As previewed by 3D Printing Industry Hannover Messe in Germany is showcasing some of the latest developments in 3D printing, and technological developments toward industry 4.0. Familiar names such as Concept Laser, Fraunhofer, GE and Canon are all exhibiting at the fair, and we have some of the latest releases below.
Canon 3D printer shelved?
Photography and paper printing specialist Canon has been hinting at development of its own 3D printer since 2015. Pictures from Hannover Messe show Canon continues to exhibit 3D prints. However, in conversation with 3D Printing Industry today a Canon spokesperson advised that there were no further developments around the promised resin 3D printer and it appears the project may have been shelved in preference to ongoing reselling of 3D Systems machines.
In Europe Canon currently has 14 3D Printing application specialists plus 100 employees engaged in sales and support for the 3D Systems printers. The primary markets are education and architects according to the spokesperson.
MIT startup exits stealth mode
Tulip, an Internet of Things (IoT) integration company established at MIT, is launching “manufacturing’s first IoT-enabled App Engine” at the Hannover Messe.
The engine is to enable companies to design their own shop floor apps that communicate with, and read from, machines in operation. It has been 2 years in the making, and customer testing already shows significant improvement in quality control, training, auditing and time saved.
“Design innovation is free” with GE
The European branch of GE (NYSE: GE) is exhibiting additive manufacturing capabilities with its aerospace approved Concept Laser machines, alongside manufactured heat exchanger elements. GE engineering leader Chris Schuppe has also presented at the show, on the topic of design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) and is quoted, saying “With additive manufacturing, design innovation is free”.
Mohammad Eshteshami, Vice President and General Manager of GE, has also been pictured meeting Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the fair.
Augmented reality for smart factories
After news of manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar uniting to make industrial augmented reality guidelines AR developer DAQRI, that has been attempting 3D printing with holograms, is exhibiting its machine inspection helmets at the fair. And the Institute for Technological Trend Analysis at Fraunhofer (Fraunhofer INT), exhibits a kind of AR “crystal ball” for monitoring manufacturing processes.
Additive assistance of automated processes
Robotic arms will also have increased use in the Smart Factory of the future. With a programmability to perform virtually any manual task, the arms require different attachments for each specific use case, as in the 3D printed glass gripper from Kuhn-Stoff and Trinkle. This is also true of the automated processes inside milling and 3D printing machines.
Additionally, each new tool requires a different clamp to properly hold it in place. In a press release from mechanical engineering company Schunk, Rolf Ehrler, Product Manager Clamping Devices and Milling Tools at Gühring KG, explains
…tool clamping devices are becoming progressively more specific, meaning that in parallel to the development of high-precision tools we are also seeing a reciprocally entailed diversification of the clamping devices.
To this end Schunk is exhibiting additive manufacturing solutions for clamping at Hannover Messe. Markus Michelberger, Sales Manager Clamping Technology at the company, adds, “Additively manufactured components will in the years ahead be successively gaining in perceived importance.”
A new industrial 3D printing facility
German industrial engineering group Thyssenkrupp (ETR:TKA) has announced its plans to open a specialist 3D printing center for plastic and metal parts. In a speech at Hannover Messe Hans-Josef Hoss, an executive board member of Thyssenkrupp Materials Services, stated,
We have invested already into the machines. We have invested already in the people – they are there. They are already producing. We start from the engineering side and deliver the final product with all aftersales and related services.
The center is due to be be inaugurated September 2017.
And finally, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has also visited Hannover Messe, and was presented with a 3D printed version of herself by Siemens.
Featured image: A KUKA robotic arm lifts the body of a car at Hannover Messe 2017. Photo via @hannover_messe on Twitter