3D Printing News Digest

3D Printing Industry News Sliced: Materialise, Nexa3D, EOS, Farsoon, Sterne, TRUMPF, and more

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest business developments, partnerships, and acquisitions in the additive manufacturing sector.

Today’s edition features new materials, partnerships, and business deals, and Blueprint Surf launching sustainable 3D printed surfboards.

Read on for the most recent updates from Materialise, Nexa3D, EOS, Farsoon, Sterne, TRUMPF, and more.

Emerging partnerships from APWORKS, Materialise, Ricoh USA, EOS and more

Kicking off with partnership, APWORKS has partnered with Farsoon‘s FS422M-4 additive manufacturing machine to accelerate the industrialization of sustainable part production using Scalmalloy. The FS422M-4, equipped with 4 lasers and a printing area of 425 mm x 425 mm x 550 mm, meets APWORKS’ requirements for high-quality serial production. 

This collaboration signifies a significant advancement in Additive Manufacturing, providing reliable and sustainable solutions for metal component production. The strategic decision aligns with APWORKS’ commitment to innovation, increased production capacity, and optimizing Scalmalloy processing in the aerospace industry.

APWORKS and Farsoon people in front of the newly delivered Farsoon FS422M-H-4 machine. Photo via FARSOON Europe.

Next up, 3D printing firm Materialise, alongside Proponent, and Stirling Dynamics have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on certified 3D printed cabin solutions for aircraft. The partnership combines Materialise’s 3D printing expertise, Proponent’s aerospace distribution, and Stirling Dynamics’ EASA 21.J-certified Aerospace Design Organization. 

By offering an end-to-end service, the trio aims to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing for cabin parts, providing innovative, certified solutions for OEMs, airlines, and MROs. The collaboration addresses specific cabin issues, leveraging 3D printing’s advantages in design, functionality, weight reduction, and cost savings for the aerospace industry.

Bandula Pathinayake, VP of Stirling Dynamics, says, “We are really excited to be partnering with Materialise and Proponent to collectively bring the aviation market a true end-to-end service for aircraft modification and repairs. As an EASA-approved Part 21.J Design Organization (EASA.21J.807), we are passionate about innovation, and we look forward to applying our extensive design capabilities to meet the unique challenges of aviation customers.”

Ricoh USA has partnered with Materialise to enhance its RICOH 3D for Healthcare platform, a HIPAA-compliant 3D medical manufacturing center. The collaboration enables personalized healthcare solutions, facilitating the establishment of on-site Point of Care centers in hospitals. Through Materialise software, Ricoh aims to democratize enterprise-wide, patient-specific surgical innovation. 

Additional collaborations with Merge by Merative and Stratasys will streamline workflows and expand access to 3D printed medical models. Ricoh’s Managed Services platform and FDA clearances empower the efficient production of patient-specific anatomic models, supporting various surgical specialties. The phased integration targets a nationwide ecosystem for networking and cross-system collaboration in healthcare.

In an interview with 3D Printing Industry, Ricoh North America’s Managing Director of Additive Manufacturing, Gary Turner, outlined the company’s 3D printing strategy. Ricoh North America, focusing on additive manufacturing services, aims to drive 3D printing adoption, particularly in healthcare. Partnering with Stratasys, they plan distributed manufacturing with on-site 3D printed medical devices, streamlining operations in hospitals. The initiative involves point-of-care centers, managed by Ricoh, producing FDA 510(k) cleared medical device 3D printed anatomic models on-site

Turner envisions a network of such sites nationwide, democratizing access to 3D printing in healthcare. The turnkey service ensures hospitals adhere to quality systems, simplifying adoption and providing rapid access for surgeons while addressing industry challenges like reimbursement.

In alliance with Volkmann, EOS has launched the EOS Edition line, integrating Volkmann’s metal powder management systems with EOS M 400 series metal additive manufacturing systems. These automated systems handle material transfer, excess powder capture, sieving, and vacuum drying. Globally available through EOS North America and Volkmann USA, the EOS Edition operates as a fully enclosed circuit, ensuring workplace safety and protecting metal powders. These scalable systems, capable of 24/7 unattended operation, are remotely controlled and monitored for enhanced efficiency and reliability.

“Our new systems provide EOS end-users with a complete, plug-and-play, automated powder handling solution that can scale as their production needs increase,” says Christian Mittman, Director of Advanced Solutions for Volkmann. “This is a logical next step in our close relationship with EOS, and one that we feel will benefit EOS customers with faster, safer, more reliable printing and consistently high-quality printed parts.”

Additionally, Farsoon Americas has partnered with Novastar Solutions in expanding Farsoon’s industrial-grade 3D printing machines’ distribution in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Novastar, a major Detroit 3D printing hardware reseller, brings decades of expertise to integrate Farsoon’s powder bed fusion 3D printing solutions, enhancing series production capabilities for local industries, including automotive and industrial manufacturing. This collaboration supports Farsoon’s commitment to advancing additive manufacturing technologies for diverse applications.

“As a solutions provider for over 25 years, Novastar is proud to add Farsoon 3D Printers to our line of industrial offerings. The broad portfolio of machines and materials will allow us to support our customers in new ways and we are excited about the opportunities to represent the technology in Metro Detroit and beyond,” said, Ben Baumgarten, Vice President of Novastar. 

Bioskills NE, a facility supporting teaching, training, and research, has partnered with Axial3D to offer advanced 3D imaging services in medical education. This collaboration aims to redefine surgical practices through innovative simulations and experiences. 

By combining Axial3D’s expertise in creating detailed 3D models from 2D images with Bioskills NE’s surgical training center, this alliance aims to enhance surgery planning precision. The partnership provides immersive simulations, empowering medical professionals to refine their skills. Integrating patient-specific 3D models elevates training quality and improves real-world outcomes, setting a new standard of care.

Roger Johnston, CEO of Axial3D, said, “We are genuinely inspired by Bioskills NE’s mission and are delighted to partner with their esteemed team. Together, we aspire to usher in a new era of medical education and surgical practices.”

The partnership will offer realistic and immersive simulations for medical professionals to refine their skills and enhance their decision-making abilities. Photo via Axial3D.

Business deals and acquisitions from Sterne, Nexa3D, nScrypt, TRUMPF, and more

Moving on to business deals and acquisitions, French silicone specialist, Sterne is exploring 4D printing after leading in silicone 3D printing. This technology enables 3D printed items to adapt to external factors, such as changing shape or color. Applications include self-assembling clothing and responsive medical aids. Initial tests showed objects reacting to magnetic fields, heat, or moisture, with future exploration involving electrical signals. Leveraging its silicone expertise, Sterne aims to innovate and seeks external partnerships to advance 4D printing technology.

Florida-based microdispensing specialist nScrypt has announced the issuance of a patent for its advanced 3D printing mixing valve, referred to as U.S. Patent No. 11,230,054 or the ‘054 patent. Titled “Active Valve for Mixing and Dispensing Control,” the patent encompasses a specialized valve and system for precise material feeding, mixing, and dispensing through a pen tip. 

With versatility for a wide range of materials, including those with varying viscosities, it is particularly suited for medical and biological 3D printing applications. The valve ensures seamless workflows, clean starts and stops, and heightened precision. nScrypt supports industry progress by offering patent licensing under mutually favorable terms.

3D printing company Nexa3D has acquired Essentium, a manufacturer of high-speed extrusion (HSE) 3D printers and materials. Known for its ultrafast 3D printing, Nexa3D operates globally with over 1500 systems for high-throughput production. Essentium specializes in HSE technology and dual extruders for rapid and precise polymer production. Additionally, Dr. Blake Teipel has been appointed as the Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Elisa Teipel as the Chief Government Officer, and Kelly Spivey as Chief Financial Officer at Nexa3D.

“We are honored and thrilled to welcome the talented Essentium team to Nexa3D,” said Avi Reichental, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Nexa3D. “This acquisition is more than a strategic move; it’s a testament to our shared vision to drive innovation and deliver solutions that redefine the production capabilities of 3D printing.”

A fleet of Essentium HSE 3D printers. Photo via Essentium.

San Francisco-based manufacturing bureau Fictiv has integrated Carbon Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology into its on-demand 3D printing services in the US. Following a substantial service expansion, the addition provides access to advanced additive solutions for engineering and high-volume production. 

Suitable for various industries, Carbon DLS boasts rapid print speeds with continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), high accuracy via digital light projection, and repeatability through an oxygen-permeable membrane. Fictiv offers instant quoting, design feedback, and on-demand ordering on its digital platform, featuring proprietary Carbon resins with superior engineering properties.

Following Velo3D’s leadership changes and compliance challenges, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions’ subsidiary, Kratos SRE has acquired Velo3D’s Sapphire 3D printer. This move aims to enhance Kratos’s technology development, enabling efficient responses to evolving defense industry needs. 

Part of Kratos SRE’s prototyping center, the 3D printer will support vertical integration in critical supply chains. Kratos SRE, a long-time user of Velo3D’s technology, focuses on extreme environment parts and oversees the Characterization of Additive Manufactured Metals (CAMM) program, contributing valuable data to a materials database for improved understanding and identification of new applications.

“It’s important to our team to leverage new, advanced manufacturing technologies so we can maintain our leadership in the defense industry and better serve our customers,” said Michael Johns, Kratos SRE Senior Vice President. “With Velo3D’s solution, we expect to be able to further unlock high-speed manufacturing capabilities that reduce lead times and lower costs of the parts we develop. In addition, it will allow us to rapidly innovate and accelerate design cycles for parts used in existing platforms.”

TRUMPF has enhanced the productivity of its TruPrint 2000 3D printer, introducing a square build plate and a more powerful 500-watt integrated fiber laser, an upgrade from the 300-watt laser in the basic model. Beneficial for dental technology companies, the square build plate allows for the printing of 36% more removable partial dentures than on a round plate. 

The TruPrint 2000 features a multi-laser configuration, optimizing throughput in production, and its motorized beam expander adjusts laser spot diameter (55 or 80 micrometers) for different applications, enhancing flexibility. Moreover, TRUMPF is launching the upgraded 3D printer in the U.S. at Lab Day Chicago, a major dental laboratory community event.

3D printing applications by Helsinki Music Centre, Blueprint Surf, and more

Followed by applications, Helsinki Music Centre debuted its new Rieger organ, inaugurated on January 1, 2024, features unique facade pipes crafted from Finnish company UPM Formi 3D biocomposite material. With 3D printed sounding pipes and 260 meters of wind lines, the Rieger organ is the largest in Finland and Scandinavia, among Europe’s largest, and the world’s largest modern organ in a concert hall. 

The international collaboration involved UPM in Finland producing the biocomposite material, shipping it to Spain for 3D printing, and then to Austria for crafting by Rieger Orgelbau before assembly in Helsinki. The biocomposite’s acoustic qualities align with responsible material use in art and music. Hanna Maula, UPM’s Vice President, Communication and Brand, said, “At UPM, we have a long tradition of supporting the arts, and we wanted to participate in the Helsinki Music Centre Foundation’s donation campaign. We have named all the fantastic facade pipes of the organ.” 

Maine startup Blueprint Surf has introduced the Sea Mink, a 3D printed surfboard featuring a lattice-structure core made from recycled plastic filament by ReFlow Filament. Covered with fiberglass skin using plant-based epoxy resin, the core offers durability and a smooth surfing experience. 

Weighing slightly more than traditional EPS boards, its design compensates for the added weight. The Sea Mink’s dimensions are 6 ft 10 in long, 21.75 in wide, and 2.875 in thick, with a volume of 46 liters, including 43 liters in its lattice air spaces. The twin-fin design suits beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers.

Sustainable 3D printed surfboard by Blueprint Surf. Photo via Blueprint Surf.

The Royal Danish Academy‘s Center for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) developed Radicant, a 3D printed wall paneling system using waste-stream-based biopolymer. Incorporating bone glue and cellulose fibers from agricultural waste, the system employed WASP’s Industrial Clay Extrusion Kit with a custom print head. 

Part of CITA’s Eco Metabolistic Architecture project, Radicant exhibits a 6-meter-tall structure with intricate patterns, designed for adaptability and growth. The design pipeline involves 3D scanning, creating a digital model, and generating ‘information layers’ for precise adaptation. Resembling a vine, Radicant is suited for interior walls or cladding, contributing to environmentally friendly architectural applications.

Construction news from Cybe Construction and the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center

In alliance with Qorox, CyBe Construction has announced the completion of the first Southern Hemisphere commercial building featuring 3D printed concrete walls. This commercial building named Creators Forest Lake Early Childhood Center in Hamilton, New Zealand, showcases textured walls printed in under five hours using CyBe’s RC 3D printer. 

Installation took just two and a half days with two people, significantly accelerating construction. Qorox’s sustainable “Ink,” made from 70% locally sourced materials, played a vital role. The innovative technology allows for textured and curved wall designs, offering unique aesthetic possibilities for construction projects of various sizes.

The kitchen area of the Creators Forest Lake Early Childhood Center. Photo via CyBe Construction.

On another front, the first 100% bio-based 3D printed home, BioHome3D has completed its successful year-long outdoor testing, demonstrating its viability amid the global housing crisis. Constructed at the University of Maine‘s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC), the 600-square-foot home uses wood residuals, bio-resins, and wood fiber insulation, making it fully recyclable and a carbon sink. 

Absorbing 46 tons of carbon dioxide per unit, the innovative technology of BioHome3D addresses the construction industry’s 39% global carbon emissions. To enhance affordability and sustainability in housing solutions, the ASCC aims to expand BioHome3D production through the establishment of a Green Engineering and Materials Factory of the Future.

Software launch by EOS and printpal.io

On the software front, EOS has introduced Smart Fusion software for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) metal 3D printing, automating real-time laser power adjustments. The technology reduces the need for support structures, minimizes material usage, and lowers the cost-per-part for metal additive manufacturing. 

Smart Fusion’s real-time capabilities, validated in beta testing, demonstrated 2x-5x faster performance than leading competitors. The software measures laser power absorbed by the powder bed, using a high-resolution camera to monitor meltpool emissions and adjusting the laser accordingly. Priced at €27,000/$29,262 (EOS M 290) and €38,000/$41,184 (EOS M 300-4, EOS M 400-4), Smart Fusion is available with various materials.

3D printing solutions provider printpal.io has launched Print Farm Pro, an AI-based 3D printing solution. This package introduces advanced features, including centralized hardware for streamlined management, real-time AI-backed failure detection to minimize delays and reduce waste, and scalability for compatibility with various printing operations. Print Farm Pro caters to both small-scale and large-scale facilities, offering customized integration into existing workflows, and enhancing operational efficiency in the 3D printing industry.

U.S. Patent Granted for PyroGenesis Canada’s NexGen plasma atomization powder technology
PyroGenesis Canada Inc. has been granted a new U.S. Patent (US 11839918) for its NexGen plasma atomization powder technology. This patent outlines an innovative approach to producing high-purity spherical metallic powders for additive manufacturing and 3D printing. PyroGenesis’ NexGen process significantly improves efficiency, targeting higher production rates and a more uniform particle size distribution. 

The technology involves a two-wire simultaneous feedstock approach with electrically charged wires, enabling a more efficient atomization of metal and increased production output. PyroGenesis recently commercialized its titanium metal powders with its first by-the-tonne commercial order.

“Plasma atomization is considered the gold standard for the production of Additive Manufacturing powder,” said Mr. Massimo Dattilo, Vice President of PyroGenesis Additive. “PyroGenesis not only invented the process, but coined the name, which is now widely used in the industry. Because of our dedication to continuous improvement, when we decided to re-enter the market, we did so with a mandate to advance plasma atomization to the next level through a redesigned system we named “NexGen”. The confirmation of this U.S. patent for NexGen™ is a key validation of our approach and another major box checked in our market re-entry progress.”

Sanjay Mortimer Foundation recognized as a charity advocate
The Sanjay Mortimer Foundation (SMF) is officially recognized as a charity by the Charity Commission, aiming to support individuals with neurodivergent minds through engineering. By honoring the late Sanjay Mortimer, Co-Founder of E3D-Online, the foundation acknowledges the strengths of neurodivergent individuals and offers hands-on learning experiences, particularly through activities like 3D printing. 

With a mission to empower neurodiverse characteristics in engineering, SMF seeks to reshape the industry by fostering talents often overlooked in traditional educational settings. The foundation welcomes support through donations, partnerships, and volunteering, culminating in the inaugural Sanjay Mortimer RepRap Festival at the University of Oxford.

New research from Lancaster University

Developed by Lancaster University researchers, a method employs a photonic 3D printer to embed conductive circuits within living organisms. Utilizing lasers, photonic 3D printers mold materials into conductive shapes. 

Leveraging this technique, researchers printed star and square shapes inside living nematode worms by employing a photonic 3D printer and an ink containing the fluorescent plastic polypyrrole. According to Lancaster’s John Hardy, this approach could potentially print around 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches) inside larger organisms, including humans.

Microscopy image showing live Caenorhabditis elegans worms with 3D printed shapes. Photo via Lancaster University.

Helio Additive gains $1.55 million in funding

3D printing startup Helio Additive has secured $1.55 million in funding for advancing its innovative voxel-level simulation technology. CEO David Hartmann emphasized the scalability of their approach, aiming to provide users with confidence in 3D printing. 

Helio Additive’s physics-based simulation engine enables precise prediction of part behavior, enhancing quality, reducing errors, and improving efficiency. The funding will support implementing pilot projects and real-world applications, to broaden printer and material availability while enhancing the cost performance of industrial 3D printing.

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Featured image shows sustainable 3D printed surfboard by Blueprint Surf. Photo via Blueprint Surf.