The 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, industry has been around for over 35 years, but the going hasn’t always been easy or upward. Many 3D-printing companies that initially launched had many years of struggles. Today, however, the 3D-printing industry is quickly moving forward.
With an industry that is moving nearly as fast as the speed of light, it can be hard to keep track of its many developments. Here are some recent highlights from the 3D printing industry, including new products, hardware, research, and developments.
Casca is a Canadian startup that creates tailor-made 3D printed insoles for shoes. The benefit of offering 3D printed insoles is that they are totally customized. A 3D model of the customer’s feet is made via a mobile scanning app, and the insoles are then printed with recyclable and non-toxic thermoplastic polyurethane-based materials.
WASP, an Italian 3D printer manufacturer, and inventor/engineer Carlo Ratti have teamed up to build a hybrid machine that creates cups made from orange peels. The orange peels are transformed into bioplastic material through drying and milling and are then fed into a 3D printer to create the cups.
Deko 3D by Sepia, a French 3D visual communications company, invested in Massivit’s 3D printing technology to produce models of sports figures. Its most notable figure was a professional female soccer player that was displayed at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Luxury car manufacturer Bugatti has included 3D-printed exhaust finishers in its record-breaking Chiron model. The finishers are printed from titanium, and the design features optimized aerodynamics, which enable increased downforce and allow the vehicle to handle higher speeds.
Antemo, an Austrian engineering and manufacturing service, has invested in an F900 3D printer from Stratasys, the leading American 3D printer manufacturer. Antemo hopes to use 3D printing to advance production operations, expand its business opportunities, and cut costs. The company will manufacture prototypes, semiconductors, and small series parts for the aerospace industry.
Royal BAM, a European construction group, will reportedly be using 3D printing to help with the planned expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport.
Ultimaker, a desktop 3D-printer manufacturer, released a new 3D Printing Sentiment Index, which is hoped to be the first of an annual report. The index was created to help the 3D printing industry identify growth opportunities and stay abreast of new developments. According to the index, the countries that have the highest expectations for implementing 3D printing are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Additional new research has been released by Dr. Adam Hehr of the Ohio-based metal 3D printing company, Fabrisonic. His new technical paper, A Comprehensive Review of Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing, explores the company’s patented ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) technology.
New Material and Hardware
SISMA, an Italian 3D printer manufacturer, has introduced two new 3D printers this year: EVEMET 200 and EVERES VARIO. The former is a laser metal fusion 3D printer designed for the industrial and medical sectors, while the latter is a DLP system with 3840 x 2160 px resolution. The launch of EVERES VARIO follows the release of two similar DLP systems in 2018.
Wematter, a Swedish 3D printing startup, has released a new post-processing hardware device for SLS 3D printing called BlasThing Cabinet. Its purpose is to help users easily clean these types of 3D printers.
The Japanese imaging and electronics company, Ricoh, has released a new powder material for SLS printers designed specifically for the automotive industry.
Expansions and Cutbacks
Stratasys has announced a new authorized channel partner for Australia and New Zealand—TCL Hunt, and its subsidiary, TCL Hofmann. The company serves several industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, plastics processing, industrial, and medical.
Meanwhile, the British 3D printer manufacturer, Renishaw, revealed its recent struggles, including a steep drop in year-on-year profits to the tune of some £28 millon.
Health and Medical
Smart International, the authorized global brand licensee of KODAK 3D Printing, has announced its new partnership with a Colombia-based non-profit called e-NABLE Medellin. e-NABLE Medellin provides 3D printing to create prosthetic limbs and other devices to both adults and children. Smart International will supply the hardware, materials, and support, while e-NABLE will offer the devices to its network of people in need.
In the U.S., Florida-based medical research center, AdventHealth Nicholson Center, launched a 3D printing Prototype Lab, which uses 3D printing technology to help medical professionals develop their ideas for medical devices and improve clinical outcomes.
Virtually Unlimited Potential
What is fascinating about 3D printing is the potential — it can improve people’s lives in so many different areas, from health to travel to juicing. With an industry that has so much potential, it is no wonder that progress is being made at breakneck speed.
*This useful post has been contributed by a guest author to help our readers with more information.