Industrial-scale 3D-printing soars to new heights

  • Rapid + TCT 2019

    For anyone keeping tabs on advances in industrial-scale 3D printing, the least you can say is that it’s been busy. A flurry of announcements landed in our in-box the last couple of weeks leading up to and during Rapid + TCT in Detroit on May 20 to 23. Materials suppliers such as BASF and Royal DSM, technology innovators including Materialise, and suppliers of 3D printing services such as Jabil chose the event to showcase their most exciting recent developments. They are highlighted in this slide show.

    Image courtesy Rapid + TCT.

  • Soft ToughRubber 3D-printable material

    Soft ToughRubber is a new 3D-printable material that reportedly combines the feel and mechanical properties of silicone with the resolution and surface finish enabled by Digital Light Processing (DLP) printing. Material developer Adaptive 3D Technologies (Dallas, TX) has entered into a partnership with Royal DSM (Geleen, Netherlands), which will help produce, distribute and sell Soft ToughRubber and guarantee its availability in production quantities globally. DSM invested in Adaptive 3D Technologies earlier this year.

    Current applications for the new material include medical models as well as consumer products such as earbuds and footwear. DSM and Adaptive3D said they will continue working together closely to explore new applications and develop materials that best meet market needs. The companies will focus on and co-develop materials that enable next-generation soft, flexible and elastic solutions suited for automotive and electronic appliances.

  • Renault R.S. 19 Formula One race car

    Contract manufacturer Jabil (St. Petersburg, FL) announced an additive manufacturing agreement on May 21 with the Renault F1 team to accelerate the development and delivery of 3D-printed race car parts for the Renault R.S. 19, which is competing in the 2019 Formula One World Championship.

    The Renault F1 team was an early adopter of additive manufacturing, said a news release distributed by Jabil. It has diligently sought ways to produce parts quickly and economically while reducing vehicle weight without compromising part strength or integrity. “We look forward to taking advantage of Jabil’s growing ecosystem of certified materials, processes and machines to boost parts availability and overall productivity,” said Antoine Magnan, Head of Partnerships, Renault Sport Racing.

    Jabil also recently expanded additive manufacturing capabilities at its Detroit-area facility to support automotive and healthcare applications. The ISO 13485–certified plant offers customers access to world-class machines for high-speed sintering, selective laser sintering and fused filament fabrication.

    Image courtesy Renault.

  • Ultracur3D ST 45

    Photopolymer materials for advanced manufacturing applications formulated by BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) have qualified for early development access to Wave Applied Voxel (WAV) technology currently under development by Paxis LLC (Crystal Lake, IL).

    The Ultracur3D ST 45 reactive urethane photopolymer is designed to fulfill the requirements of functional applications for high accuracy and mechanical strength, said BASF. Ultracur3D ST 45 can be used to produce high-performance functional parts via stereolithography, digital light processing or Liquid Crystal Display.

    Collaboration with materials suppliers such as BASF at the early stages of development of WAV technology will advance system capabilities and hardware improvements, said Paxis, and enable end users to integrate the technology quickly into their operations.

    WAV extends the application possibilities of additive manufacturing to a much broader scope than current technologies allow, according to Paxis. Equipment and processes can be adapted to requirements that were previously unimaginable in additive manufacturing, the company added.

    “BASF’s collaboration with Paxis will enable customers to access a modular additive manufacturing technology, whether they are producing large quantities of small parts, small quantities of very large parts, or anything in between,” said Oleksandra Korotchuk, Business Development Manager, BASF 3D Printing Solutions.

    Paxis said that it is primarily focused on commercial manufacturing applications in the aerospace, automotive, dental and medical sectors. It is also engaged in identifying potential vertical markets within advanced manufacturing that have so far been ignored because of the limitations of existing technologies.

  • Materialise and HP partnership

    Materialise NV (Leuven, Belgium) announced partnerships with HP, Nikon and Essentium during the 2019 Rapid+TCT conference in Detroit. The collaborations will support the adoption of 3D printing by industrial manufacturing companies, said Materialise.

    The Belgian 3D-printing pioneer has developed a new version of its build processor to support the full range of the HP Multi Jet Fusion portfolio, providing a seamless connection between its Magics 3D Print Suite and HP’s additive manufacturing technology. Materialise also announced that it is working with customers to develop applications for HP’s thermoplastic polyurethane Ultrasint, developed by BASF, which is suited for flexible and elastic parts. HP has gained certification as part of Materialise’s program to test and validate 3D-printing technology as being fully compatible with its Mimics and Mimics InPrint software. The certification allows medical professionals to print full-color anatomical models for diagnostic and surgical planning applications. Materialise is the first company in the world to receive FDA clearance for software intended for such use.

    Strategic collaborations with Nikon and Essentium, which is described as a developer of disruptive 3D-printing solutions for industrial additive manufacturing, are designed to improve the process and advance and scale industrial 3D printing.

    Materialise also announced the release of a new version of its Streamics 3D-printing management software in June 2019.

  • Impossible Objects CBAM-2

    A leap forward in composite 3D printing was announced by Impossible Objects (Northbrook, IL) at the 2019 Rapid + TCT event in Detroit this month. The additive manufacturing technology company introduced its newest 3D printing system, the CBAM-2, and a partnership with BASF at the show.

    The CBAM-2 system, which was shown for the first time at Rapid + TCT, reportedly accelerates the additive manufacturing process as much as 10 times, combining high-performance polymers with long-fiber carbon and fiberglass sheets to rapidly produce 3D composite parts that are stronger and lighter, with better temperature performance, than competing technologies. Indeed, the CBAM-2 can print parts from composites that can’t be achieved using any other 3D printing method, according to the company, and it can produce printed sheets up to 12 X 12 inches in size. The new machines will be available starting in Q3 2019.

    Impossible Objects also announced that its Model One printer introduced in 2017 and adopted by Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. Air Force, among others, as well as the CBAM-2 will support BASF’s Ultrasint PA6 powder. It is the only 3D printing system that enables the fabrication of carbon fiber-PA6 composite parts, according to the company. “Our collaboration with Impossible Objects opens up new possibilities for customers, especially in the automotive and industrial sectors, where we’re seeing strong demand for PA6,” said Kara Noack, regional business director for BASF 3D Printing Solutions.

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