Roboze unveils new state-of-the-art headquarters

Roboze, an Italian
manufacturer of industrial 3D printers, has unveiled new
headquarters in Bari, Southern Italy.

The headquarters are part of Roboze’s plan to quadruple
production capacity. An R&D laboratory and Demo &
Applications center will facilitate research and implementation
of Roboze’s 3D printing and advanced
materials. CEO Alessio Lorusso has called R&D
“the true lifeblood of Roboze.”

The 16,000 square feet facility is part of a multinational
industrial complex including companies such as SKF,
Bridgestone, Bosch, Magneti Marelli, Merck and General
Electric.

The new roboze Headquarters. Photo via RobozeThe new roboze
Headquarters. Photo via Roboze

Youth-driven culture

To keep pace with the expansion Roboze, currently a
company of 25 employees, will hire 40 new employees in 2018 and
a further 60 in 2019. Roboze say that the average age of its
employees is 30, with over half of employees dedicated to
research and development.

The facility has been designed with staff happiness as a
priority. Relaxation rooms and designated meeting rooms
have been purposefully created “to capture the youthful and
innovative characteristics that the Roboze team represents.”

New Roboze medical division

Roboze’s focus in recent years has been on the industrial
market. The company plans to allocate its expanding resources
to the creation of a new division dedicated to medical
technology.

Roboze will apply its materials expertise to
the growing market for

medical applications
of PEEK, a
bone-like polymer
used for 3D printing implants
. The company says it has
already laid the groundwork for six research projects for the
development of 3D printing materials with medical
applications.

Recently, Roboze has received regional approval for a
€1.3 million project for the design and fabrication of a 3D
bio-plotter, to be used in the 3D printing of medical
implants.

New offices, adapting to industry needs

Roboze is to open a new branch office in Chicago, where
applications engineers and marketing managers will work to
enhance the company’s reach in the U.S. market.

The company will start production in 2018 of the

ARGO 500
, their latest 3D printer. The
ARGO 500 is a large scale printer compatible with polymers such
as PEEK, Carbon PA, UTEM AM9085F and Carbon PEEK.

Roboze builds around 30 percent of its 3D printers’
components in house.

“Our ability to build in-house makes Roboze extremely
fast, and highly adaptable to rapidly changing industry
needs.”

Roboze said “our machines are completely designed
[in-house]. We write the software language, design the user
interface, and manufacture our extrusion heads in-house. All
this know-how under one roof, allows us to respond quickly and
stay at the top of our industry when technologies or markets
change. Investing in production technologies also increases our
experience and opens up new opportunities. Our goal isn’t to
produce the most machines, but rather to produce the best
machines in the world.”

Roboze Argo500-PreviewA preview of the Roboze
Argo500 at Formnext 2017.

Last year Roboze updated the
Roboze One
to support a larger array of materials,
including Carbon PA, Nylon 6 and ASA. Roboze are working with
Airbus subsidiary CTC GmbH to
use Roboze industrial 3D printers to meet material requirements
for aircraft
.

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Featured image shows the new Roboze Headquarters. Photo via
Roboze.

Dartmouth smart ink 3D prints, shrinks and transforms smart materials

A 3D printed, shrunken Arc de Triomphe represents the result of
the latest research undertaken by the Ke Functional Materials
Group
 at Dartmouth College.

Focused on developing innovative materials for 3D and 4D
printing applications, the Ke Group’s most recent ink makes
objects that change size and color in reaction to external
stimulus.

Though still far from producing an end-use article, the study
lays important groundwork for scientists seeking to produce
smart materials capable of self-assembly,
and performing useful tasks in
medical research
, engineering and more.

Professor Chenfeng Ke, pricipal investigator of the Ke
Group, comments, “While many 3D-printed structures are
just shapes that don’t reflect the molecular properties of the
material, these inks bring functional molecules to the 3D
printing world,”

“This technique gives life to 3D-printed objects.”

Giving life to 3D printed objects

To make a shrinking, color changing Arc de Triomphe, the Ke
Group uses a
Direct Ink Writing
method of 3D printing. Like FDM/FFF
based techniques, an object is built up through the extrusion
of successive layers, the main difference is the feedstock, and
resulting operating temperature.

In the proof of concept experiment, a benchmark model of the
Arc was FDM/FFF 3D printed in ABS and a second Arc, matching
the scale of the ABS benchmark, was 3D printed in the lab’s
specially developed G1 hydrogel ink.

As visible from the picture below, Direct Ink Writing produces
a rough, yet discernible, structure of the Arc,
at 300-micron resolution.

Each stage of the Ke Group's shrinking 3D printed sample with ABS Arc de Triomphe for comparison. Image by Chenfeng KeEach stage of the
Ke Group’s shrinking 3D printed sample with ABS Arc de Triomphe
for comparison. Image by Chenfeng Ke

After air drying, and calcination (At a temperature of 700°C)
the G1 Arc shrinks to 1 percent of its original size, with
10 times the resolution.

While rudimentary, the technique represents a step-changing
possibility that could bring down the cost of industrial 3D
printers. “This process can use a $1,000 printer to print what
used to require a $100,000 printer,” explains Ke, adding that
the “technique is scalable, widely adaptable and can
dramatically reduce costs.”

The future of smart materials

In addition to shrinkage, models made using the G1 hydrogel ink
can can be tuned to change color by adding fluorescent markers
to the ink. The chameleon-like change is activated by shining a
light on the surface.

“This is something we’ve never seen before,” adds Ke, “Not only
can we 3D print objects, we can tell the molecules in those
objects to rearrange themselves at a level that is viewable by
the naked eye after printing,”

And, importantly,

“This development could unleash the great potential for the
development of smart materials.”

Color change of a sample 3D printed lattice when fluorescent markers are added. Image via Chenfeng KeColor change of a
sample 3D printed lattice when fluorescent markers are added.
Image via Chenfeng Ke

Further reading

Previous research from the Ke Group at Dartmouth College
includes the fabrication of an
expanding hydrogel capable of lifting objects
heavier than
its own weight.

Hierarchical
Co-Assembly Enhanced Direct Ink Writing
” is published
online in Angewandte Chemie journal where it has been
tipped as a VIP (Very Important Paper). The paper, as discussed
in this article, is co-authored by Dr. Longyu Li, Dr. Pengfei
Zhang, Dr. Zhiyun Zhang, Qianming Lin, Dr. Yuyang Wu, Alexander
Cheng, Yunxiao Lin, Dr. Christina M. Thompson, Prof. Dr. Ronald
A. Smaldone and Prof. Dr. Chenfeng Ke.

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 for research/academic of
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Featured image shows A model of the Arc de Triomphe 3D
printed in Dartmouth’s special hydrogel (right), and the same
model after air drying (right). Image by Chenfeng Ke

UK’s first additive manufacturing apprenticeship launching this September

This September, the Manufacturing Technology Centre
(MTC), based in the UK, will launch what are described as the
UK’s first additive manufacturing apprenticeships, with the
goal of addressing skills shortages within the industry.

The MTC is an independent research and technology
organisation, aiming to bridge the gap between academia and
industry. It was founded in 2010 by four institutions, The University of
Birmingham
, Loughborough
University
, The
University of Nottingham
, and TWI.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre. Photo via MTC.The Manufacturing
Technology Centre in Coventry. Photo via MTC.

Apprenticeships address industry need

The MTC houses the UK’s
National Centre for Additive Manufacturing
(NCAM). NCAM
develops industry ready additive manufacturing processes. It
also addresses barriers to the adoption of additive
technologies, and legislative and standardisation issues facing
the industry.

NCAM’s facilities and comprehensive range of AM
equipment, including 3D printers from EOS, Renishaw, Stratasys and HP,
should provide a valuable resource for the MTC’s
apprentices.

Martin Dury, the MTC’s Learning Design Manager, said
“While there are a number of additive training courses
currently available in the UK, these tend to be focused on
equipment use. The MTC is aiming to provide additive
manufacturing apprenticeships that will cover the whole range
of competences necessary for specific occupations. They will
also offer accredited curricula of short courses to enable the
up-skilling of existing staff.”

The MTC currently runs additive manufacturing courses, though
they are tailored to decision makers looking for insights into
the processes and design benefits of additive manufacturing.
The new apprenticeships offered by the MTC will seek to produce
a “pipeline of technicians fully skilled” to enter the
industry. Apprenticeships will be targeted at 16-19 year
old school leavers, and those in the industry wanting to boost
their skills.

Dury says “We have all the equipment and capabilities to
deliver first class, sector-wide and technology agnostic
programmes for apprentices or existing employees.”

“The manufacturing industry is crying out for this and we
will be able to make it available in a format which allows
people to learn while earning”

Inside the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry's MTC. Photo via The MTCInside the National
Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Coventry’s MTC. Photo via
The MTC

The MTC is currently inviting those who would like to
contribute to the framework to contact them at

[email protected]
.

The Centre for
Additive Manufacturing
at the University of Nottingham,
UK, launched a
program of one/two day 3D printing courses
 last year,
previously only available to businesses on a consultancy basis.
AM UK, an independent,
government-backed collaboration has published the UK’s Additive
Manufacturing National Strategy. The 44 page document outlines
the measures needed to ensure the UK remains competitive in
high value manufacturing.

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Featured image shows powder sample handling at the MTC’s
National Centre for Additive Manufacturing. Photo via the
MTC.

INTERVIEW: Terry Wohlers on the 2018 Wohlers Report, explosive growth in 3D printing

The Wohlers Report 2018 was published last week. As in
previous years, I caught up with Principal Author Terry Wohlers
to learn more.

The Wohlers Report is always eagerly awaited and regarded by
many as the definitive guide to our industry. The vast amount
of data provided has launched a thousand power-point
presentations, and makes Terry Wohlers one of the most
in-demand, and well respected analysts in the 3D printing
industry.

Terry Wohlers speaking at Formnext 2016. Photo by Michael Petch.Terry Wohlers speaking
at Formnext 2016. Photo by Michael Petch.

The 2018 report shows that overall the 3D printing
industry grew by 21% in the 2017/18 reporting period. This
figure is an increase on the 17.4% in worldwide revenues from
2016, and is edging closer to the 25.9% growth reported in
2015.

For 23 years Wohlers
Associates
has published this important report
covering the additive manufacturing landscape and the state of
the industrial 3D printing industry.

2018’s report contains a number of remarkable figures.
These include the fact a phenomenal number of metal 3D printers
were sold in 2017. According to the 2018 Wohlers Report, a
total of 1,768 metal additive manufacturing systems were
purchased in 2017. This is an increase of approximately 80% on
2016, when 983 industrial metal 3D printing systems were
sold.

The Wohlers Report 2018.The Wohlers Report 2018.

3D printing industry grew by $1.25 billion in 2017

The Wohlers Report also provides useful data on the
number of companies selling industrial additive manufacturing
systems, a total of 135 in 2017 compared to 97 in 2016.

The term ‘industrial AM system’ is defined in the report
as, “machines that sell for more than $5,000.”

To learn more about what drove a $1.25 billion expansion
in the 3D printing industry, and to get behind the headline
figures, I asked Terry Wohlers, Principal Consultant and
President of Wohlers Associates Inc. a few questions.

Wohlers Report 2018 metal AM systems. Chart via Wohlers Report 2018.Wohlers Report 2018 metal
AM systems. Chart via Wohlers Report 2018.

3D Printing Industry: The 80% increase in metal AM
systems on 2016 figures is a remarkable number. Can you tell us
anymore about what is driving this number? Is this a one-off or
will 2018 see a similar increase?

Terry Wohlers: Desktop Metal
sales, reported for the first time, contributed 20.2% of
the total. Some users of metal AM systems (i.e., metal powder
bed fusion) are beginning to hit a stride that requires more
capacity, so

they are buying multiple machines
. This
is much different than in the past when one or two machines
were sufficient for testing and qualification of the materials
and processes.

It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but
every indication suggests that 2018 will be another strong
year.

16-year material sales growth trend in additive manufacturing. Chart via Wohlers Report 2017.16-year material sales
growth trend in additive manufacturing. Chart via Wohlers Report
2017.

3D Printing Industry: Likewise, the increase in
companies producing industrial AM systems is impressive. Are
there any specific factors behind this?

Terry Wohlers:
Many patents have expired
, so this has
been a factor. Some countries in Asia, such as China and India,
were slow to adopt AM in a serious way, but they are now
investing in it.

Many new system manufacturers are especially emerging
in China.

3D Printing Industry: You’ve mentioned in the
past, including at

Formnext 2017
, the need to lower
material costs. Do you see this as the key barrier to
widespread adoption of AM, or are there other specific barriers
the industry needs to address?

Terry Wohlers: Material pricing continues to be a
major obstacle to growth for production applications. The
problem will take care of itself over time, largely through
competition. Design for additive manufacturing and costs
associated with post-processing are also barriers to
growth.

Terry Wohlers at formnext 2017. Photo by Michael Petch.Terry Wohlers at
formnext 2017. Photo by Michael Petch.

3D Printing Industry:
Design for Additive Manufacturing

[DfAM]is a frequent theme in your presentations, and has
a dedicated section in the report. What are your thoughts about
how AM users are engaging with this topic and importantly
putting it into practice?

Terry Wohlers: It has been slow, mainly because
companies must make a commitment to using AM for production,
and doing the analysis is not trivial. This is especially true
when considering the cost implications of so many design
scenarios.

Redesigned heat exchanger 3D printed in an aluminum alloy on an EOS M280. Image via BetatypeRedesigned heat exchanger
3D printed in an aluminum alloy on an EOS M280. Image via
Betatype

3D Printing Industry: What surprised you most
during the March/March period the new report covers?

Terry Wohlers: We were surprised by the rapid
growth in metal AM systems sales. Also, we were surprised by
the continued growth in the number of new manufacturers of
industrial AM systems.

It’s not an exaggeration to say we’re seeing explosive
growth with both.

The Wohlers Report 2018 has seventy-six co-authors and
contributors from 32 countries, 344 pages with 36 charts and
graphs, 110 tables, and 192 photographs and illustrations
spanning 160 additional pages of supplemental data. You
can
order a
copy of the 2018 Wohlers Report online
.

You can read further
3D printing insights from the 2017 Wohlers
Report
in our previous years interview.

Voting is currently underway in the

2018 3D Printing Industry
Awards
, let us know who is leading the
additive manufacturing sector now.

For all the latest 3D printing news and insights –
subscribe to the
3D Printing
Industry newsletter
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and like us on
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Russian Academy of Sciences leads unprecedented high-resolution 3D printing research


Two-photon lithography
is a method of 3D printing that can
produce objects on a molecular scale. Valuable to the fields of
medical research, i.e.
devices for drug delivery
, tissue regeneration, chemical
& material synthesis, the technology warrants
deeper development
to help expand the possibilities of the
technology and lower the cost.

In a study led by a team at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
in Moscow, researchers have explored an “unprecedentedly
effective” method of high resolution 3D printing that
eradicates some of the shortcomings associated with existing
technology.

Laser control

The RAS high-resolution 3D printing method is based on vat
polymerization technology, where a light source is to solidify
a resin.

In two-photon lithrography, femtosecond lasers are used to
precisely cure the resin. Not only is the spot-to-spot process
time consuming, but the lasers work at high intensities, which
can damage materials, and the instruments are expensive.

Lasers in two-photonlithrography operate at the near-infrared
(NIR) phase of light. The RAS technique also uses NIR light but
at a lower intensity.  To make the most of the light’
potential energy and eradicate some of the shortcomings of the
femtosecond lasers as listed above the scientists add something
new to the mix.

The RAS high-resolution photopolymerization set up and samples 3D printed using the technique. Image via Scientific ReportsThe RAS
high-resolution photopolymerization set up and samples 3D printed
using the technique. Image via Scientific Reports

Making macro and micrometer scale objects with
less 

Upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) are made of two or more
photons that join together and emit more energy when exposed to
a light source. In the RAS study, UCNPs are added to the
photo curable resin mix.

Under a ray of NIR light, the UCNPs form to emit a UV light.
This light, in turn, polymerizes surrounding material to make a
voxel.

The success of the process is that it high-resolution objects
are made using a relatively low-intensity NIR light source.
Photoplymerization also occurs deeper within the resin vat,
giving the technique the potential to 3D print within
biological tissues.

Rice and star-like clusters of cured material that develop around activated UNCPs. Image via Scientific ReportsRice and star-like
clusters of cured material that develop around activated UNCPs.
Image via Scientific Reports

In-situ 3D bioprinting

The overall conclusion of the study is an “unprecedentedly
high conversion efficiency in the UV range,” successfully
demonstrating NIR-induced polymerization for macro and
micrometer scale objects.


According to Kirill Khaydukov
, co-author of the RAS study,
“This idea can be used for biomedical purposes, including
tissue engineering, and replacing damaged parts of organs
and tissue with the help of various polymer
materials,”

In addition;

“We expect that our technology will allow us to create
designs with the right sizes and properties
inside living tissue to repair damage.”

Full results and discussion of the study “High-resolution
3D photopolymerization assisted by upconversion nanoparticles
for rapid prototyping applications
” are available online in
nature’s Scientific Reports. The paper is co-authored
by Vasilina V. Rocheva, Anastasia V.
Koroleva, Alexander G. Savelyev, Kirill V.
Khaydukov, Alla N. Generalova, Andrey V.
Nechaev, Anna E. Guller, Vladimir A. Semchishen,
Boris N. Chichkov and Evgeny V. Khaydukov.

For more leading research news subscribe to
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 for research/academic of
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Featured image shows a cluster of voxels produced by the
RAS high-resolution photopolymerzation technique. Image via
Scientific Reports

INTERVIEW: Maritime 3D printing with RAMLAB and Semcorp Marine

3D printing for the maritime and energy industries is the
focus of
NAMIC’s 5th additive
manufacturing summit later this month.

Taking place in Singapore, the Maritime
and Energy AM Summit
is organized by the
country’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster
(NAMIC), an organization focused on developing a collaborative
and innovative ecosystem for additive manufacturing.

NAMIC 5th AM SummitThe 5th NAMIC AM Summit

At the event 3D printing experts will gather to discuss
operationalising AM, how 3D printing is revolutionising the
energy industry, the future of advanced manufacturing and other
related topics.

I caught up with two of the experts presenting work at
the NAMIC AM summit to learn more.

3D printing for the maritime sector

Simon Kuik is head of R&D at Sembcorp
Marine
. Based in Singapore, Sembcorp Marine is
a
leading global marine and offshore engineering
group, providing services including

ship repair, shipbuilding, ship conversion, rig building
and offshore engineering &
construction
.

Simon Kuik from Sembcorp Marine. Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios.Simon Kuik from Sembcorp
Marine. Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios.

Vincent Wegener is Managing Director at RAMLAB. Readers
will be familiar with RAMLAB projects including a ship
propeller, aka the

WAAMpeller
, made using Wire Arc Additive
Manufacturing (WAAM). Based in
Rotterdam,
Netherlands RAMLAB is a research institute focused on

accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing
technology.

RamLab's 3D printed WAAMpeller unveiled at Damen Shipyards. Photo via DamenRamLab’s 3D printed
WAAMpeller unveiled at Damen Shipyards. Photo via Damen

3D Printing Industry: How is you enterprise currently using
3D printing for the marine industry?

Simon Kuik, Sembcorp Marine: Since 2000, Sembcorp
Marine has digitised our design process by incorporating
3D-design. Besides visualisation, the data are translated for
cost-effective and productive numeric-control component
manufacturing, assembly and integration. We also adopted
digital rapid prototyping for component design and model
making. Future additive manufacturing applications will focus
on locally-built metallic components and machine parts.

Sembcorp Marine is also working with industry partners
such as DNV GL to develop a quick and simple certification
method for the 3D-printing process and to evaluate the
technical feasibility of printing parts for repairs and
newbuilds. We foresee that the local offshore and marine
3D-printing ecosystem will take 3-5 years to mature.

Vincent Wegener, RAMLAB: RAMLAB provides its
partners easy access to an open innovation ecosystem in which
the necessary resources and research on additive manufacturing
are shared to the benefit of all. Close collaboration on joint
projects accelerates the development and dissemination of
relevant knowledge at a rate unattainable by a company
operating on its own.

Cargo ships in the sea off the coast in Singapore. Photo by Michael Petch.Cargo ships in the sea
off the coast in Singapore. Photo by Michael Petch.

3D Printing Industry: What applications of 3D printing for
maritime do you see becoming possible in the next 5 years?

Simon Kuik, Sembcorp Marine: Short-term
applications will mainly revolve around one-off printing or
printing low quantities of small and expensive machine parts
that have a long lead-time and are non-load-bearing. These can
be new parts, or existing ones to be repaired.

Sembcorp Marine’s immediate focus is also to develop the
3D-printing value chain and supply chain; certification by
classification societies; and customer acceptance. In the long
term, the cost of 3D-printing should be made affordable once
the technology matures and when the supply side is well
established. More parts can then be economically
printed.

Vincent Wegener, RAMLAB: In 2017 RAMLAB unveiled
the world’s first class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller,
the WAAMpeller. The ground-breaking success was the result of a
close collaboration between RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk, Bureau
Veritas and Damen Shipyards.

We will see more WAAM applications that are larger,
topology optimised and have unique material properties the
coming years.

Close-up of the WAAM process. Photo via RAMLAB.Close-up of the WAAM
process. Photo via RAMLAB.

3D Printing Industry: What are some of the challenges of
using 3D printing in the Maritime sector, how do you see these
being overcome?

Simon Kuik, Sembcorp Marine: Other than challenges
mentioned earlier (e.g. supply chain development, high costs of
3D-printing machines and metal powders) which can be made more
feasible with the maturing of the 3D-printing market, there are
also IP issues to be considered when 3D-printing OEM parts.
This is a more challenging issue in regard to getting
acceptance from customers and users for load-bearing and
critical function parts.

However, other industries that are early-adopters of
3D-printing have addressed IP issues successfully and we expect
similar standards to be advised for the O&M industry. By
applying 3D-printing to critical function parts, Sembcorp
Marine helps add value to the 3D-printing process and creates
confidence in this application.

Vincent Wegener, RAMLAB: Certification is one of
the most challenging parts of 3D printing in the maritime
sector. With the WAAMpeller project we have shown that it is
possible to certify a WAAM part if you can monitor and control
the material properties at all times.

The WAAMpeller on display. Photo via Damen Shipyards GroupThe WAAMpeller on
display. Photo via Damen Shipyards Group

3D Printing Industry: How would you characterise the
importance of 3D printing for Sembcorp Marine and RAMLAB?

Vincent Wegener, RAMLAB: RAMLAB’s mission is to
accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing technology to
realise the vision to manufacture large certified metal parts
on demand. So, yes quite important.

Simon Kuik, Sembcorp Marine: 3D-printing is
important for improving Sembcorp Marine’s business:
productivity, flexibility in customising designs, as well as
on-demand, on-site manufacturing. With 3-D printing, lighter,
stronger and safer products can be manufactured in a more
responsive manner, while reducing leading-time and material
wastage.

Keeping abreast of up-to-date skill-sets and knowledge is
required. Relevant jobs will be restructured to higher-value
work such as 3D-design, 3D-printer operation and 3D-printing
quality control methods.

In developing our advanced and state-of-the-art
infrastructure for the new-generation, smart and sustainable
Tuas Boulevard Yard, Sembcorp Marine will invest in relevant
3D-printing facilities following the successful development and
test-bedding of this technology.

Singapore is one of the pioneers in 3D-printing
technology development and adoption. Sembcorp Marine aspires to
contribute to the building of the local ecosystem and
expediting the 3D-printing technology development through
programmes such as the Sembcorp Marine-DNV GL-NAMIC joint
industry collaboration.

The 4th NAMIC AM Summit Series. Photo by Michael Petch.The 4th NAMIC AM Summit
Series. Photo by Michael Petch.

You can read about an earlier edition of the NAMIC
summit, when 3D Printing Industry visited Singapore to learn
more about

emerging applications for additive
manufacturing
.

More information about the NAMIC
Maritime and Energy AM Summit
is available
online.

For further insights into applications of additive
manufacturing, subscribe to the
3D Printing
Industry newsletter
, follow us
on
Twitter
and like us on Facebook.

You can also vote for enterprises leading additive
manufacturing industry in the

2018 3D Printing Industry
Awards
.

Our 3D Printing
Jobs
service is now live. Post a job,
or start a career in 3D printing.

U.S. Air Force advancing hypersonic flight vehicles with 3D printed ceramics

The U.S. Air Force is advancing the development of
hypersonic flight vehicles with 3D printed ceramics.

The research into applications for the 3D printed
ceramic, silicon oxycarbide (SiOC), is conducted under a
Collaborative Research and Development – Material Transfer
Agreement (CRADA-MTA), between the US 
Air Force Research
Laboratory
 (AFRL) Aerospace Systems
Directorate and
HRL
Laboratories
, a research center owned
by
General Motors
Corporation
and Boeing.

The project continues the development of research into 3D printed
ceramics
at HRL, first reported by 3D Printing Industry in
2016.

Geometric complexity achieved with 3D printing

Scientists at the Aerospace Systems Directorate (ASD)
searching for new thermocouple radiation shields became
interested in the HRL produced SiOC because of its potential
for hypersonic flight. Specifically, the refractory qualities
of SiOC, the ability to maintain strength and form at high
temperatures, and the geometric complexity offered by 3D
printing have a wide range of Air Force applications.

The SiOC was 3D printed in a pre-ceramic resin. After
fabrication, the resin was heat treated to produce a fully
ceramic component. Jamie Szmodis, an ASD hypersonic research
engineer,
said
“If a material can withstand temperatures [of]–
roughly 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit – it could be used for
hypersonic aircraft engine components like struts or flame
holders.”

Viable hypersonic aircraft, flying at speeds over 4,000
miles per hour, would enable faster military response times,
faster long-range missiles, and potentially decrease travel
times for military and commercial airliners. 

Collaborators, not customers

CRADA-MTA agreements are made between federal and private
parties for research and the exchange of proprietary material.
The agreement protects the private company, HRL, allowing them
to file patents and retain patent rights for inventions
developed as part of the CRADA-MTA, whilst keeping research
confidential for up to five years.

According to Szmodis, the agreement was crucial “Without
the material transfer agreement, we would have purchased the
samples to test them. We would have been a customer, as opposed
to a collaborator. With the agreement we are able to provide
test results to HRL and provide feedback that is valuable to
both parties.”

ASD has already tested five thermocouple radiation
shields and 15 sample cylinders fabricated from SiOC, provided
by HRL.

Testing a sample of
SiOC at the Arnold Air Force base. Photo via the Air Force Office
of Scientific Research.

Testing 3D printed hypersonic viability

Scientists from across the Air Force Research
Laboratory’s (AFRL) directorates were assembled to test the HRL
produced components. Led by Dr Matthew Dickerson, a Materials
Research Engineer, scientists from the AFRL’s Materials and
Manufacturing Directorate, Structural Materials Division and
Composite Branch conducted materials analysis and heat
tests.

The ASD, with the Aerospace Vehicle Division and
Structural Validation Branch scientists carried out mechanical
analysis tests at temperatures between 500-3,500 degrees
Fahrenheit.

Results were published in a report given to HRL in March.
Dr Tobias Schaedler, a senior researcher at HRL, said:

“The extreme temperature testing that AFRL performed
revealed the limits of our new material and challenged us to
improve it.”

Last year, Boeing and Aerojet Rocktdyne
were selected by The Defense Advance Research Projects
Agency (DARPA) to complete

design work for the XS-1 hypersonic
spaceplane
. The project is aiming to enable
more cost-effective satellite launches.

A research team at Imperial College
London
established the
highest ever melting point for refractory
ceramic
at 4,000 degrees Celsius.

If you want to know more about
how additive manufacturing is advancing rocket science
, Dr
Tobias Schaedler from HRL Labs gives further insights in our
article.

An artist’s concept of
the XS-1 spaceplane. Image via DARPA.

Follow the latest developments in 3D printing as they
happen. Subscribe to the 
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2018
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 service is now live. Post a job or advance
your career in 3D printing now.

Featured image shows the testing of a sample of SiOC at
Arnold Air Force base. Photo via Air Force Office of Scientific
Research.

Win a Lulzbot 3D printer with McGill University and MyMiniFactory

3D printable object sharing platform MyMiniFactory and student
society
MAMSS from
Canada’s
McGill
University
have announced a new 3D design
challenge for university and college students. The first
collaboration between MyMiniFactory and MAMSS the competition
is sponsored by 3D printer manufacturer Aelph Objects.

How to enter

Participants must design an object that represents their
university or college department or faculty.

Examples given by MyMiniFactory include, “a globe for
Geography, a periodic table for Chemistry, or a robot for
Engineering.”

Anything is allowed, as long as it clearly reminds
viewers of the department of study.

Participants will need to specify where and what they
study in the object description, in order for the entry to be
validated.

MyMiniFactory has prepared a collection of 3D
prints
for inspiration.

Win a Lulzbot Mini 3D
printer

The prize for this 3D design challenge is a
Lulzbot Mini 3D
printer
. Made by Aelph Objects,
Lulzbot 3D Printers are used by thousands of people in 85
different countries. Aleph Objects is also running an

Education Pricing
Program
, whereby educators can access 3D
printer discounts.

MyMiniFactory is the world’s leading 3D printable
object-sharing platform, where creators from around the world
post 3D printable designs daily and 3D printer owners can
browse, and download over 40,000 3D prints for free.

Students and faculty are encouraged to share their
designs on social media with hashtags
#RepYourDept @MyMiniFactory
@Lulzbot3D
before the competition closes on Monday, April 23rd
2018.

For all latest 3D printing new, subscribe to
the 
3D Printing
Industry newsletter
, follow us on Twitter and
like us on 
Facebook.

Vote for the 3D printing Innovation of the year and more in
the 
2018
3D Printing Industry Awards
.

Our 3D Printing
Jobs
 service is now live. Post a job or advance
your career in 3D printing now.

US Navy metal 3D printing for battleships

The U.S. Office of Naval
Research
(ONR) is bringing the Navy closer to 3D printing
metal parts for vital air, ground and sea platforms.

The ONR has awarded Concurrent
Technologies Corporation
(CTC) a two year $2.6 million
contract, with a $3.8 million option, to ensure the
manufacturability of metal 3D printed parts.

The contract is part of the Quality Metal Additive
Manufacturing (Quality MADE) program, an ONR initiative to
enable cost-effective, on-demand production of 3D printed metal
parts, for use in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

The global market for naval MRO has been predicted by
Credence Research
to grow at a rate of 8.8 percent annually
between 2017-2025.

US Naval vessels at sea. Photo via the US Naval Research Laboratory on FacebookUS Naval vessels at sea.
Photo via the US Naval Research Laboratory on Facebook

Naval MRO needs met by 3D printing

CTC will fabricate components using laser powder-bed
fusion metal 3D printing in collaboration with project team
members: 
SLM Solutions
N.A.
, MSC
Software
, MRL Materials Resources
LLC
, the University of
Pittsburgh
, and America
Makes
.

Last year, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William
Moran said the Navy is facing a “downward readiness spiral” as
a result of years of high demand of naval forces and funding
cuts. CTC and its project team members will be looking to
address this by rapidly developing metal 3D printed components
for MRO.

According to the ONR, “Aging Naval platforms are being
challenged by dwindling traditional sources of supply. In
response to this need, the Naval Warfare Centers, maintenance
depots, and FRCs plan to use additive manufacturing to produce
small quantities of out-of-production or long lead-time
metallic components.”

CTC CEO, Edward J. Sheehan Jr., concurred saying “personnel and
aging equipment are stretched thin amid years of war, statutory
budget caps and temporary workarounds, end-strength cuts, and
Congress passing continuing resolutions.

In response to this need, Concurrent Technologies Corporation
and its integrated project team members are providing new
technology that can address the short and long-term challenge
of replacing aging or broken parts literally on site.”

An SLM Solutions 280 metal 3D printer, one of the metal 3D printers used by CTC. Photo via SLM Solutions.An SLM Solutions 280
metal 3D printer, one of the metal 3D printers used by CTC. Photo
via SLM Solutions.

The Navy’s commitment to 3D printing

The contract furthers the U.S. Navy’s commitment to 3D
printing. The Navy recently partnered with additive
manufacturing data collection and software development
company
Senvol. The
partnership will develop a

machine learning program for the expedited creation of 3D
printed parts
.  

Stratasys and SIA
Engineering Company
are opening a
service center in Singapore
to “advance the use of additive
manufacturing” to solve the “unique challenges of the MRO
segment.”

Other naval operators are also benefiting from 3D
printing. Spanish ship builder
Navantia
is
trialing 3D printed parts aboard its Monte Udala Suezmax
oil tanker
. It has replaced 25 kilos of steel
with 3.5 kilos of 3D printed ABS reinforced with carbon
fiber.

The use of additive manufacturing in the maritime sector will
be addressed at a specialist conference later this month when
NAMIC host a Maritime
and Energy Summit
.

Right: Navantia and UCA's purpose-built 3D printer. Left: first product of the 3DCabin, modular toilet, project. Photos via NavantiaRight: Navantia and
UCA’s purpose-built 3D printer. Left: first product of the
3DCabin, modular toilet, project. Photos via Navantia

For the latest maritime applications of 3D printing,
subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry
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Printing Jobs
 board.

Vote now for the 3D printing companies of the year in
the 2018
3D Printing Industry Awards.

Featured image shows U.S. Naval vessels at sea. Photo
via the US Naval Research Laboratory on Facebook.

Xact Metal releases sub-$100k and high precision metal 3D printers

Metal 3D printer manufacturing startup Xact Metal has released two new
powder-bed fusion based (PBF) systems: the XM200S and the
XM200C.

“The XM200S,” according to company CEO Juan Mario Gomez, “is
ideal for printing of small parts where high performance
applications and print speed are critical.” The XM200C, on the
other hand, “makes metal powder-bed fusion available for
universities, labs and smallto-medium businesses who need
prototyping, casting, tooling and printing of small parts, and
who could not afford these systems in the past.”

Both systems are updates of the original XM200 system,
previewed by 3D Printing Industry
at RAPID + TCT 2017, and
aim to serve aerospace, defense, automotive and healthcare
industries.

The original XM200. Photo via Xact MetalThe original XM200.
Photo via Xact Metal

Low-cost PBF

Xact Metal PBF technology is built on a patent-pending

Xact Core™
system. A simplified laser-direction system,
Xact Core™ delivers cost savings to the customer in the overall
price of the system.

“Making metal powder-bed fusion less expensive requires
innovation,” explains Xact Metal CTO Matt Woods. The Xact Core™
system delivers these savings as “a high-speed gantry system
platform that uses light, simple mirrors to move quickly and
consistently above the powder bed on an X-Y axis,”

“In addition,” explains Woods, “the Xact Core technology avoids
the use of complex rotating galvanometer mirrors and F-theta
lenses, maintains a constant laser angle across the whole build
plate, and provides a simplified gas flow over the powder bed.”

Both new systems from Xact Metal have this technology at the
core.

PBF for SMEs

The smaller (and cheaper) of the two systems, the XM200C has a
build volume of 2048 cc³ (127 x 127 x 125 mm), and
occupies 610 x 610 x 1,295 mm³ (W x D x H) of space.

The small footprint and competitive price tag ($80,000 for
metal 3D printing) makes the XM200C Xact Metal’s solution for
researchers and SMEs.

Current powder options for the system include marine grade 316L
stainless steel, super alloys like Inconel 718, cobalt chrome
and bronze. It also designed in a open architecture, enabling
researchers to develop and implement their own materials and 3D
printing parameters.

A look inside Xact Metal 3D printers. Photo via Xact MetalA look inside Xact
Metal 3D printers. Photo via Xact Metal

High-caliber metal 3D printing

The XM200S is Xact’s first high-caliber 3D metal printer, with
additional features for the assured quality its products.

According to Woods, “Precision digital optical systems” in the
XM200S “provide active thermal drift compensation” eliminating
downtime caused by machine warm-up and minimizing “longterm
drift during printing operations.”

A patent-pending, bulb-shaped recoater improves the way powder
is spread and compacted in the build chamber. And, “24-bit
command resolution gives industry leading
positional accuracy.”

The XM200S’ build volume matches that in the
XM200C (127x127x125 mm), and it is priced
at $130,000.

Coming soon

Xact Metal is now accepting orders for the XM200C and the
XM200S systems. Shipments of the 200C will start June 2018, and
the 200S will begin September 2018.

The company will also be displaying the new systems
at RAPID + TCT 2018, April 23 – 26.

3D Printing Industry will be reporting live from the show
as it happens. To keep updated, subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry
newsletter
, follow us on Twitter and like
us on Facebook.

Vote for enterprise and desktop 3D printers of the year in
the 
2018
3D Printing Industry Awards
.

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Jobs
 service is now live. Post a job or advance
your career in 3D printing now.

Featured image shows the Xact Metal XM200 system. Photo via
Xact Metal