Prodways 3D printing selected for multibillion dollar opportunity by Schneider Electric

Industrial 3D printers from machine manufacturer Prodways have been selected as the driving force of a project seeking to boost the turnaround of commercial electrical components.

Global energy management firm Schneider Electric (EPA:SU) and French additive manufacturing development platform Platinium 3D have partnered with the company on the project.

The aim its to incorporate 3D printing into the production of plastic injection molds in Schneider’s product development pipeline. 

“Our goal is to use cutting-edge technologies to shorten the product development cycle,” explains Frédérick Choupin, manager of Schneider Electric’s internal model shop OpenLab.

“With 3D printing and agile project management, we’re in a position to overcome the traditional obstacles of long-established processes and market an innovative product 60% faster.”

Schneider Electric Life is On graphic.
Schneider Electric Life is On graphic.

A multibillion dollar opportunity 

Each year, Schneider Electric launches around 400 new products including electric car charging stations, energy meters, circuit breakers and solar panels. In 2017, the company reported revenues in excess of €24 billion ($28 billion USD) and it thanks a strategic time to market focus for a large part of this success.

Under this new 3D printing partnership, Schneider is using Prodways’ trademark MOVINGLight technology to create 3D molds for its electrical components.

MOVINGLight 3D printing 

MOVINGLight is a digital light processing (DLP) photopolymerization based technology. It is capable of producing high resolution parts at high speeds from a liquid resin. At Prodways MOVINGLight technology is available for both plastic and ceramic materials. In Schneider’s case, the plastic 3D printers, e.g. the LD, L, and L series D variants, are the best selection for injection mold making.

The ProMaker L6000 D MOVINGLight DLP 3D printer from Prodways. Image via Prodways
The ProMaker L6000 D MOVINGLight DLP 3D printer from Prodways. Image via Prodways

Over the course of a year, the collaborators have so far developed twenty-five 3D printed tooling molds for Schneider’s OpenLab, which in turn result in hundreds of production-grade injection molded parts. Sébastien Guenet director of Platinium 3D, explains, “With 3D printing, we can produce tooling prototypes in a few hours, modify them immediately based on the needs of the functional tests and then inject final material parts,”

“Thanks to this process, we considerably speed up the new-product development cycle since the final material parts are already certified even before the aluminum production mold is finalized.”

Blazing the trail

Recently, Prodways recently launched the compact ProMaker LD-3 MovingLight DLP 3D printer, and announced the first shipping of its Rapid Additive Forging (RAF) metal 3D printer.

Meanwhile, Schneider Electric also invested its efforts in a 3D printed house project at the Technical University of Valencia. Since 2016, Schneider’s Openlab has also been working with Stratasys 3D printer to streamline its production.

In this most recent partnership, Prodways, Openlab by Schneider Electric and Platinium 3D hope to reaffirm their position as trailblazers in France’s 3D printing industry.

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Featured image shows closeup of Prodways 3D printer. Photo via Prodways

3D printing news Sliced SketchFab, Sinterit, Vivo, MakerBot, HP, ExOne

How can 3D printing reduce a company’s carbon footprint? Can 3D printing materials combat skin infections within amputees? Would you wear 3D printed swimwear accessories?

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest from Renovis Surgical Technologies, Copper 3D, HP, The University of Canterbury and more.  

Improving water quality with 3D printing

University of Canterbury Master of Engineering student, Benjamin Houlton, is currently developing a 3D printed water filter that can successfully remove trace metals from water streams and polluted waterways.

Similar to the Sonora Institute of Technology’s osmosis-reversing 3D printed water filters, this device will improve the quality of water in developing countries.

Houlton is using computer simulations of water flows through filters to establish the ideal structure for his filter. 3D printing technologies can then enable the production of water filters with more intricate structures, which is hard to obtain through traditional manufacturing methods.

“Further down the track the filters could be used in developing countries like Cambodia where there are high levels of arsenic in river water,” said Holton.

UC Master of Engineering student Benjamin Houlton. Photo via the University of Canterbury.
UC Master of Engineering student Benjamin Houlton. Photo via the University of Canterbury.

3D printed swimwear accessories

Ciska Barnard, the swimwear designer for South-African based clothing brand Bambshell, has used 3D printing to accessorize its swimwear collection for finalists of the Miss South Africa Pageant.

The swimwear collection, called Bare Beauty, inspired by natural skin tones, featured 3D printed flowers made from Sinterit’s TPU-based material Flexa Black, which gave the flowers a smooth and flexible finish.  

“Fashion needs more flexible solutions. It is not so easy to find a dependable, flexible material that would be a perfect match for the fashion industry and available for 3D printers,” said Konrad Glowacki, co-founder of Sinterit.

The flowers were 3D printed by were printed by the South African service bureau, Build Volume, using the desktop SLS 3D printer, Sinterit Lisa.

Swimwear from the Bare Beauty collection which features 3D printed flowers. Photo via Bambshell.
Swimwear from the Bare Beauty collection which features 3D printed flowers. Photo via Bambshell.

High-resolution 3D sensing

Vivo a China-based company specializing in communications technology revealed its Time of Flight (TOF) 3D Sensing Technology at MWC Shanghai 2018. This technology identifies the time it takes for pulse light to come back to the sensor and can map objects up to three meters away.

Due to its potential to capture three-dimensional details with up to 300,000 sensor points, Alex Feng, Senior Vice President of Vivo expects this new technology to open doors in facial, gesture and motion recognition, 3D photography and AR.

“[Vivo] continue to forge ahead and evolve towards the truly intelligent future by opening new ways for the AI to help the consumer,” said Alex Feng, Senior Vice President of Vivo.

“By combining TOF 3D Sensing Technology with AI, we will continue to explore new possibilities for a better future.”


Advancements in 3D materials

New York-based 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot, has released a new filament, MakerBot Tough designed for 3D printing functional prototypes. This new material boasts twice the impact strength of ABS filaments and offers unique properties that reduce warping.

MakerBot Tough filament springs. Photo via MakerBot.
MakerBot Tough filament springs. Photo via MakerBot.

Chilean biotechnology company, Copper 3D has developed antibacterial 3D printing materials from copper nanoparticles, called PLACTIVE, to combat the skin infections within amputees which are caused by their prostheses.

“We started prototyping a new polymer for 3D printing with an internationally patented additive containing copper nanoparticles among other elements, extremely effective in eliminating fungi, viruses and bacteria, but harmless to humans at the right concentrations,” said Daniel Martínez, Physical Therapist and Director of Innovation at Copper3D.

Applications for the PLACTIVE material.Image via Copper3D.
Applications for the PLACTIVE material.Image via Copper3D.

In related medical news, Renovis Surgical Technologies, a medical technology company based in Austin, has obtained 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its 3D printed Tesera SA hyperlordotic ALIF interbody spinal fusion system.

HP reduces carbon footprint with 3D printing

HP has released its 137-page Sustainable Impact Report, which credited additive manufacturing implementation as a major factor for in the reduction of its IT supply chain carbon footprint.

Speaking at Hp’s annual Sustainability Summit in London yesterday, George Brasher, Managing Director of HP UK, acknowledged the potential environmental impact that industry 4.0 is having on the manufacturing sector.

“In the future what’s going to happen is you’ll design a product – instead of having a physical supply chain you’ll have a digital one, so you’ll ship ones and zeroes, and then that production will occur closer to the consumer, significantly reducing the impact on the environment.”

Exone’s realignment program

In other news, global 3D printing technologies provider, ExOne, has announced a global cost realignment program which aims to reduce expenses in the day-to-day operations of its operations, including all sites. Additionally, this program will analyze ExOne’s employment rate in an effort to manage and maximize its overall capital.

“With the essential goal of significantly improving our cash flows in 2019, we have conducted a review of our cost structure and working capital practices. We are evaluating each position and expense within our organization, with the desire to improve productivity,” stated S. Kent Rockwell, ExOne’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“We made the difficult decision to eliminate certain positions within ExOne,all the while, we remain focused on our research and development goals and long-term revenue growth goals, which will not be impacted by these changes, as we continue to lead the market adoption of our binder jetting technology.” 

SketchFab launches 3D model marketplace

SketchFab, a global company providing online platforms for 3D content, has officially launched the SketchFab Store, following the release of the beta version earlier this year.

“We’re extremely excited to launch the Sketchfab store after a successful open beta,” said Alban Denoyel, Co-founder and CEO of Sketchfab.

“The store allows our extraordinarily talented community to easily monetize their work on a single platform, while the model inspector takes the guesswork out of 3D model purchases. We cannot thank our early adopter buyers and sellers enough for sharing their thoughtful feedback and making the official store as strong as possible!”

One of many royalty-free 3D models available on the SketchFab Store. Image via SketchFab.

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Featured image shows Sliced logo over one of many royalty-free 3D models available on the SketchFab Store. Image via SketchFab.

3D Printing Industry puts Fiberlogy filaments to the test

Avon Engineering Services Ltd is now the UK distributor/supplier for Fiberlogy, an FFF/FDM 3D printer material manufacturer headquartered in Poland.

Recently, the engineering team at 3D Printing Industry were given the opportunity by Avon Engineering to sample Fiberlogy’s material range.

Fiberlogy PET-G, Easy PLA and Fiberflex 40D were tested using 3D printable models from the MyMiniFactory community, with each model adding a different level of complexity to the task.

The engineering team performed the tests below on two low-cost desktop machines, the Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer and a Dremel 3D20. The print profiles are recorded at the end of the article.

test 3D prints in Fiberlogy PET-G, Easy PLA and Fiberflex 40D. 
Test 3D prints in Fiberlogy PET-G, Easy PLA and Fiberflex 40D.

Fiberology Easy PLA, PET-G and Fiberflex 40D

Easy PLA is Fiberlogy’s standard filament and intended for use in any basic 3D prints, the material  is specially adapted to to make objects like household items, accessories, toys and ornaments.

With a higher rigidity than ABS, and chemical resistance, PET-G is a material for functional prototyping and end-use parts.

And Fiberflex 40D is a rubber like filament with high impact resistance, suited to amateur and professional applications.

Feature test with supports

The Venus Callipyge is part of the Louvre sculpture collection in Paris. Captured and modeled by Scan the World, this miniature replica of the Venus serves a test for a material’s ability to create defining features of a design. It is also a test of the material 3D printed as supports.

3D printing at 200°C, the lower end of the material’s recommended temperature range, the Easy PLA Venus yielded positive results on the first try.

3D printing the Venus in PET-G, this time at 240°C, the team reported very good result.

The sculptures’ features, e.g. eyes, nose, hair, clothing, are accurately picked out in both models, though appear more striking in the white Easy PLA due to the color of the filament.

Venus Callipyge sculpture 3D printed in Vertigo PET-G and white Easy PLA.
Venus Callipyge sculpture 3D printed in Vertigo PET-G and white Easy PLA.

Support-free benchmarking test

In a second test, the team used the Calibration Cat (Cali Cat) by Dezign. Like the famous 3D Benchy, the Cali Cat is a simple test used as a benchmarking print for new materials/3D printers. It is designed with features angled at 45° so it can be 3D printed entirely without supports.

3D printing the Cali Cat in Easy PLA, the temperature had to be raised to 210°C to achieve the right quality.

In Fiberflex 40D the team achieved great results 3D printing the Cali Cat at 220°C (with an ambient print bed) on a Dremel 3D20 3D printer.

A Cali Cat 3D printed in Fiberlogy Fiberflex 40D.
A Cali Cat 3D printed in Fiberlogy Fiberflex 40D.

A PET-G Cali Cat, on the other hand, provided a “perfect” print on the first try.

There are more visible lines on the white Easy PLA Cali Cat, but the light “sparkle” effect of the gray PET-G gives an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Cali Cat 3D printed in white Easy PLA (left) and Vertigo PET-G (right)
Cali Cat 3D printed in white Easy PLA (left) and Vertigo PET-G (right)

Functional spare part

Third, a battery cover for the back of computer mouse was tried to prove the functionality of the materials.

This part effectively 3D printed across the board, though Easy PLA and PET-G were more fit for purpose due to rigidity.

Replacement battery covers 3D printed in Vertigo PET-G, white Easy PLA and black Fiberflex 40D.
Replacement battery covers 3D printed in Vertigo PET-G, white Easy PLA and black Fiberflex 40D.

Torture test

Finally to fully test overhangs, bridges, hinges and the floating strings required to make designs like the Hairy Lion by Primoz, our engineers selected Ian Robinson’s Torture Test as a sample model.  

Fiberlogy PET-G 3D printed Torture Test (Vertigo, left) vs. Easy PLA (white, right)
Fiberlogy PET-G 3D printed Torture Test (Vertigo, left) vs. Easy PLA (white, right)

In Easy PLA, the Torture Test achieved “good” results – no stringing between bridges or overhangs, and an easy moving hinge.

The Torture Test in PET-G was even better quality than Easy PLA, 3D printing with clean lines and creating a good “hairy” effect on the tree of the tile (pictured below, left of center on grey tile).

Fiberlogy PET-G 3D printed Torture Test (Vertigo, left) vs. Easy PLA (white, right)
Fiberlogy PET-G 3D printed Torture Test (Vertigo, left) vs. Easy PLA (white, right)

Anycubic i3 Mega settings

For reference, all objects apart from the Cali Cat made from Fiberflex 40D were 3D printed on an Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer using the following settings. In the Cali Cat Fiberflex 40D test  we switched to a 3D printer without a bowden setup.

Slicer: Simplify3D, using a manually created profile
Primary layer height: 0,1200 mm
Infill: 20%
Support: 20%

PLA print temperature: 210°C & 200°C
PLA bed temperature: 60°C

PET-G print temperature: 240°C
PET-G bed temperature: 30°C

Print speed: 2200 mm/min to achieve high quality prints.

Dremel 3D20 settings

Setting for the Dremel 3D20 used to 3D print the Cali Cat. (Retraction, support, brim, no draft)

Primary layer height : 0,200 mm
Infill: 20%
Support: 30%

Fiberflex 40D print temperature: 220°C
Fiberflex 40D bed temperature: ambient

Print speed : 2400mm/min

Fancy trying out Fiberlogy filaments yourself? The full range of materials, PET-G, Easy PLA, Fiberflex 40D and more are available to buy online from Avon Engineering Services.

Featured image shows test 3D prints in Fiberlogy PET-G, Easy PLA and Fiberflex 40D. 

Prodways 3D writing (generic term) chosen for multibillion monetary unit (generic term) chance by Schneider electrical

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3D writing (generic term) intelligence chopped SketchFab, Sinterit, Vivo, MakerBot, HP, ExOne

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How can 3D writing (generic term) cut down a company’s carbon footprint? Can 3D writing (generic term) materials armed combat tegument infections inside amputees? Would you deterioration (generic term) 3D printed swimwear accessories? In this impression (generic term) of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest from Renovis medical procedure (related term) Technologies, Copper 3D, HP, The body (generic term) of Canterbury and more.   Improving […]

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3D writing (generic term) commercial enterprise (generic term) puts Fiberlogy filaments to the mental test

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Avon technology employment (generic term) Ltd is now the UK distributor/supplier for Fiberlogy, an FFF/FDM 3D printer worldly manufacturer headquartered in Poland. Recently, the technology squad at 3D writing (generic term) commercial enterprise (generic term) were granted the chance by Avon technology to sample Fiberlogy’s worldly range. Fiberlogy PET-G, casual PLA and Fiberflex 40D were tried exploitation 3D unprintable (antonym) models from the […]

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Interview: Jun Kamei RCA designer behind our 3D printed gills

In Jun Kamei’s latest project, materials science and and cutting edge design combine in a fully 3D printed mask that could help humans breathe underwater.

Titled Amphibiothe 3D printed gills were created to serve as a chilling premonition of the effects of Global Warming and the Earth’s rising sea levels. In an exclusive interview for 3D Printing Industry, I speak to Kamei to learn more about his latest concept and how design can have a positive impact on the environment.

Amphibio 3D printed gills. Design by Jun Kamei / Photography by Mikito Tateisi / Model Jessica Wang
Suit up – Amphibio 3D printed gills. Design by Jun Kamei / Photography by Mikito Tateisi / Model Jessica Wang

Adapt and survive 

Kamei is a researcher, designer and materials scientist for the the MicroLab team, a joint intiative between the Tokyo University Institute of Industrial Science and London’s Royal College of Art (RCA). Inspired by nature, Kamei’s work frequently veers into the realm of biomimicry.

In the creation of Amphibio, Kamei explains, “I was particularly interested in water diving insects which can survive underwater by virtue of a gill.”

In addition, Kamei was stirred by estimates that the Earth’s temperature would rise by up to 3.2℃ by the the year 2100. If so, the Amphibio bio asserts that the temperature rise would result in a sea level rise “affecting more that 30% of the global population and submerging the megacities situated in the coastal areas.”

Considering these predictions, Kamei sought a way for how humans could adapt to survive.

3D printed gills

Amphibio gills are made from three, multimaterial 3D printed rings worn like a bib around a person’s neck. Kamei says “the material is a combination of hydrophobic material, elastomeric material” and “a few other things” that cannot be disclosed due a patent pending for the formulation.

The flexible, and water resistant rings are 3D printed with multiple compartments that appear as ridges on the surface. In a proof on concept experiment, Kamei demonstrated how gills can be used expel carbon dioxide and take in oxygen from the surround water.

Amphibio 3D printed gills. Design by Jun Kamei / Photography by Mikito Tateisi
Amphibio 3D printed gills. Design by Jun Kamei / Photography by Mikito Tateisi

How do they work?

Kamei’s 3D printed gill is suspended by two connecting tubes in the center of a tank filled with water. Through the left tube, Kamei fills the gill with 70% CO2 gas, mimicking the level of CO2 concentration when a person exhales. Attached to the second tube, there is a sensor that monitors the oxygen level inside the gill at all times.

From here, Kamei explains, “The system is enclosed with air tight one way valve, thus the only way oxygen could be replenished in the gill is through the membrane from the surrounding water,”

“The surrounding water has oxygen dissolved into it, and because the percentage of oxygen is low inside of the gill, these oxygen molecules in the water travel through the membrane inside of the gill to compensate the concentration difference,” like the process of osmosis.

“A similar thing happens for the excess CO2 molecules, which in contrary travel from inside of the gill to the surrounding water.”

In the video below you can observe how the oxygen level rises inside the mask on a screen that reads from the attached oxygen sensor.

“This is the mechanism of how the gill can replenish oxygen and get rid of the CO2,” Kamei adds.

The return to Atlantis

At present, the Amphibio gills are not suitable to replace your typical scuba gear, but Kamei did give some helpful pointers for how the device might read the next stage.

Firstly, “enough surface area [of the gills]needs to be secured around the body.”

“Secondly, a safety measure needs to be in place which monitors the oxygen level and could switch to a smaller emergency gas tank in case the gill does not provide enough oxygen.”

And finally, it would need to be tested in “a controlled aquarium with human oxygen consumption simulation.”

Other 3D printing projects seeking to help us adapt to our changing environment include the pollution absorbing bikini from the University of California Riverside and  Dani Clode‘s third thumb.

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Featured image shows Amphibio 3D printed gills. Design by Jun Kamei / Photography by Mikito Tateisi / Model Jessica Wang

Indiana University awarded $9 million for 3D bioprinted organ research

Dr. Burcin Ekser and his research team at Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) have been awarded $9 million to further their 3D bioprinting research for the development of transplantable organs.

A three year deal, the money was contributed by Lung Biotechnology PBC,  a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR), that is also working with 3D Systems.

At the time of the funding announcement, Dr. Esker commented, “This alliance with Lung Biotechnology will greatly enhance our ability to accomplish our ultimate goal of providing an unlimited supply of organs to save human lives.”

Highlighting the transplantable organ shortage, Dr. Esker added:

“It’s my passion because I’m a transplant surgeon; I don’t want anyone to die while they’re waiting for a transplantable organ.”

An alternative to animal testing?

Dr. Ekser and the team are responsible for IUSM’s xenotransplantation lab. Xenotransplantation is the practice of cross-species transplantation and, due to close biological similarities, the team is working develop ways of producing pig organs that can be donated to humans.

In one area of interest, the IUSM team is working with CRISPR gene editing to bioengineer pig organs that are even more suited to human transplant.

In a second area, the team is investigating how to use 3D bioprinting to grow organs from a sample of pig cells, eradicating the use of live animal.

Put the needle on it

3D bioprinting technology used at IUSM is the Kenzan method, marketed in the Regenova 3D bioprinter from Cyfuse Biomedical K.K. A “scaffold-free” approach, the Kenzan method is based on a needle array, tightly arrange into a square.

Graphic representation of the Kenzan method. Image via Cyfuse Biomedical K.K.
Graphic representation of the Kenzan method. Image via Cyfuse Biomedical K.K.

To 3D print, lab-grown cells are individually skewered on to each needle in the array, gradually building up a desired shape, e.g. a cylindrical vessel.

Neatly packed against each other, these cells naturally fuse together when left to culture, creating a complete tissue that can be removed from the needles.

Left to culture for a second time, these cells grow to fill the voids left by needle pricks, giving a complete living tissue sample.

Next, in IUSM’s work, the tissue sample is kept inside a specially designed, and 3D printed bioreactor called FABRICA. With FABRICA, the scientists can replicate blood flow through the 3D bioprinted tissue and monitor its reaction.

At the University of Tokyo, the same method has been used before to 3D bioprint a “mini-liver” tissue sample.

Five day mini-organs

With Kenzan 3D bioprinting, the IUSM team have proven the ability to “[3D] print the miniature pig organ models within a day, grow and mature them within five days” according to Dr. Ekser, then test them over the course of two weeks to achieve a desired outcome. A great deal of blue-sky thinking goes into the effort at the xenotransplantation lab, and Dr. Ekser confirms the vision: “So people go to the hospital in the future, and we will print the organ you need,”

“Then we basically will not have any shortage of organs.”

Through the collaboration with Lung Biotechnology PBC the lab’s aim “is to advance the field, so we can reach that goal as soon as possible.”

From left to right: Lester Smith, PhD; Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD; and Ping Li, PhD of the University of Indiana's Xenotransplantation lab. Photo by Erich Schoch/IU
From left to right: Lester Smith, PhD; Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD; and Ping Li, PhD of the University of Indiana’s Xenotransplantation lab. Photo by Erich Schoch/IU

Lung Biotechnology PBC

Lung Biotechnology PBC was founded in 1997 to conduct research and development into ways to preserve and assess lungs for transplant. As an extension of United Therapeutics, it is also involved with the clinical trials of new drugs to treat heart disease. Adcirca, Orenitram, Remodulin and Tyvaso are some of the drugs already on the market from its parent company. And Beraprost 3, meanwhile, is a new synthesis that has been in trials since 2013.

In April 2017, 3D Systems announced its plans to collaborate with Lung Biotechnology PBC on developing 3D bioprinting solutions.

At the time of the announcement, 3D Systems CEO Vyomesh Joshi, said, “We believe bioprinting is a powerful opportunity and we are uniquely positioned with the broadest portfolio of technologies to partner with companies of the caliber of United Therapeutics to provide healthcare solutions of the future.”

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Featured image shows from left to right: Lester Smith, PhD; Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD; and Ping Li, PhD of the University of Indiana’s Xenotransplantation lab. Photo by Erich Schoch/IU

FIT additive manufacturing launches Japanese subsidiary

FIT AG, a German additive manufacturing group, has recently announced the founding of its newest subsidiary, FIT Japan KK which aims to expand FIT AG’s operations and customer base within Asia’s developing additive manufacturing market.

Carl Fruth, CEO of FIT AG, comments, “We want to expand these business relationships as a technology leader for Japan as well as for the entire Asian region and fix them in the long term.”

Albert Klein, CFO of FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, (left) and FIT Japan's Yasushi Murata presenting the plans for FIT Japan KK. Photo via FIT AG
Albert Klein, CFO of FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, (left) and FIT Japan’s Yasushi Murata presenting the plans for FIT Japan KK. Photo via FIT AG

Japan’s additive manufacturing climate

With development and distribution sites across the U.S., Romania, and Russia and over 20 years of experience, FIT AG is an expert in providing services in rapid prototyping and additive design manufacturing (ADM) technologies.

The ADM service package, which will soon enter Japan’s manufacturing market, includes a complete portfolio of additive manufacturing technologies starting from the pre-production phase to post-processing procedures, as well as quality assurance methods.

Despite its sales and project management operations in Nagoya, Japan, FIT AG has identified a lack of presence within the economy for additive manufacturing technologies. According to FIT AG as Japanese manufacturers, specifically large car manufacturers, integrate AM processes into their production of end-parts and tools, the demand for the relevant technologies increase.

“When I first heard about FIT AG and its ADM concept, I immediately recognized the potential that it contained,” said Yasushi Murata, FIT AG’s Japanese manufacturing industry expert.  

FIT offers R&D of complex metal parts. Photo via FIT.
FIT R&D of complex 3D printed metal parts. Photo via FIT.

Past production partnerships

Prior to this, FIT AG has expanded its operations through collaborations with manufacturers and construction companies working within the 3D printing industry.

In early 2017, global construction company, Caterpillar Inc, headquartered in Illinois, announced a three-year partnership with FIT AG. This partnership kick-started production of a range of 3D print aluminum and titanium parts for Caterpillar’s range of large-scale machinery. 

Several months later, FIT AG revealed a strategic partnership with industrial 3D printer manufacturer EOS, which is supplying its five of its EOS 400M – 4 systems to create components for automotive, medical and aerospace sectors.

And, in Russia, FIT operates as one half of FITNIK. FIT AG’s other established subsidiaries include FIT Prototyping GmbH and FIT Production GmbH.

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Featured image shows inside of FIT AF manufacturing facilities. Photo via FIT AG.

Field Ready responds to displaced populations with 3D printing

Field Ready, a non-profit organization based in Illinois, enables rapid manufacturing for humanitarian purposes all over the world. Similar to the 3D printed rescue drone designed for humanitarian-aid, Field Ready’s various projects have combined experiences and technical skills of its aid workers to tackle the logistical challenges of disaster-stricken countries.

Following the devastating damage caused by the Nepal earthquakes in 2015, Field Ready deployed its team into the remote districts of Sindhupalchowk to create 3D printed medical supplies, for victims of in need of instant medical care.

Prior to this, Field Ready’s team, which consists of 25 aid workers, used such disruptive technologies in Haiti, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey and the U.S., to create water pipes, heavy-lift airbags, and electrical socket fixtures.    

The hidden incentives innovation

Field Ready’s latest project known as the ‘Hidden Incentives Innovation’, sought to design and create a novel soap with hidden toys inside, with the help of children from the Sharia Camp in Iraq – a large group of internally displaced people (IDP) fleeing terrorism.

Within these camps, the rate of transmitting diseases are high due to overcrowding and a lack of water and sanitation, therefore, this project has been established to promote hand-washing hygiene within children to combat further illnesses in highly contaminated environments.  

Children trialing the sample soaps. Photo via Field Ready.

The soap is made with a 3D printed toy inside which encourages the child to scrub their hands thoroughly enough to reach their reward.

Earlier this year, Field Ready held a week-long workshop in collaboration with Save the Children Iraq and 14 “child designers”  to create the 12 custom animal toys to be placed inside a transparent soap mixture.

During the workshop, boys and girls gave feedback on the colours, themes, and sizes of 3D toy designs that were then printed locally in Kurdistan, Iraq. Aid workers also showed the children an array of transparent soaps which were melted down and molded with the toy inside.

Onwards to production

Following several delays, including a regulations prohibiting the transportation of 3D printers, Field Ready used its network of Iraqi engineers to distribute design files of its custom toys for 3D printing. The designs were fabricated and ready within a week, and then began the packaging development.

Local staff from the Sharia camp and aid workers chose a round mold shape which could comfortably hold the soap dimensions and accommodate the average size of a child’s hands.

After receiving over 1000 bars of soap, the team conducted a melting process to produce 200 soaps with trimmed and sanded custom toys inside.

The soaps were then packaged and trial-tested through 40 households over a month period to measure the frequency of children’s hand-washing hygiene habits. Following this test, Field Ready will measure the effectiveness of the soap within the Sharia Camps.

Packaged soap products which were sent to 4o households.Photo via Field Ready.
Packaged soap products which were sent to 4o households.Photo via Field Ready.

The results of this study will be published in the paper entitled “Motivating Children to Practice Handwashing with Play and Curiosity: A Proof-of-Concept Study in a Humanitarian Emergency Context” by Julie Watson et al. Watson’s research team has also recently publish a related study titled “Does targeting children with hygiene promotion messages work? The effect of handwashing promotion targeted at children, on diarrhoea, soil‐transmitted helminth infections and behaviour change, in low‐ and middle‐income countries” published in the journal of Tropical Medicine & International Health.

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Featured image shows the selection of 3D printed toys which were placed inside soap bars. Photo via Field Ready.