Readers will learn how the polymer 3D printing opportunity in material extrusion, photopolymerization, powder bed fusion, and jetting cuts across numerous user industries. The report covers market shipments, sales, installations, and future forecasts through 2027, providing insight into the future polymer 3D printing.

In 2018, the polymer additive manufacturing market is increasingly segmented between several leading print processes, all of which are developing into significant global technology markets for manufacturing. The company believes that a proper understanding of the opportunity in polymer 3D printing technology requires both a deep understanding of the individual nature of each widely adopted polymer print technology, but also an understanding of the interrelationship between these technologies and how those are all growing as a whole to create an industry.

Companies developing materials, software solutions, and ancillary post-processing or automation technologies for polymer 3D printers have come to understand that, unlike the great BetaMax/VHS technology debate of decades past, all of the established polymer print technologies have a viable long-term role to play in the growth of the 3D printing industry. As a result, companies such as DSM, BASF, Henkel, Siemens, Dassault Systemes, and many more continue to develop solutions for multiple print processes.

Transforming manufacturing: Stratasys furthers collaboration with Team Penske

Empowering customers to transform traditional manufacturing processes, Stratasys has announced further collaboration with Team Penske and providing an up-close look at new carbon-fiber 3D printers at IMTS 2018. Supporting the challenges of production environments are the Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition and Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer – both suited for demanding requirements on the factory floor.

The Stratasys Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition

A leader in competitive motorsports, Team Penske is expanding use of additive manufacturing across design and production environments to gain competitive edge in the NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA circuits. Stratasys FDM additive manufacturing is used to advance car testing, prototypes and production parts, supported by advanced materials such as Carbon Fiber-filled Nylon 12.

“While drivers are focused on outperforming one another during racing season, the real competition starts weeks before with design and development in the shop. The power to deploy 3D printing early in the process gives Team Penske a tremendous advantage in the production of better, stronger and more aerodynamic race car parts,” said Matt Gimbel, Team Penske Production Manager. “The faster parts get on the race track, the better our team competes: Stratasys technology enables us to do just that.”

Team Penske's 3D printing applications include wind tunnel development, composite tooling, jigs and fixtures, engineering prototypes and race car components. Producing complex designs with 3D printing means reduced iteration cycles between creation and manufacturing to enable added speed and flexibility. One of their newest applications of Stratasys' Carbon Fiber is lightweight mirror housings. Capitalizing on materials with high-impact resistance and stiffness, Team Penske better meets requirements of motorsport environments which focus on aerodynamic loads, vibration and mechanical stresses.

At the foundation of Stratasys' industrial-grade additive manufacturing systems is the Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition – affordably-priced and dedicated to Carbon Fiber-filled Nylon 12. Giving Carbon Fiber access to more customers, this system is being offered at $70,000 in the US – significantly less than typical industrial quality 3D printers. The Fortus 380mc CFE is suited for customers developing tools and fixtures in industries including Automotive, Aerospace, Orthoses, Prosthesis and Medical Equipment.

"While others talk about additive manufacturing as a future vision, Stratasys is demonstrating adoption into mainstream production environments everyday. We're delivering true industrial manufacturing solutions with unmatched levels of repeatability, reliability, and performance required for tooling and final part production. And this is being validated across industries with market leaders like Penske, Lockheed Martin, Audi and GKN Aerospace.”

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, the company's manufacturing services division, is also a key supplier of FDM parts for Team Penske. With 30 years of manufacturing and 3D printing expertise, the division has unmatched capacity for delivery of production parts engineered for high-performance 3D printed metals and thermoplastics including FDM Nylon 12CF.

Also on display at IMTS 2018 is the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer. Designed for high accuracy and repeatability, the machine has the largest build size of any FDM offering. It's also one of the first 3D printers to incorporate an MTConnect interface – a core open standard that seamlessly integrates multiple levels of manufacturing equipment. This industrial machine maximizes Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber material, considered critical for production parts in high-requirement environments. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is also delivering parts engineered with FDM Nylon 12CF.

Stratasys is a global leader in additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology and is the manufacturer of FDM and PolyJet 3D Printers

Further information from: www.stratasys.com, Asia Pacific +852 3944-8888

3D Systems and Amann girrbach join forces to expand ceramill Digital Dental Workflow with NextDent 3D printing

3D Systems, the originator of 3D printing, and Amann Girrbach, a leading supplier of digital dental prosthetic solutions, recently announced that Amann Girrbach will be integrating 3D Systems' NextDent 5100 3D printing solution into its Ceramill System digital dental workflow. This will allow the Austrian-based company, which has partners in over 90 countries worldwide, to offer its thousands of dental lab customers an expanded integrated solution that combines dental-optimized 3D printing with its suite of CAD/CAM software, digital milling and testing equipment.

Powered by 3D Systems' proprietary Figure 4 technology, NextDent 5100 is a complete 3D printing dental solution that produces precision trays, models, surgical guides, dentures, orthodontic splints, crowns and bridges at print speeds up to 4x faster and at significantly reduced cost compared to competitive systems. It supports the industry's most extensive dental materials portfolio with 30 unique biocompatible and CE-certified NextDent materials available to cover a broad range of dental applications for lab managers, dental technicians, dental prosthetic technicians and clinical prosthodontists and orthodontists. 3D Systems 3D Sprint software provides a single interface for file preparation, editing, printing and management, and is now fully integrated with the Ceramill CAD/CAM workflow.

Amann Girrbach's Ceramill digital dental workflow now includes 3D Systems' NextDent 5100 3D dental printer

“With the addition of 3D Systems' NextDent 5100 3D printing to our Ceramill System, we can offer our customers a more feature-rich digital dental workflow that will make them more competitive and efficient,” said Christian Ermer, Head of Product Management at Amann Girrbach. Amann Girrbach. “For example, a dental model is an important part of the restoration process and now with the Next Dent 5100 our customers can print their own models cost-effectively without having to move outside the Ceramill workflow. The NextDent 5100 can also produce bridges, crowns and even the full denture which dramatically lowers production costs and reduces turnaround time. This is certainly a win-win for our customers and their dental patients.”

“Additive manufacturing is transforming the way dental applications are planned, produced and delivered, due in large part to the wide variety of NextDent materials that are regulatory approved and clinically evaluated. We are pleased that Amann Girrbach, an industry leader in dental CAD/CAM solutions, is adopting our NextDent 5100 as the additive component in the Ceramlll workflow,” said Rik Jacobs, vice president, general manager, dental, 3D Systems. “Amann Girrbach's customers are getting a trusted connection – a complete fast and accurate dental 3D printing solution that will work seamlessly with their existing Ceramill equipment and processes. This new partnership with Amann Girrbach is an important milestone in our strategy to redefine digital dentistry and demonstrate our ability to optimize production workflows.”

Amann Girrbach, one of the leading innovators and full-service provider in digital dental prosthetics, is championing the cause to enable a complete in-house process chain for its customers. 3D Systems is the originator of 3D printing and an innovator of future 3D solutions.

Further information from www.3dsystems.com.

Lego invests in 3D printing startup

A proprietary additive manufacturing technology backed by big-name brands could complement injection moulding on factory floors in the near future.

Evolve Additive Solutions Inc.'s selective thermoplastics electrophotographic process (Step) technology allows manufacturers to use thermoplastics and composites for volume production across industries such as automotive, consumer products, industrial and medical, and has steadily garnered attention since its development in 2009.

The technology was part of an incubation project at 3D printer and additive manufacturing machinery maker Stratasys Ltd. before breaking out on its own in 2017. In April, Stratasys officially revealed it was spinning off the technology to form Evolve as an independent company. Stratasys remains a minority shareholder.

On 17 Sept, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based company announced a $19m (€16.3m) equity investment led by the Lego Brand Group — the think-tank arm of the Danish toy maker and the lead investor in Evolve — along with industrial tool and household hardware maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and a third undisclosed investor that has been referred to as an "iconic brand" by leadership at Evolve.

"This [investment] really is critical for us to accelerate the development and also commercialise it, getting it ready for production," said CEO Steve Chillscyzn, a co-inventor of the Step technology.

Earlier this month, Evolve announced it had shipped the first Step system, which is in the alpha development stage, to an undisclosed strategic partner — what the company referred to as a large manufacturer and, again, one with an "iconic brand name," according to the news release.

Evolve will test the system in the alpha stage for 12 months before going into beta testing for an additional 12 months. Chillscyzn said the company is aiming for full commercial development by late 2020.

Taking the 'Step' forward

The Step technology combines the advantages of additive manufacturing with the material, quality and cost advantages of traditional production processes, such as injection moulding. Specifically, the process relies on 2D imaging technology along with proprietary intellectual property to align layers and bonding techniques that create fully dense finished parts.

According to the company, the technology touts features such as the ability to use engineering-grade thermoplastics that are amorphous and semi-crystalline; a lower cost per part for short- to medium-batch sizes compared with traditional manufacturing; surface quality with isotropic properties in X, Y and Z directions that are on par with injection moulding; and multiple material and full-colour printing capabilities. The system can also be integrated with Industry 4.0 technology and automation equipment.

Unlike competitors in the additive manufacturing space, such as HP Inc., Evolve has no interest in selling machines for prototyping. "We are 100% in manufacturing," Bradshaw said. In that regard, the company said it wants its machines to sit right alongside injection moulding presses, giving manufacturers the ability to do smaller production runs with more flexibility in product design.

But Chillscyzn doesn't want the Step technology to compete with injection moulding, but rather to augment the traditional manufacturing process. "Injection moulding is a wonderful technology. It's been around a long time, and it's not going to stop," he said. "It's really, really good for parts at very high volume that are the same part over and over again … but the one thing it doesn't offer is flexibility."

He added: "Changes, part consolidation, lightweighting — there are definitely rules around injection moulding that are prohibitive in many ways to the new way of looking at part design."

Chillscyzn said Step technology can give manufacturers the quality level and competitive cost of injection moulding with all the flexible attributes of additive manufacturing.

While the future is still unknown, Bradshaw added, the company's vision is clear: to fit into an existing manufacturing facility, right alongside injection moulding machines, in a fully automated production cell.

"We're kind of charting new waters," he said. "There are a lot of people who talk about this, but there really hasn't been a technology that can augment injection moulding and allow manufacturers to choose what makes the most sense financially for them or speed to market. They're never going to get rid of their injection moulding machines. They're just going to choose which jobs go on a Step system and which jobs go into the injection moulding.”

Wacker opens 3D printing lab in Michigan

Wacker Chemie AG will open a US-based 3D printing lab later this year, expanding its Aceo printing services for silicone rubber. The new facility, to be located at Wacker's research and development centre for silicones in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be the company's first regional 3D printing lab outside of Germany, according to a Wacker news release. Wacker has set aside a single-digit million-dollar amount for the investment.

The facility comes in response to growing demand for additive manufacturing solutions in North America, Munich-based Wacker said in a news release. The new lab will have two 3D printers, able to process a range of silicone rubber with different Shore A hardnesses and various colours, including FVMQ grades.

North America is the largest and most dynamic market for 3D printing, and the new lab will provide local access to liquid silicone rubber customers, said Bernd Pachaly, head of the Aceo 3D printing project at Wacker. The new facility will expand the company's footprint in North America and build its global service network.

The Ann Arbor facility also will complement the company's Burghausen, Germany, 3D printing facility, and offer technical service and advice to local customers. It will run projects involving medical devices and components for health care, transportation, aerospace and electronics, Pachaly said.

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