In this edition of Sliced, the news digest of the 3D printing industry, we cover the latest business developments, partnerships and novel applications in the broader 3D printing sector.
Today’s edition features a series of collaborations, a lamp design competition, automotive industry updates, a new post-processing system, and the first commercially available 3D-printed house in the U.S.
Read on for the latest updates from Omegasonics, Blue Power, SQ4D, DMC, TCL Hofmann, CORE Industrial Partners, Summit Tooling, and more.
The first commercially available 3D printing house in the US is priced at $ 299,999. Photo via SQ4D.
New partnerships in the 3D printing industry
The Digital Manufacturing Center (DMC), an up and coming 3D printing office in the UK, has announced a partnership with Enable Manufacturing, the innovator behind additive casting. The novel technology combines traditional casting with 3D printing and uses a 3D printed polymer tool component coated with a ceramic shell to form a casting mold. The DMC will offer the service to its customers from March.
Kieron Salter, CEO at DMC, said: “In the coming months we will work closely with the Enable team to seamlessly integrate additive casting into our existing digitized processes. This collaboration is yet more exciting evidence that DMC and its partners are leading UK manufacturing into and beyond the fourth industrial revolution. “
In other European countries, the 3D printer OEM Rapid Shape has announced a partnership with the dentist SAREMCO Dental AG. Together, the companies will offer SAREMCO’s specialized 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 approved for permanent crowns, inlays and veneers.
Across the pond, the Binder-Jet 3D printer OEM ExOne has appointed equipment supplier TCL Hofmann as an authorized distributor for the sale of ExOne machines in Australia and New Zealand. The move is intended to bolster ExOne’s growing reach in the Asia-Pacific region as metal binder bonding is increasingly used in mass production applications.
Ben Leung, ExOnes Vice President for Asia added, “We are delighted to have such a respected and experienced supplier in the manufacturing industry, especially one with experience in 3D printing. As ExOne strengthens our network and strategy in Asia, we expect TCL Hofmann to play a key role in our growth and expansion. “
A part made by Enable using the additive casting process. Photo via Enable Manufacturing.
Automotive updates from Rolls-Royce and Cadillac
In the automotive world, the car manufacturer Cadillac presented its models 2022 CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing on February 1st. The vehicles have two 3D-printed HVAC ducts and a 3D-printed electrical harness bracket. The medallions on the buttons for manual gears are also 3D printed. Cadillac has reportedly reduced the cost and waste of developing the models’ manual transmission systems through additive manufacturing.
The Blackwing models are launched exclusively on the market. Only 250 units are offered to customers. The CT4-V Blackwing – the smaller of the two – is said to contain a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, while the CT5-V could have a 6.2-liter supercharged V8.
Elsewhere, materials company Nature Squared recently developed a special Rolls-Royce phantom with a 3D print. Named the Iridescent Opulence, the luxury car featured more than 3,000 sustainable bird species tail feathers lining the interior of the dashboard. The company used 3D printing to realistically emulate the musculature of a natural wing behind the springs, popping the dashboard with a touch of texture.
The 3D printed dashboard of iridescent opulence. Photo via Nature Squared.
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 tools and injection molding service bureaus. Together, the Summit companies are making the fourth additional acquisition of the Fathom brand since CORE first bought the company in 2018. With a new fleet of more than 30 machines, Fathom can now better serve the medical and packaging market with its new conventional manufacturing capabilities.
Ryan Martin, Fathom CEO, said, “Summit’s focus on customers during the design, prototyping and low volume manufacturing phases of a product’s lifecycle fits perfectly with Fathom’s unique customer value proposition. We are excited to work with the Summit team to explore ways we can better serve our customers through Fathom’s comprehensive digital manufacturing platform.
Elsewhere, ex-Stratasys CEO Ilan Levin has founded his own Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) called Moringa Acquisition Corp, which will reportedly focus on medium-sized Israeli tech companies with a proven model for commercial success. The company recently filed with the SEC to raise $ 100 million to acquire an Israeli technology company, with EarlyBirdCapital and Moelis & Co as underwriters. Moringa has not yet indicated whether or not it will pursue 3D printing companies at this point.
Post-processing and metallurgy technology from Omegasonics and Blue Power
In the peripheral technology market, Omegasonics of California recently upgraded its proprietary ultrasonic cleaning and removal equipment to improve processing speed. The updated technology is designed to optimize the post-processing part of the 3D printing workflow and is compatible with ABS, PC, PA-12 and other polymer parts that are 3D printed on FDM systems.
Armen Boyajyan of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, an Omegasonics customer, said, “It used to take a day to manually remove the liner from some 3D parts. Now we’ll just put the parts in the ultrasonic cleaner and do something else while they’re cleaning. After three hours we have nice, clean parts. “
In the field of metallurgy, the powder characterization specialist Rosswag Engineering recently qualified an AC1000 air classifier manufactured by Blue Power and added the device to its process chain for the production of metal powder. Rosswag will use the air classifier to reliably characterize even the finest alloy powders and thus ensure homogeneous layer coatings and maximum flowability for processes such as 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 powder, the separation of the finest particle fraction is also relevant for handling and occupational safety. “
Omegasonics has updated the technology of its ultrasonic cleaners. Photo via Omegasonics.
Essentium research and EOS training
The 3D printer OEM Essentium recently published the results of an independent global research study on the use of industrial 3D printing. In the survey, the company found that investing in industrial-scale 3D printers ultimately pays off. Participants reported several benefits. This includes improved part performance (46%), overall cost reductions (46%) and significantly reduced lead times for industrial components (45%).
On the flip side, the company also reported a number of remaining obstacles on the path to mass 3D printing adoption. In particular, 98% of manufacturers want more material choices, 37% say they are being held back by the high cost of 3D printing materials, and 24% think 3D printing materials are unreliable.
3D Printer OEM EOS recently launched a number of new online training programs aimed at introducing companies to 3D printing. The programs are offered as part of the Additive Minds consulting unit and are intended to enable employees to become experts in additive manufacturing in a short time. Modules are available for a variety of roles in additive manufacturing with several specialized 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 high-performance teams with all the skills that are required for additive manufacturing. The knowledge we offer ranges from a basic understanding of the technology to the selection of components for AM production, as well as design and AM-appropriate engineering, to scaling and validation of production. We develop a corresponding training program for each individual role. “
3D printed lamps and trading houses
With the latest applications in 3D printing technology in mind, construction company SQ4D recently 3D printed the first commercially available house in the US. The $ 299,999 property was printed using the company’s patent-pending Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS) and has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a dedicated 750 square foot garage.
Stephen King of Realty Connect added, “At $ 299,999, this home is 50% cheaper than comparable newly constructed homes in Riverhead, NY, and is an important step in addressing Long Island’s affordable housing crisis.”
Finally, the 3D printed lighting competition recently organized by Huda Lighting and Immensa Labs came to an end, with Khawarizm Studio taking the top spot. The Lou’Lou ‘lamp, the Arabic word for’ pearls’, was the focus of the podium with its geometric mix of cultural heritage and nature. The fractal design was inspired by both a wind catcher and a mathematical Voronoi diagram, and is meant to capture the studio’s love of Arab heritage and organic abstract patterns.
The award-winning 3D printed Lou’Lou ‘lamp. Photo via Khawarizm Studio.
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The image shown shows the Sliced logo on an image of a Rolls-Royce Phantom dashboard. Photo via Nature Squared.