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 a slew of system installations, new graphene-based materials, medical implant advances and the first full-time community for 3D printed electronics developers.
Read on for the most recent updates from Wematter, B9Creations, AM Solutions, Nano Dimension, SOLIDPRINT3D and more.
Business news from SOLIDPRINTUK, UpNano and more
Kicking off this week with the latest in the 3D printing business world, AM Solutions, a subsidiary of the Rösler Group, has named SOLIDPRINT3D as its newest reseller. According to AM Solutions, the move, which will see SOLIDPRINT3D distribute its M1 Basic machine in the UK, “marks another important development” in its mission to roll-out automated post-processing in the wider 3D printing ecosystem.
“It is of course vitally important that we partner with companies that reflect our values, and this is indeed the case with SOLIDPRINT3D,” explains Colin Spellacy, Head of Sales at AM Solutions UK. “Initially, SOLIDPRINT3D will distribute our M1 Basic post-processing solution, an all-round machine that smooths and polishes single parts and small batches of both plastic and metal AM parts.”
Over in 3D scanning, SMARTTECH has also signed a new distribution agreement with Swiss reseller FOBA AG. However, rather than acting as a distributor of SMARTTECH machines, the company will now supply it with a portfolio of accessories for its scanners such as column stands, designed to stabilize the devices during usage.
On the funding front, meanwhile, two photon polymerization (2PP) 3D printer developer UpNano has announced the closure of a funding round that “significantly strengthens” its R&D plans. Although the firm hasn’t disclosed the amount of cash raised, it’s understood to have been provided by existing backers like IGO Industries, and is set to be used to fund its process development and US expansion.
“In times of bumpy rides on the stock exchange and wild changes of ownerships in the highly competitive 2PP 3D printing industry, we are grateful for a profitable 2021 and the trust – and deep pockets – of our existing investors,” said Bernhard Küenburg, CEO of UpNano. “They alone financed our recent capital increase. This ensures our steady and focused innovation process as well as our independence and our expansion plans.”
Wematter unveils graphene PA11 plans
Moving onto materials now, Swedish 3D printer OEM Wematter has revealed that it’s working alongside Graphmatech to come up with a graphene-infused polymer powder. Being developed specifically for use with Wematter’s Gravity Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system, the PA11 is set to be electrically-conductive, in a way that could lend it aerospace, communications and automotive applications.
“The Gravity system by Wematter is an appealing SLS system for printing our high-performing graphene-enhanced powders,” explains Dr Mamoun Taher, CEO & Founder of Graphmatech. “The innovative powder handling system developed by Wematter makes the Gravity system very user-friendly which is key when introducing new powder products to the market.”
“The graphene enhanced powder will meet the needs of some of the most demanding customers in the telecommunications, aerospace and automotive industries.”
Likewise, 3D printer manufacturer B9Creations has announced the launch of a new electrostatic discharge (ESD)-safe resin. Developed around Arizona-based start-up Mechnano’s MechT technology, this ‘ESD Rigid’ material is composed of a combination of detangled and separated carbon nanotubes, that can reportedly be tailored by users to meet the needs of their specific end-application.
“That’s the power of MechT,” said Mechnano President Bryce Keeler. “We’re able to add desired properties—in this case, ESD—without compromising mechanical performance. ESD Rigid provides a valuable AM solution to highly technical industries. We’re excited MechT is now commercially available for use on B9 Core Series 3D printers, and we look forward to working with B9Creations to answer the calls of other industries as well.”
CDH Custom Roll earns ISO certification
In-house roll forming, stamping and slitting service provider CDH Custom Roll Form has gained ISO 9001:2015 accreditation for the quality management system (QMS) in place at its facility in Warren, Ohio. The certification regulates the manufacture and supply of cold roll-formed sections, and ensures they meet user needs when it comes to custom profiles, construction parts and power transmission.
As well as offering services via its roll-forming, internal testing and laboratory facilities, the complex in question features 3D printers and other machines that allow CDH Custom Roll Form to help clients accelerate their product prototyping. Having gained accreditation, the firm believes its offering could now be appealing to an even wider customer audience.
“This is a natural progression for the company as we move forward with our plans for aggressive growth,” said Jack Pacalo, President of CDH Custom Roll Form. “It enables us to work with an even broader group of customers that require ISO certification from its manufacturers and suppliers.”
Nexa3D, SLM and Titomic issue sales updates
Next up, in sales news, Nexa3D has announced that it has officially begun shipping its XiP desktop 3D printer. Launched at Formnext 2021, the 195 x 115 x 210 mm build volume system already has hundreds of designers on a waiting list, with the unit’s comparatively robust production capabilities said to be behind its early success.
“We designed XiP to fill a need in the market,” explains Michael Currie, VP and GM of Nexa3D’s Desktop Business Unit. “Every aspect of the XiP was thought and rethought to heighten capabilities, increase productivity, and eliminate the pain points of other resin systems out there today. It’s a hugely exciting time for our team, and we can’t wait to hear what people are printing now that they can access industrial strength at desktop size.”
Titomic, the Australia-based firm behind Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology, has also sold its first four cold spray D523 3D printers. Bought by four separate firms operating in the engine remanufacturing and rail sectors, each of the machines are set to be used as a means of expanding their in-house production capabilities, which in turn are set to be utilized for creating spares and to fulfill clients’ orders.
Elsewhere, in the automotive sector, SLM Solutions has sold two more systems to an undisclosed ‘major European automotive brand.’ This mystery firm, which is said to already have installed more than ten SLM Solutions systems, leverages them to produce a range of metal vehicle parts, with the focus being primarily on serial manufacturing.
“This latest sale is a testament to the quality of our systems and our commitment to making our partners realize their visions,” says SLM Solutions CEO, Sam O’Leary. “The productivity and reliability of our systems and the innovation and support of our team make us the go-to with the world’s leading automotive OEMs. These are long-lasting relationships forged from trust and close collaboration as much as they are from metal and lasers.”
Lastly in our installation update, Prototal Damvig A/S has announced the expansion of its 3D printing portfolio with the purchase of a Stratasys H350 system. The company’s investment is expected to drive business growth through the volume production of end-use, load-bearing parts, including bearings, brackets and mold tools, as well as complex components with moving hinges, gears and clips.
Community for 3D printed electronics
J.A.M.E.S, a joint venture set up by HENSOLDT and Nano Dimension, has established a novel platform known as the ‘FrAMEwork,’ which is meant to be the first ‘active community’ working towards 3D printed electronics. Already, leveraging Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 3D printer, J.A.M.E.S engineers have made several R&D advances, including the integration of electronics into a fully-printed drone frame.
“Our mission is to provide a space where anyone across the globe can share stories and ideas about AME, exchange technical know-how and designs and enjoy the benefits of real-time communication with AME enthusiasts and professionals,” said Andreas Müller, CEO of J.A.M.E.S. “AME enables new and visionary applications in electronics that cannot be realized with conventional electronics manufacturing, and we strive to enable members to explore new possibilities in 3D.”
Medical AM advances announced
In the first of two medical 3D printing advances reported this week, Oxford Performance Materials has agreed to partner with Fuse Medical to develop a new line of spinal, extremity and sports medicine implants. It’s believed the companies’ agreement will enable the creation of cervical and lumbar spinal interbodies, soft tissue fixation devices for sports medicine, and other foot and ankle grafts.
“This new collaboration with OPM continues our mission to develop unique, differentiated products and technologies with breakout potential,” said Fuse CEO Chris Reeg. “Over the past year, Fuse has developed a deep scientific understanding of OPM’s OsteoFab PEKK technology, and our team is extremely excited about developing new product lines in spine, sports medicine, and foot and ankle that feature OsteoFab’s unique set of clinical benefits.”
In India, meanwhile, an Ethiopian patient has been treated for Kyphoscoliosis at SIMS Hospital with the help of a pre-operative model of the spine, which was prepared in-house via 3D printing. Ultimately, the complex surgery was carried out by hanging 13-14kg of weight to the 15-year-old patient’s head for four weeks, as a means of stretching, straightening and correcting their spinal deformity.
Application innovation: from planting to instrument design
Finishing up this week’s digest with application news, GREENFILL3D and Deckard Design have unveiled a technology for applying 2.5D full-color prints to biodegradable bran materials. Made from recycled pasta wheat, the first circular parts to be created via this process, unique tags for potted plants, will soon be distributed by Deckard Design in the European and North American markets.
Finally, over in Japan, violin maker Katahashi Instruments has developed a MultiJet Fusion (MJF)-3D printed instrument, featuring a computationally-designed body. On sale for a lofty €1,850, this ‘Karen Ultralight’ electric violin with a frame made from recyclable polyamide, comes with fingerboard, tuning pegs and chinrest, and is available in a variety of finishes like pearl white, dark platinum and red copper.
“Karen Ultralight is created through computational design systems, thus achieving a structurally ultralight instrument, calculated at the highest ergonomic and acoustic level,” explains the firm via its website. “The body is made of natural wood and finished in carbon fiber for a perfect sono-acoustic response and the frame is made of a mathematical structure delicately calculated for its purpose.”
“A perfect study of ergonomics, ultralight design and application of high-tech materials; all this is integrated into an elegant and slim product.”
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Featured image shows the Sliced logo on a set of GREENFILL3D and Deckard Design-3D printed wheat tags. Photo via GREENFILL3D.