In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest business developments, partnerships, and novel applications in the wider 3D printing sector.
Today’s edition features a number of collaborations, a lamp design competition, automotive updates, a new post-processing system, and the first commercially available 3D printed home in the US.
Read on for the most recent updates from Omegasonics, Blue Power, SQ4D, the DMC, TCL Hofmann, CORE Industrial Partners, Summit Tooling and more.
New partnerships in the 3D printing industry
The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC), an up and coming UK-based 3D printing service bureau, has announced a partnership with Enable Manufacturing, the innovator behind the Additive Casting process. Combining traditional casting with 3D printing, the novel technology uses a polymer 3D printed tooling component coated in a ceramic shell to form a casting mold. The DMC will begin offering the service to its customers come March.
Kieron Salter, CEO at the DMC, said, “Over the coming months, we will be working closely with the Enable team to seamlessly integrate Additive Casting into our existing digitized processes. This collaboration is another exciting demonstration that the DMC and its partners are leading UK manufacturing into and beyond the fourth industrial revolution.”
Elsewhere, in Europe, 3D printer OEM Rapid Shape has announced a partnership with dental specialist SAREMCO Dental AG. Together, the firms will begin offering SAREMCO’s specialist dental 3D printing resins for use with Rapid Shape’s SLA 3D printers. This includes the recently launched SAREMCO PRINT CROWNTEC resin, one of the first materials to be approved for permanent crowns, inlays, and veneers.
Across the pond, binder jet 3D printer OEM ExOne has appointed equipment supplier TCL Hofmann as an authorized channel partner to sell ExOne machines in Australia and New Zealand. The move stands to strengthen ExOne’s growing outreach in the Asia-Pacific region as metal binder jetting sees increasing use in high-volume production applications.
Ben Leung, ExOne’s Vice President in Asia, adds, “We’re excited to have representation from such a respected and experienced supplier in the manufacturing sector, especially one with 3D printing experience. As ExOne strengthens our network and strategy in Asia, we expect TCL Hofmann to play a key role in our growth and expansion.”
Automotive updates from Rolls-Royce and Cadillac
In the automotive world, the 1st of February saw carmaker Cadillac debuting its 2022 CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing models. The vehicles feature two 3D printed HVAC ducts and a 3D printed electrical harness bracket. The medallions on the manual gear shift knobs are also 3D printed, with reports that additive manufacturing enabled Cadillac to reduce costs and waste when developing the models’ manual transmission systems.
The Blackwing models are set for an exclusive launch, with just 250 units offered to customers. The CT4-V Blackwing – the smaller of the two – is rumored to pack a 3.0L twin-turbo V6, while the CT5-V could feature a 6.2L supercharged V8.
Elsewhere, materials company Nature Squared recently designed a custom Rolls-Royce Phantom with a 3D printed twist. Dubbed Iridescent Opulence, the luxury car featured more than 3000 tail feathers from sustainable bird species lining the dashboard’s interior. The company used 3D printing to realistically emulate a natural wing’s musculature behind the feathers, making the dashboard pop with a touch of texture.
Acquisition stories in additive manufacturing
3D printing service provider Fathom, a subsidiary of private equity firm CORE Industrial Partners, recently acquired Summit Tooling and Summit Plastics, a pair of precision tooling and injection molding service bureaus. Together, the Summit businesses make the fourth add-on acquisition to the Fathom brand since CORE initially purchased the company back in 2018. Now, with a new fleet of more than 30 machines, Fathom will be able to better serve the medical and packaging markets with its new conventional manufacturing capabilities.
Ryan Martin, CEO of Fathom, said, “Summit’s focus on customers during the design, prototyping and low-volume production stages of a product’s life cycle perfectly aligns with Fathom’s unique customer value proposition. We’re excited to work with the Summit team to explore opportunities to even better serve its customers through Fathom’s comprehensive digital manufacturing platform while also providing Fathom’s existing customer base expanded domestic quick-turn precision tooling and molding capabilities.”
Elsewhere, the ex-CEO of Stratasys Ilan Levin has set up his own special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) by the name of Moringa Acquisition Corp, which will reportedly focus on mid-sized Israel-related technology firms with a proven model of commercial success. The company recently filed to raise $100M with the SEC to acquire an Israeli technology company, with EarlyBirdCapital and Moelis & Co acting as underwriters. Moringa has not stated at this stage whether or not it will be pursuing 3D printing companies.
Post-processing and metallurgy tech from Omegasonics and Blue Power
In the peripheral technologies market, California-based Omegasonics recently upgraded its proprietary ultrasonic cleaning and support removal equipment to improve its processing speeds. Intended to streamline the post-processing portion of the 3D printing workflow, the updated technology is compatible with ABS, PC, PA-12, and other polymers parts 3D printed on FDM systems.
Armen Boyajyan of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, a customer of Omegasonics’, stated, “It used to take a full day to manually remove support material from some 3D parts. Now we just put the parts into the ultrasonic cleaner and do something else while they’re being cleaned. After three hours, we have nice, clean parts.”
Over in the metallurgy sector, powder characterization specialist Rosswag Engineering recently qualified an AC1000 air classifier manufactured by Blue Power, adding the device to its metal powder preparation process chain. Rosswag will use the air classifier to characterize even the finest alloy powders reliably, ensuring homogenous layer coatings and maximum flowability for processes like L-PBF.
Daniel Beckers, Head of Metal Powder Production at Rosswag Engineering, explains, “The sophisticated and modular system design minimizes the risk of cross-contamination, so that a wide range of alloys can be processed in a short time. In addition to the processability of the metal powders, the separation of the finest particle fraction is also relevant for handling and occupational safety.”
Essentium research and EOS training
3D printer OEM Essentium recently released the results of an independent global research study it conducted on the use of industrial 3D printing. Through the survey, the company found that 3D printer investments at an industrial scale are ultimately paying off, with participants reporting several benefits. This includes improved part performances (46%), overall cost reductions (46%), and significantly reduced lead times on industrial components (45%).
On the other hand, the company also reported on a number of remaining obstacles on the path to mass 3D printing adoption. Specifically, 98% of manufacturers would like to see an increase in material choice, 37% claim they are being held back by the high costs of 3D printing materials, and 24% believe 3D printing materials are unreliable.
3D printer OEM EOS recently launched a new set of online training programs to help companies get up to speed with 3D printing. Offered under the Additive Minds consulting unit, the programs are designed to allow employees to become additive manufacturing experts in a short space of time. There are modules available for a wide variety of additive manufacturing roles with several dedicated learning paths, including machine operators, application specialists, and production managers.
Patrick Schrade, head of the Additive Minds Academy, explains, “With our learning paths, customers can train powerful teams with all the skills needed in additive manufacturing. The knowledge we offer ranges from basic understanding of the technology to selecting components for AM production, as well as design and AM-appropriate engineering, to scaling and validating production. For each individual role, we develop a corresponding training program.”
3D printed lamps and commercial houses
Looking at the latest applications of 3D printing technology, construction company SQ4D recently 3D printed the first commercially available home in the US. Printed using the company’s patent-pending Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS), the $299,999 property features 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a dedicated 750 square foot garage.
Stephen King of Realty Connect, adds, “At $299,999, this home is priced 50% below the cost of comparable newly-constructed homes in Riverhead, NY and represents a major step towards addressing the affordable housing crisis plaguing long island.”
Finally, the recent 3D Printed Luminaire Design Competition organized by Huda Lighting and Immensa Labs came to a close with Khawarizm Studio taking the top spot. The Lou’Lou’ lamp, which is the Arabic word for ‘pearls’, took center stage on the podium with its geometric blend of cultural heritage and nature. Inspired by both a wind catcher and a mathematical Voronoi diagram, the fractal design is intended to capture the Studio’s love for Arabic heritage and organic abstract patterns.
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Featured image shows the Sliced logo on an image of a Rolls-Royce Phantom dashboard. Photo via Nature Squared.