Developments in 3D Printing
A Sector by Sector Overview
This report explores developments in 3D printing across several sectors and categories for the quarterly period of September 1, 2020 to December 1, 2020.
General and Services
Polish 3D printing solutions provider Zortrax's inCloud print management system and cloudbased service enables remote control and management of one or more of its printers, which can increase efficiency and make the systems easier to operate by single-device users and businesses in offices and large 3D printing farms. Prior to inCloud's release, Zortrax tested the service by having staff manage 200 3D printers at its headquarters. Similar companies, including MakerBot and Ultimaker, also improved their supply chains and streamlining workflows during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Switzerland-based JellyPipe, an online B2B marketplace connecting customers with 3D printing solution providers, resellers and service providers, is expanding its presence beyond continental Europe to UK and Ireland. The platform served over 5,500 clients since its founding in 2018, primarily in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. The company is focusing on recruiting 3D printing solutions and service providers in the UK and Ireland to onboard onto their platform.
Teton Simulation Software released its Smart Slice for Ultimaker Essentials, which is meant for enterprise customers and includes Cura Enterprise, Ultimaker Digital Factory and an Ultimaker Marketplace for plugins. Teton's Smart Slice product can optimize print settings, speed and material. The software analyzes models to determine if it is over-designed or under-designed. The package then looks at whether the part is structurally sound, and looks at the part's mass and print time to see if it can optimize those factors.
Prague-based 3Dsimo is a manufacturer of multi-functional tools for makers, which launched a website with a new design. The company also released a series of products. The first product is the most versatile tool in the portfolio. The 3Dsimo MultiPro 7in1 has seven changeable tool-heads, which are easy to switch out and ready to work after a short period. Second, the 3Dsimo Kit 2 4in1 also has a 3D pen tip, burning tip, soldering tip and foam cutting saw. Additionally, it released the Basic 2, which is a 3D pen designed for children over eight. The pen prints at a lower temperature than previous pens. This product has no additional print heads and there is only one material that users can work with due to lower nozzle temperature. This pen can print only from PCL plastic, but there is no risk of burns caused by hot nozzles.
Authentise released a "major feature update" in the form of its Material Management module. Because issues with materials usage and limited knowledge about how to reuse powders persist, the Authentise team expects its feature to positively impact the 3D printing industry. With simple tools for tracking powder, along with learning how to blend and test, users have increased access to information, machine and test data as well as basic manual operator inputs.
A team led by Michigan Technological University's Joshua Pearce, known for his work in open-source 3D printing, released the design plans for a low-cost, high-temperature opensource FDM printer. The three-headed machine called the "Cerberus" can be built for less than $1,000 and can print multiple high-performance materials such as PEKK and Ultem/ PEI. The self-replicating system is compatible with just one 500°C hotend, with the other two options set to be released.
Virginia-based MELD Manufacturing Corporation, a subsidiary of Aeroprobe Corporation, introduced another system to its range of metal 3D printers, the L3 MELD. Combining the features of the larger MELD K2 printer with a lower cost and smaller size, but bigger than the MELD B8, the L3 model has a 14.2-cubic-feet build model, and a 51 x 23 in table for fixturing parts. MELD's AM technology does not melt the material when it's repairing, coating, joining or 3D printing metals and metal matrix composites. It's a solid-state process, so the printers heat the materials so they deform enough to be shaped, without worrying about hot-cracking or porosity issues. The MELD process uses less energy than melt-based ones, but the company says it is able to print full-density parts with low residual stress. No post-processing techniques, like sintering or hot isostatic pressing, are needed once the part is off the build plate. MELD's 3D printers are designed to be easier to use in real-world manufacturing situations, and its machines can also produce bigger parts at a higher rate of speed in a variety of metal materials, from titanium and aluminum to steel, copper and nickel-based super alloys.
BIQU, a Chinese company that manufactures 3D printer components, announced its printer with the BIQU BX Direct Extruder FDM 3D printer, which is the lightest in its class. The BIQU BX is a plug-and-play direct extruding printer that uses fused deposition modeling, which is a 3D printing technology that prints a figure by depositing the thermoplastics layer by later. According to its Kickstarter page, the printer "is an out-of-box-all-level-user-friendly DIY creative task achiever that is perfect for hobbyists, makers and professionals alike."
SLA system manufacturer RPS launched its industrial Neo450 series of 3D printers. Available in two models, the Neo450e and the Neo450s, the machine is based on the company's debut Neo800 3D printer. With a large-format build volume of 450 x 450 x 400mm, the Neo450 is primarily intended for prototyping, rapid tooling and master patterning applications.
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