Page 1

Jewelry Focus An array of additive applications for jewelers

MAG NORTH AMERICAN EDITION VOLUME 5 ISSUE 1

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the New School Where are those faces from a famous TCT front cover now?

LIVING PRODUCTS DYEMANSION'S COLOR-MATCHING TECHNOLOGY BRINGS 3D PRINTS TO LIFE

DESIGN-TO-MANUFACTURINg INNOVATION


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VOLUME 5 ISSUE 1

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EDITORIAL

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Start small and grow

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Samuel Davies e: samuel.davies@rapidnews.com t: 011 + 44 1244 952 390 NEWSDESK 

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Todd Grimm e: tgrimm@tagrimm.com

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FROM THE EDITOR

NEW YEAR NEW ME?

“New year, new me” – how many times have you seen this wellintended statement posted and hashtagged across social media timelines since the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve? My guess is, more often than you’ve used that new gym pass.

Forgoing the usual diets and step counting however, I made a similar resolution, a mental promise that I would start 2019 with a more positive and optimistic attitude, including towards the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. Basically, to look for the good, be inspired and not get bogged down by press releases and company bios that use flowery words like “intersection” instead of just saying what they actually do. You know the ones. In the countless predictions at the start of the year, Materialise CEO, Fried Vancraen summed up the AM industry’s progress perfectly as a “slow revolution”. Factories are getting “smarter”, hardware launches don’t arrive as thick and fast as they used to, and real-life applications have superseded the number of clickbait world firsts. This is undoubtedly a very good thing. If the AM industry is doing a “new year, new me”, it’s dismissing fad diets in favor of a healthy balanced lifestyle and promising to present a more honest picture of itself on Instagram. So far, so good. Along with some new design features and a fresh look Additive Insight podcast, we have just returned from our first official event in Japan, a country that, with the world’s third largest installation base of industrial AM machines but a reputation for lagging behind on innovation, is somewhat of an enigma. Yet an incredible 43,000 visitors across simultaneous technology shows says things are moving in a positive direction and the general consensus from vendors is that Japan is a growing market. In this issue we reflect on a feature TCT printed back in 2013 on the six leaders of the 3D printing new school. A couple of those names are still very active in the industry, some under different guises, and others … well, the less said the better. It has been eyeopening to learn how these influential people have navigated the industry’s highs and lows and to get their perspective on its current state for our seven-page special starting on page 21. So, if you’re looking for your own AM inspiration this year, the following pages are a good place to start. I recommend you turn to page 11 for a report on how one UK-based organization is using 3D printing to provide valuable digital skills and change lives. Failing that, for a few practical pointers to put you on the right path for your AM journey, check out Todd Grimm’s latest column on fulfilling your own AM bucket list for success. With that (better late than never) we wish you a very happy and prosperous 2019. LAURA GRIFFITHS, DEPUTY GROUP EDITOR

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 03


MAY 20 - 23, 2019

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TCT VOLUME 5 ISSUE 1

COVER STORY

6

6. LIVING PRODUCTS

How DyeMansion’s colormatching technology is enabling true, end-use 3D printed parts.

Jewelry 9. AN ADDITIVE EMBRACE A look at how Boltenstern is delivering thousands of customized jewelry pieces using precious metal AM.

11. FREE-D

Deputy Group Editor, Laura Griffiths speaks to the team bringing digital jewelry-making skills to disadvantaged women in India.

15. IN OTHER NEWS

News in brief from this issue’s big focuses: jewelry and design software.

11

9

6

17 DESIGN SOFTWARE 17. CUSTOMIZING CAD USING PROGRAM SYNTHESIS

AMUG 2019

Tao Du, a PHD student at MIT, discusses a technique that breaks down complex 3D CAD models for custom 3D printing.

19. HOW FORD AUTOMATED THE DESIGN OF MANUFACTURING AIDS Laura finds out how Ford is leveraging trinckle software to streamline the production of 3D printed jigs and fixtures.

The New School

21

21. WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The TCT editorial team reflects on the six “leaders of the new school” who graced the cover of this very magazine back in 2013 and asks, what happened next?

32. PREVIEW

Carl Dekker, AMUG Vice President and President of US service bureau, Met-L-Flo, shares his thoughts on this year’s event.

35

RAPID + TCT

35. THE KEYNOTES

Head of Content, Daniel O’Connor speaks to Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company ahead of his keynote session at RAPID + TCT 2019.

39. OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS

Dan gets a first look at Farsoon’s new high-speed Flight Technology.

40. BUCKET LIST

Todd Grimm suggests an expansive, practical bucket list for AM success.

32

21

32


LIVING PRODUCTS DYEMANSION'S COLOR-MATCHING TECHNOLOGY BRINGS 3D PRINTS TO LIFE

E

very year since 2000, a group of experts from across the globe converge on a European capital for a secret meeting; they debate for two days and make a ruling that affects countless decisions the following year. It's not the G20 summit but a meeting of color standards groups. This faction decides on Pantone's Color of the Year. Colors such as Aqua Sky in 2003 or Tangerine Tango in 2012 shaped their respective year's products, fashion, and marketing campaigns worldwide Now unless that color happens to be Powdery Nylon or Purged Brown, 3D printing's chances of matching the Color of the Year have previously been pretty slim. That was until the German post-processing technology experts, DyeMansion became determined to make color matching a true reality. The cover star of this issue is a selective laser sintered lampshade that has been finished using DyeMansion's unique Print-to-Product technology to create the color PANTONE 16-1546, or as it is more commonly known, Living Coral - 2019's Color of the Year. "The color matching process always starts with a physical color sample," says CTO and co-founder of DyeMansion, Philipp Kramer. "The sample could be plastics, fabrics, paper or even human skin. First it is measured by a spectrophotometer, and then the tone is developed using several iterations directly on the customer’s material and finish. Knowledge of material and finish are essential as they have a significant impact on the product’s final color. The matching process lays the foundation of a location-independent color communication with our customers using worldwide standardized systems like RAL, Pantone, CSI and NCS." DyeMansion then chooses a selection of appropriate dyes before beginning an iterative process whereby the concentration of the dyes and additives are adjusted until the final tone is matched.

06 / www.tctmagazine.com / VOL 5 ISSUE 1

"At DyeMansion we put a great deal of effort in reducing the metamerism," explains Head of Production at DyeMansion, Tibor Näther. "Metamerism is the difference in the appearance of the color under different actions of light, such as natural light or artificial light. That way we ensure the same color of the 3D printed part compared to the color sample under different lights, which is especially essential when using 3D printed parts next to injection molded parts like it is the case with automotive spare parts." The final acceptance of the color is always done by the customer directly onsite under real circumstances and with a test run free of charge if they already have a DyeMansion DM60 coloring system.

Without the correct coloring, it would be difficult to see 3D printed products ever being developed for end-use purposes. DyeMansion's color matching process has already enabled the likes of Daimler and Under Armour to realize a consistency in their 3D printed products using their corporate colors like Under Armour Glacier Grey or Daimler Evogrey. Away from those household brand names, color matching is also proving a hit in the medical world too. Gottinger Handelshaus OHG has been at the forefront of orthopedic technology since 1901, and in 2012 it made additive manufacturing a core part of its technological skill set. One of additive manufacturing's true success stories is in its ability to create


cover story

bespoke, perfectly fitting prosthesis, we’ve seen this at the homemade level in the e-NABLE project through to high-end TCT Award winning prosthetics. Gottinger fit firmly in the higher echelons of orthopedic 3D printing and has even successfully certified its SLS leg prostheses according to the DIN EN ISO 10328: 2007 standard. Here, force, rotations, and resistance are tested. For this standard, 2,000,000 steps were simulated, which the prosthetic foot survived unscathed. Tailoring a fit of a prosthesis is now understood thanks to digital technologies but a request from a customer to match their skintone on a transtibial prosthesis meant Gottinger

above:

A GOTTINGER TRANSTIBIAL PROSTHESIS MADE-TOMEASURE USING SLS TECHNOLOGY AND DYED IN A SPECIAL SKIN TONE WITH DYEMANSION TECHNOLOGY

had to turn to fellow German company, DyeMansion. The process of matching a skin-tone for a prosthetic is remarkably similar to the way in which cosmetics stores have revolutionized the purchasing of makeup using spectrophotometry devices. DyeMansion's intelligent coloring technology lies in its flexible recipe and process parameters. The chance to trace and monitor every relevant parameter, from the dyeing temperature and pressure down to details of the used dye batch for each cartridge containing the customer-specific mixture is paving the way for additive manufacturing to become a truly capable process for production. With the start of DyeMansion North America Inc. and initial activities in the Asia Pacific region seen at TCT Asia 2019 with local people and partners, the Munich-based company is stepping up its operations to become a worldwide presence. CTO & co-founder Philipp Kramer will take part in the Post-Processing Additive Manufacturing (Non-Metals) roundtable at AMUG on Monday, April 1st.

RIGHT:

SLS LAMPSHADE IN 'LIVING CORAL'

LEFT:

RAL COLOR RANGE FOR SLS PARTS

“KNOWLEDGE

OF MATERIAL AND FINISH ARE ESSENTIAL AS THEY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE PRODUCT’S FINAL COLOR.”

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 07


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AN ADDITIVE EMBRACE WORDS: SAM DAVIES

BELOW:

C

radled inside a precious metal cage is a stone. A group of them dangle from an ear, a necklace, a bracelet. It is architecture in its smallest form, the result of technology meeting tradition, the product of Marie Boltenstern’s influence on an Austrian jewelry atelier born in the 1960s and renowned for catering for the rich and famous.

Marie took over the company from her father, Sven, in 2015. Not long after, having taken the decision to explore the potential of new technologies, she witnessed a presentation delivered by Cooksongold at Basel World, where the application of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies in the jewelry sector was the focus. From here, an alliance blossomed, all jewelry pieces are to now be 3D printed, and in September 2018, the output of this collaboration was recognized at the TCT Awards as the best creative application of the technology that year. The Embrace collection is a series of jewelry pieces, which offer a degree of customization. Colored beads or gemstones are woven into cages which are 3D printed in silver, platinum, 18K red gold, or 18K yellow gold. Customers can choose to have a number of cages, a variety of different colored stones, and alter the size of the piece, which could be a bracelet, bangle, chain, or earing. The combinations go into the thousands.

BEADS AND GEM STONES ARE SET INSIDE MID-WAY THROUGH THE BUILD OF THE 3D PRINTED CAGES

and then set the stones inside, and then backstore the powder and carry on printing. It’s an intervention build, we call it,” explained David Fletcher, Cooksongold’s Head of Special Products.

Then comes the post-processing. Such is the nature of the jewelry market, the surface finish must be perfect. And jewelers use the angle of reflectivity to make sure that it is. “If the incoming light reflects at the same angle as the outgoing light from the part, then all the light is hitting our eyes at the same time and produces a very highly polished, reflective surface. If it’s a slightly bumpy surface, then the angles of reflection are slightly different, so they’re coming off at different angles and it appears duller,” Fletcher articulated. “That’s the requirement in the jewelry industry.” Post-build, the support structures are removed, the pieces sand blasted, and then they are run through OTEC’s EPAG Flex electropolishing system. Some pieces may then be radium plated to enhance the brightness of the finish. CREDIT ANGELO KREUZBERGER

cmyk

JEWELRY

Cooksongold oversees the production of these pieces, the cages additively manufactured on EOS M 080 or M100 direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) platforms, with the stone being set mid-build, rather than the cage being assembled around it afterwards.

These build and finishing processes were happening around the clock before the end of the year. Five DMLS systems at Cooksongold’s facility were in operation 24 hours a day, while another at Birmingham City University was also being utilized on occasion, as Marie was working to fulfil an order in the thousands from a big Chinese retailer. There’s since been further interest from China, as well as Hong Kong. It’s a significant validation of Marie, her aptitude in design, and her decision to adopt AM technology to build on the success of her father. She’s trained in architecture, and thus quickly picked up the Design for Additive Manufacturing skills, with the help of a set of guidelines supplied by Cooksongold, which details rules on orientation, build angles, and so on. The result is an award-winning collection of unique, additively manufactured, jewelry pieces. “Marie is taking this traditional jeweler, and turning it into a 3D printing business,” said Fletcher. “And we’re at pains to point out that the Embrace collection cannot be made any other way. You can’t make those from traditional techniques. There’s a big opportunity for jewelry [in adopting additive manufacturing] and Marie is exploiting that.”

“We print the cage, and then three quarters of the way through we stop the build, we evacuate some of the powder, SHOWN: RING AND CUFFLINK FROM THE 3D PRINTED EMBRACE COLLECTION

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 09


The MAGAZINE for

Design-to-Manufacturing Innovation 3d printing | additive manufacturing | inspection machine tools | cad/cae/cam/plm software | materials metrology | moulding and tooling | post processing

INNOVATION NEVER STOPS, SO NEITHER DOES TCT TCT is a year-round source of news, learning and opinion. Subscribe for free today to join the global TCT community and ensure you are up-to-date with the news and views that matter throughout the year.

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MAG


JEWELRY

FR DOM OF DESIGN

ONE UK-FOUNDED ORGANIZATION IS HELPING DISADVANTAGED WOMEN IN INDIA TO GAIN HIGH-VALUE DIGITAL CAREERS IN THE JEWELRY INDUSTRY. DEPUTY GROUP EDITOR, LAURA GRIFFITHS, SPEAKS TO THE FOUNDERS ABOUT HOW THEY’RE USING 3D PRINTING TO BREAK THE CYCLE

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 011


A

ccording to the latest statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO), for every 1,000 people in the world, there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery. Over 70% of those people are women. But “knowledge is power” and Londonbased organization, Free-D wants to use 3D technologies to empower women from at-risk backgrounds by giving them the opportunity to gain sought-after skills which lead to secure, high-value employment. The aptly named, Free-D was founded by Katherine Prescott and Siavash Mahdavi who first met at software startup, Within, later acquired by Autodesk. With over two decades of experience in the 3D printing industry working across medical, aerospace, automotive and footwear, they started thinking more about the technology; how it’s taught, how oftentimes it’s the people who have eschewed traditional training routes that just click with 3D, and how it has the potential to be used for good. Following conversations with NGOs (NonGovernmental Organization) working within social violence, they had a theory – to create a STEM-focused academy that could help women at-risk to learn valuable skills and open them up to

entirely new careers and opportunities. Could 3D printing be the key to breaking the cycle? “One of the biggest challenges is, once women are rescued from an exploitative or dangerous situation, such as trafficking, they are not given many opportunities to rebuild their lives in a way that would lead to high-value employment and financial independence. Quite often their only opportunities are to learn skills in industries open to exploitation, low salaries and job instability, such as the garment industry or the service industry,” Sia told TCT. “Yet many of these women haven’t had the opportunity to flex their brain or be creative, it is assumed they aren’t capable to learn more advanced skills.” Katherine added: “3D printing expertise, especially in countries like India, is sought-after. One of the problems I’ve heard from different employers is that they cannot easily find people with the skills needed to make the most of the technology. This skills gap means employers can spend up to two years training staff for them to get headhunted by other firms. If we can provide consultants who already have the experience and skills needed, they could be highly in-demand. Free-D is focused on making sure that the skills taught are high-end, with a comprehensive understanding from end-to-end of the design and manufacturing process.” To pilot the project they travelled to India, a country with an estimated total of 14 million women living in slavery and equally alarming rehabilitation rates. With laptops and a desktop

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3D printer donated by early supporter PrintLab in tow, they set out to Mumbai in January 2017 where the team met with several NGOs to find out if their theory would actually work. An initial 12-month pilot program was set up with a group of 11 women, working with local partners including Kshamata, an organization which supports women rescued from exploitation, local jewelry school IIGJ, and 3D printer distributor, printOmake, to create a bespoke curriculum focused on the jewelry industry. The gems and jewelry market is already one of India’s fastest growing sectors and expected to be worth 100 billion USD by 2025. The jewelry industry itself is also one of the largest adopters of 3D technologies, from lost wax casting applications to precious metals, and the demand for skilled employees is high. Mumbai, specifically, is also home to one of India’s largest 3D printing service providers, Imaginarium, who partnered with Free-D to provide manufacturing and training support for the program. With India’s heritage in jewelry manufacturing and increasing technological advancements, Kamlesh Parekh, Director at Imaginarium, says jewelry was the, “natural choice for a program that aims at providing long-term employment.” Katherine continued: “Early on during training, we found that exercises based around jewelry was something the women could relate to and get creative with. That creativity was excellent as a motivator for students to keep persevering through mastering more difficult topics. We don’t want to limit the Free-D students to only work in one field, but we felt like jewelry was a really good place to start.” The team started with the basics, thinking about how things are made and the fundamental mathematical principles behind working in 3D such as placing shapes onto a build platform and experimenting with scale. Using CAD software such as Meshmixer, Rhino and Magics, the students were taken through the design thinking process to create their own jewelry projects, getting to grips with design, support structure generation, selecting the best printing method, prototyping and post-


JEWELRY

processing. Their designs were initially printed using a plastic extrusion-based process before advancing to more complex processes like stereolithography, which would ultimately be used to prepare models for lost wax casting. Through various modules and holistic training, not only in 3D technologies but also language and presentation skills, the goal was to have the students come away with an understanding of the different roles within the product design process with a view to future employment. “I think in general, 3D printing differentiates itself from other STEM subjects,” Sia commented. “You are able to design something, to think something up in your head and within a matter of hours it physically exists. The power you feel, the confidence you gain in saying ‘I thought of something and now it’s here’, after working in the industry for a long time, you can forget the almost magical side of using the technology. That’s something we’re also exploring, to see whether 3D printing itself can actually be empowering and therapeutic.” The first stage of the pilot programme has just reached completion with each of the students presenting their projects to prospective employers. Ten were offered placements with Imaginarium and Fab Jewels, a huge success for the pilot but the impact spans much further. Many of the students said the course, though challenging, had given them not only a new skillset but more confidence in themselves and new perspectives on working life. Some are now planning on furthering their CAD education and finding skilled work in the jewelry industry, others have ambitions to start their own creative side projects. One student, Sara* has dreams of launching her own business to help other people from disadvantaged areas. Sara commented: “I’m interested to learn more about CAD and design and [gain] more knowledge about manufacturing

so that in the future I can open my own operation in a place not very developed, where people really need help. What I have gone through in my childhood, I don’t want anyone else to go through that. I want them to know about their rights, I didn’t know about mine. I want to help children, so they have opportunities that I missed out on. I want to become a role model.” Following the success of the pilot, the plan is to turn the program into a repeatable model that can support even more women. Initially, a range inspired by the students will be manufactured by Imaginarium and available to buy from Free-D and other stockists. Katherine hopes the profits can be used to setup a new manufacturing and training facility so that brands and retailers who care about an ethical supply chain can start making orders for jewelry this year, with pilot graduates working directly on orders or as CAD and manufacturing consultants. Free-D are openly looking for partners to support them in setting up their facility and helping them develop the curriculum to be at the cutting edge of the technology. Katherine concluded: “We’ve already learned so much from our pilot. In the future, I don’t see why we couldn’t set up centres all over India or anywhere there is demand for 3D printing skills. Free-D so far has benefitted from support from a small but dedicated group of pilot partners. To take this program to the next level, it would be great to hear from potential partner companies or individuals looking to support the cause by providing the technology, tools and expertise required to make the industry as a whole more accessible.” *Names have been changed.

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 013


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NEWS

AND IN OTHER NEWS

MORE STORIES ON THIS ISSUE’S BIG FOCUSES: JEWELRY AND DESIGN SOFTWARE PRODWAYS GROUP UNVEILS SOLIDSCAPEDL DLP 3D PRINTER

Prodways Group has announced the launch of the SolidscapeDL, the brand’s first resin production printing system. The new SolidscapeDL will be powered by the company’s proprietary MovingLight technology, which polymerizes photosensitive resins with DLP UV rays to produce parts accurately and quickly. Solidscape was acquired by Prodways Group last summer for an undisclosed amount, and the introduction of the SolidscapeDL system

represents the first significant development since. Meanwhile, Deltamed is a company that has been specializing in additive manufacturing material and process development for more than 15 years, with its core expertise lying within the healthcare and dental sectors. As the SolidscapeDL is launched, Deltamed has developed three resins – EmeraldCast, DiamondCast, and ProtoCast – compatible with the new machine and its promise of high speed manufacturing. SolidscapeDL will be commercially available from Q2 this year.

STRATASYS INTRODUCES ADVANCED FDM FEATURE TO GRABCAD PRINT

SISMA LAUNCHES EVERES 3D PRINTERS FOR JEWELRY, DENTAL AND INDUSTRIAL MARKETS Italian developer of high precision machinery and laser systems, Sisma, has introduced its new EVERES line of resin-based 3D printers. The EVERES ZERO and EVERES UNO are professional systems based on DLP technology aimed at the jewelry, medical, dental and industrial markets. The machine variations offer build areas of 96 x 54 mm and 124.8 x 70.2 mm and XY resolutions of 50 and 65 microns. The EVERES patent pending ZTT (Zero Tilting Technology) is said to enable fast, high-quality printing. During printing, the vat is set fixed in the machine while the glass tilts after each layer has been printed, avoiding a suction effect and without causing mechanical stress. In addition, the use of PTFE in the bottom of the vat, an inert material in the exothermic photo-curing process, allows for a non-degenerative printing which Sisma claims grants a high dimensional precision, repeatability and reliability.

Stratasys has introduced its Advanced FDM feature to the GrabCAD Print software as it aims to ‘remove complexity from design-to-3D print processes.’ The new feature has been designed to speed up the process of designing 3D printed parts. It eliminates the CADto-STL conversion process, and with rich CAD-native build controls, the manual generation of complex toolpaths is not required. Desired part characteristics are achieved through automatic control of FDM build attributes, as Advanced FDM automatically calculates 3D print toolpaths. Users pinpoint areas of strength, rigidity, control infills, ensure there is sufficient materials around holes with inserts, and avoid seams, directly on the CAD model. Since toolpaths are automatically generated from model assignments, the user typically spends less time on print preparation, and ultimately shortens the time it takes to print a prototype or end-use component. Advanced FDM is available immediately via download with GrabCAD Print.

AUTODESK OPENS GENERATIVE DESIGN LAB IN CHICAGO

Autodesk has opened the doors to a new public workshop space in Chicago focused on generative design. The Autodesk Generative Design Field Lab is designed to help engineers and manufacturers understand how they can apply generative design to their end-toend manufacturing processes and its potential for the future of product design. Located at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), the lab is equipped with a range of additive and subtractive manufacturing systems including a Farsoon eForm powder bed machine, Datron Neo CNC mill, and a hybrid machine from Diversified Machine Systems (DMS). Last year, Autodesk added generative capabilities to its Fusion 360 platform which combines design, engineering and manufacturing into a single piece of software. Unlike traditional CAD solutions, generative design is an AI-based technology which uses design constraints such as weight, strength and manufacturing method, to generate a set of optimized 3D models.

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 015


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TAO DU, A PHD STUDENT IN THE COMPUTATIONAL FABRICATION GROUP OF MIT’S COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LABORATORY (CSAIL).

N

early all commercial products start as a CAD file, a 2D or 3D model with the product’s design specifications. One method that’s widely used to represent today’s 3D models is constructive solid geometry (CSG), a technique where numerous basic shapes, or “primitives,” with a few adjustable parameters can be assembled in various ways to form a single object. When finalized, the compiled digital object is converted to a mesh of 3D triangles that defines the object’s shape. These meshes are used as input for many applications, including 3D printing and virtual simulation. Customizing that mesh, however, is no easy task. With complex models comprising thousands of triangles, customization becomes daunting and time-consuming. Traditional techniques to convert triangle meshes back into shapes don’t scale well to complex models or work accurately on lowresolution, noisy files. In a paper presented at the recent AMC SIGGRAPH Asia conference, MIT researchers describe a system that applies a technique called program synthesis to break down CAD models into their primitive shapes. Program synthesis automatically constructs computer programs based on a set of grammars. Essentially, to build CAD models, designers assemble individual shapes into a final object; the researchers’ method does the reverse, disassembling the CAD models into individual shapes that can be

edited. As input, the system takes a 3D triangle mesh and first determines the individual shapes that make it up. Program synthesis crawls through the shapes, trying to figure out how the shapes were put together and assembled into the final model. The final shapes contain editable parameters for users to tweak that can be re-uploaded to the mesh. After the system receives an input mesh, a pre-processing step detects the possible locations, orientations, and parameters of all primitive shapes. This process creates a massive point cloud across the surface of the triangle mesh. A special “primitive-detection” algorithm infers from these points the dimensions for each primitive shape that makes up the mesh. The researchers then sample tons of points in the entire 3D space and flag them as either inside or outside the mesh. This helps determine how the shapes converge or relate to one another. A simple example is a mesh consisting of two spheres, A and B, merged together. If one sampled point falls inside sphere A, one inside sphere B, and one at the intersection

of the two (inside both A and B), it’s most likely a union of the two shapes. Given this information, along with the primitive dimensions, program synthesis could potentially create a CGS tree. But, 3D meshes of even low complexity would require program synthesis to sample tens of thousands of points. This would create a massive search space that’s computationally impractical to handle. To ensure the system worked efficiently, the researchers designed a sampling method that creates several small subsets of point samples across the 3D space, which is much easier for program synthesis to compute. By sampling these subsets, it creates a new candidate “program,” or CGS tree, that could be considered correct. After numerous iterations — and using techniques to eliminate certain points and trees — the system lands on the correct CGS tree for each shape, with correct intermediate steps and final parameters. Any edited shapes are fed back into the mesh as the system computationally follows the intermediate steps back to the final object. The process could be useful in manufacturing or when combined with 3D printing software. This is especially important in the age of design sharing, where amateur 3D printer users upload 3D print models to websites for online communities to download and modify. Uploads are mostly triangle meshes because meshes are far more universally accepted across platforms than the original CSG-based CAD files. The system can potentially handle other formats like point clouds by adding a pre-processing step.

SHOWN: TECHNIQUE BREAKS DOWN COMPLEX CAD MODELS INTO THE INDIVIDUAL SHAPES THEY’RE MADE OF. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE RESEARCHERS)

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 017


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DESIGN SOFTWARE

HOW FORD AUTOMATED THE DESIGN OF MANUFACTURING AIDS WORDS: LAURA GRIFFITHS

3D PRINTED JIGS AND FIXTURES ARE USED BY JUST ABOUT EVERY VEHICLE MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD TO SAVE TIME AND MONEY ON THE PRODUCTION LINE. NOW, FORD WANTS TO TACKLE THE NEXT BOTTLENECK, DESIGN.

F

ord’s Research & Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany, the automotive leader is using intuitive software to automate the design of additive manufactured production tools. The software was created by the Berlin-based company Trinckle (stylized as trinckle), whose flagship software “paramate” simplifies the design process for user-specific products, whether that’s consumer goods like eyewear or the mass customization of copper inductors, which saw the company scoop last year’s TCT Industrial Product Application Award. While it’s no secret that producing tools and manufacturing aids via traditional methods is expensive, Ford found that up to 50% of its total costs per tool were, in fact, in the manual design step, “the new bottleneck” as Lars Bognar, a research engineer at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering Europe, calls it. To overcome that, Trinckle has worked with Ford to develop an internal application for the

efficient generation of labeling jigs – a hand tool used to accurately place name and model badges on the body of a vehicle. “For each new line and each special edition, these tools must be specifically designed to position the badges with exact accuracy,” Bognar explained. “This design task is not a trivial one, as the tools have to adapt precisely to the free-form surfaces of the car body sheet. It can easily last between two and four hours to create an appropriate AM-ready design.” Within the software, the user simply uploads the model data of the car body and paramate’s algorithms then automatically generate the geometry of the tool to fit the contour of the car and form the base of the new jig. Additional elements such as handles, magnet mounts for fixation and edge guides can then be added by simply clicking on where the engineer wishes to place them. This particular application has reduced the design process from two to four hours down to just ten minutes without the need for a CAD or an AM-trained engineer. Ford believes this has the potential to save thousands of Euros per tool, which, considering its Ford Focus alone

is manufactured using over 50 custom designed jigs, tools and fixtures, could account for colossal savings across multiple models. “The labeling jig itself is not different from the jigs we have seen before. The innovation is that you don’t need a CAD experienced person for the final design. The software application is so intuitive that anyone, with a little bit of technical understanding, can create such a jig,” Dr. Ole Bröker, Head of Business Development & Consulting at Trinckle, told TCT. “Ford’s goal is to enable employees on the shop floor to do the design adaptions on their own, within some boundaries of course. This would mean opening the design process for those who work with the tools on a daily basis.” The designs are sent directly to Ultimaker Cura software and 3D printed on-site using, for example, desktop Ultimaker S5 machines, which Ford has installed inside its shop floors across Europe. Though this application is still in the R&D department, after a successful pilot, Trinckle says the possibilities are wide open. Bröker added: “We just picked the low hanging fruit with these labeling jigs and of course we go further, we are already working on the next application within the field of production and assembly means at Ford. These are a great use cases for our paramate software because these tool geometries are very use case specific. They are not even too complex in many cases, but they still demand a lot of time-consuming manual design work. We try to get rid of that.”

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 019


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THE NEW SCHOOL FEATURE COMPILED BY DANIEL O’CONNOR, LAURA GRIFFITHS AND SAM DAVIES.

LEADERS OF THE NEW WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

S

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REICHENTAL

WEIJMARSHAUSEN

WILSON

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ix years ago, as I was starting out at Rapid News with an understanding of 3D printing that amounted to a miniature version of the Sand Beast seen on television’s QI, the then editor of TCT Magazine (now VP Content Strategy & Partnerships at Rapid News), James Woodcock was embarking on a tour of the U.S. speaking to the most influential personalities in what was then a shape-shifting industry. The result was a front cover with six faces above the headline, “Leaders of the New School.” It caused much consternation in the 3D printing world; many decrying the absence of their company’s figurehead, some suggesting that there was more than a whiff of BS from the printer in every home movement, a couple of comments

even suggested one of the faces should be arrested (there’s been an interesting development in that regard). What is undeniable is that each one of those six has left a lasting impression on the world of 3D printing, particularly in the eyes of the mainstream media. What is interesting is that such is the flux in this industry only one is on the same path, and his road has been particularly bumpy. Over the following six pages, the current TCT Editorial team will look at either the people or the companies and ask the question, what happened next? - Daniel O’Connor VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 021


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THE NEW SCHOOL

D

uring a recent flight to New York, I finally got around to watching Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett pull off an elaborate jewellery heist in Ocean's 8. I knew 3D printing featured in the movie but hadn’t anticipated it would play such a key role in the plot, allowing the con artists to replicate a priceless diamond necklace using a desktop, plastic-extrusion printer. If you say so, Hollywood. Fittingly, this magic machine was stamped with a MakerBot logo, the very same Brooklyn-based 3D printing company I was on my way to visit. MakerBot, has been a card-carrying advocate for the 3D printing revolution ever since its former CEO, Bre Pettis posed on the cover of Wired magazine claiming the Replicator was going to change the world. It was also a victim of the hype it helped create, opening short-lived physical stores (which TCT paid a visit to in 2013) and launching products too soon, like Bronze and Iron materials, which were never released commercially. As the company marks its 10-year anniversary this year, now feels like the ideal time for a new product reveal and with it, a more industrial-minded MakerBot. The following day, on the 21st floor of Brooklyn’s Metro Tech Center, the company launched its latest machine which aims to bridge the gap between desktop and industrial 3D printing. The Method is designed to deliver industrial precision, reliability, and dimensional accuracy at a more accessible price of 6,499 USD. The system, which MakerBot has been working on for two years and believes opens up a new category in “Performance 3D Printing”, feels like a logical next step for the company, which has realigned itself across education and professional verticals under the leadership of CEO Nadav Goshen. The machine is aimed at professionals to enable testing and validation of accurate prototypes and faster product design cycles, leveraging expertise from Stratasys, of which MakerBot is a subsidiary, and the accessibility of its

own machines. This feels most evident in its design which could pass as a desktop version of Stratasys’ popular F123 Series and the installation of a touch screen interface in place of the manual control knob from the Replicator+. Its sturdy Ultra-Rigid metal frame houses a Circulating Heated Chamber which regulates the temperature to provide cooling at a controlled rate, while new Dual Performance Extruders combining water-soluble PVA, enable print speeds up to two times faster than current desktop systems. It also features dry-sealed material bays to keep out moisture, a spring steel build plate to allow parts to be popped off, and built in sensors and automation features. The Method will initially be available with PETG material but MakerBot says there are more to follow across two categories; Precision and Specialty Materials. On the software side, MakerBot Print is compatible with 25 of the most popular CAD programs and

supports collaborative cloud-based working. The software offers default print modes as well as the option to choose your own custom settings, with the overall aim to get you from design to print as fast as possible. We also saw how parts can be nested in MakerBot Print so that designers can print multiple components, leveraging the watersoluble support material, to create full prototypes in a single print run. The decision for MakerBot to go for the gap between desktop and industrial is interesting. Speaking with Goshen, the company spotted a need to “develop something completely new” and in the last two years, has invested heavily in order to bring as many industrial features as possible into the desktop format it is known for without having to compromise on quality. For businesses who may have been previously priced out by larger industrial systems or needed something more from the desktop, the Method may be just the thing.

SHOWN: METHOD 3D PRINTER

SHOWN: HISTORY OF MAKERBOT HARDWARE AT ITS BROOKLYN HQ

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 023


WORDS: SAM DAVIES

I

t’s said you should never make predictions, especially about the future.

But it can be difficult to suppress a belief when there is so much passion immersed within it. Avi Reichental would typically wax lyrical about the potential 3D printing had in your home, moreover, every room in your home. He did so in this magazine, in fact, in 2013. In this moment, he was the CEO of 3D Systems, the oldest, and still one of the largest, vendors in the space, while the industry had reached the peak of its hype cycle. His was one of the loudest voices in its climb there, and one of the last remaining when doubt superseded. “Our position is that consumers are asking for access to 3D printing and it is our job to provide the tools and the content,” he said in 2013 when questioned on the increasing skepticism in consumer demand. “We intend to reserve judgement and let the consumer decide about 3D printing.” A mathematical equation had formed in Reichental’s mind, in which the sum was consumer demand, and the addends democratization and education. Democratization was ‘key’, education was ‘the most fundamental change that needed to happen’. His calculation was supplemented by some workings out: pricing would come down, machines become easier to use, they would be integrated into the curriculum at primary, secondary and higher education, and ultimately, people wouldn’t know how to live without them. Every broken part replaced by a 3D printed one, every child’s desire addressed with a desktop machine.

024 / www.tctmagazine.com / VOL 5 ISSUE 1

Reichental chased the consumer market, championed it and believed in it, and in 2015, he and 3D Systems parted ways. “I was wrong about that,” he told TCT. “I used to say it’s not going to be a matter of whether or not you will have a 3D printer in every home, the question will be in what room in your house would you like to have a 3D printer and for what purpose. It didn’t happen the way I envisioned it. The democratization of 3D printing happened, we can buy printers today for 198 dollars, the migration to schools and libraries happened, [but] the migration to the home I was totally wrong about. “Something very interesting happened. We see many of these would-be home printers [have] become good enough for small engineering firms. The democratization of that class of printers that started with the whole Makerbot movement ended up giving professionals a better, cheaper tool.” Reichental made these comments at Formnext 2018, where XponentialWorks, the company he now heads, exhibited the capabilities of a selection of the start-ups it represents. Nexa3D debuted its industrialgrade SLA systems, which will be made available this year at price points between 20,000 USD and 50,000 USD, and sample parts like engine blocks and pull handles. NxtFactory showcased its QLS 250 and 350 SLS machines, priced at 80,000 USD and 120,000 USD, along with some printed shoe soles and a differential hub produced with John Deere. And Paramatters was demoing its generative design software, which boasts finite element analysis capabilities, and is being used by Ford, Renishaw, and Stanley Black & Decker. The stand’s

centerpiece was a Mini with a selection of concept applications. The standout was a 3D printed trailing arm suspension, designed to deliver the same performance as its casted counterpart but with a weight reduction of 47%. He believes the price points and performance of these technologies serve to address his long-held view on democratization and supplement his more contemporary fixation around Industry 4.0. As we look outwards from his stand tucked away in the corner of Hall 3.0, GE, Trumpf, and Desktop Metal are all in eyeshot. They’re companies who see the place additive manufacturing (AM) has on the factory floor, its potential – real potential – to disrupt the wider manufacturing market. But similar barriers remain, and this trio are not alone in still having work to do on the democratization of their technology. “The throughput and the total cost of ownership have to


THE NEW SCHOOL

BELOW:

XPONENTIALWORKS’ FORMNEXT SHOWPIECE, FEATURING AN ARRAY OF 3D PRINTED APPLICATIONS.

elementary schools and middle schools and high schools and universities of various complexity are being integrated into other curriculums, which means we’re getting to a point where people understand that 3D printing doesn’t exist for the sake of 3D printing. It’s a tool that unleashes creativity.” He continued this train of thought and it led him back to a path already tread: “It’s an instrument that enables all of us to become digital craftsmen.”

be comparable or better [than conventional methods]. Then you really democratize because for the first time you really unleash much more effective designs for additive manufacturing that don’t require set-up, that don’t come with some costly tooling, that give you the flexibility to make millions of identical parts or millions of one-of-a-kind parts without any additional penalties,” Reichental assessed. “That

SHOWN: TRAILING ARM SUSPENSION GENERATIVELY DESIGNED TO SAVE 47% WEIGHT AND PRINTED IN ALUMINUM.

gives you digital inventory instead of warehouses stuffed with goods that don’t move. That gives you the ability to teleport products across borders digitally without getting encumbered with all these trade wars and so forth. That’s democratization. Giving customers access to high-speed, costeffective design and manufacturing.” It’s the start of manufacturing becoming sexy again, Reichental believes. Parts being generatively designed and manufacturing with the aid of automation processes: ‘These technologies have been around for years, but now we have the computational power to do something about it,’ he notes. This is to be aided by familiarity of 3D printing technology, ensuring the next generation has the adequate digital literacy to maintain this next phase of industrial revolution. “We are sitting here with 50 companies that can deliver you a 3D printer to a school or library for a few hundred dollars,” Reichental said. “We see a real explosion of not just design curriculums to learn digital fabrication, but we see how 3D printing in

The more he sits and ponders, the more his mind wanders. He was wrong, he conceded as much, and yet as he debates the 3D printing/ consumer poser, even today, he begins to think he might yet be right. Amazon Web Services’ majority stake in Shapeways means he can imagine a world where the consumer’s Amazon Echo sits beside a desktop 3D printer: “You will say, ‘Alexa, print me a Christmas ornament,’ and Amazon will send you a file and you will print it.” It’s what can happen when passion intertwines with enthusiasm, even when other passions surrounding 3D printing’s implementation in factories co-exist, and even if the enthusiasm is rash: “I am encouraged by the tell-tale signs and I’m not giving up on it. I’m optimistic, maybe foolishly optimistic, but optimistic,” laughed Reichental. The dream lives on, but the pursuit, for now at least, remains dormant. His enduring optimism in the consumer market is not immediate per XponentialWorks’ Formnext Booth. Similarly, and despite the consumer focus that developed, 3D Systems’ large play in industry throughout Reichental’s tenure cannot go unmentioned. His downfall was that his optimism in the consumer market didn’t dwindle when that of the majority did. He fell foul of chasing a target audience when the applications, by and large, didn’t exist. Sure, you could 3D print a spare part for your utilities and furniture, but how often do you need to? You can hope that by democratizing and educating, the next generation will be so obsessed with 3D printing that a desktop machine is as commonplace as a television or a laptop, but not everyone wants to be a digital craftsman. Perhaps we should leave it to those that do. As a leader of the new school in 2013, Reichental said democratization was key, education was too, that the consumer would decide about 3D printing, and the demand was there. Through the endeavors of his new venture, there’s acceptance that he was right, and he was wrong.

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 025


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THE NEW SCHOOL

THE SHAPE OF 3D PRINTING TO COME W WORDS: LAURA GRIFFITHS

hen TCT last visited Shapeways in 2014, The Netherlands-founded company had recently set up its North American facility in Long Island City, amassed over 15,000 store owners on its platform, and had dreams of creating the first Shapeways’ millionaire. A lot has changed since then, the company has a new CEO, the number of businesses run through Shapeways has tripled, and several of those are making millions of dollars of revenue, some even setting up their own teams. Now over a decade into the game, the feel as you walk into Shapeways Factory is still very much that of a start-up – you’re unlikely to find machines named after Marvel characters and pop divas at a big corporate – but the company’s CEO Gregory Kress, who joined the company just 12 months ago following the departure of Co-Founder and CEO Peter Weijmarshausen, embraces that. “We’re a start-up, we’re still young and we’re still growing and still figuring things out,” he tells me on a recent tour of the facility. The Long Island factory houses four primary 3D printing technologies but its versatile plastic is its most popular offering with around 50% of parts being produced on its arsenal of 11 EOS selective laser sintering systems. Its R&D department is home to some newer installations including Formlabs’ Form Cell, Stratasys’ J750 full color multi-material printer, currently in beta testing, and Carbon’s CLIP technology, which was still in the process of being setup during our visit. Meanwhile, over in the original Eindhoven factory, HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology has really hit its stride. Files come in and are assigned in a sort of “3D Tetris” style to maximize build platform capacity. They’re then printed and any required post-processing such as polishing or dying is carried out before they’re passed on to the distribution centre for shipping. In the past, Shapeways may have been considered more of a marketplace for 3D content (it was once described as the “Etsy of 3D printing”) than a manufacturing service provider, but now with a fresh rebrand and focus on “design, make, sell” functionality, it positions itself as “a silent partner behind the scenes” helping small businesses to get their products delivered to customers.

BELOW:

50% OF SHAPEWAYS’ PRODUCTS ARE PRINTED WITH EOS SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING

“Our customers have a deep understanding of their market fit and what their customers need - we’re just enabling that process,” Kress explained. “Most of them have design issues, most of them want mass customization, most of them need more than just 3D printing, they’re not asking for prototypes. What we’re trying to do now is remove as much friction from that process as we can and really just help them be more successful.” With most creators choosing to set up individual stores on other platforms, Shapeways has developed integrations with the likes of Shopify and Etsy, enabling customers to order products directly from other webstores, have them sent straight to the Shapeways factory and delivered to their door, often with the store’s own branding stamped on the box. “We don’t ever want to say that we take a file and turn it into a product, there’s so much more complexity in this process and the real value that we can create is helping our creatives today,” Kress said.

Last year, Shapeways announced 30 million USD in new funding to facilitate its expansion and celebrated its 10 millionth printed part. It continues to partner with OEMs to prove out new technologies and Kress isn’t resting on any laurels when looking to the future. “Even in the last year we’ve made so many changes to things we’ve been doing for a long time. I’m trying to be as agile as possible,” Kress added. “We’re a start-up – if we change all of our processes tomorrow, I don’t care, we’ll figure it out, whatever is best for our customers.”

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 027


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THE NEW SCHOOL

ALL CHANGE WORDS: DANIEL O’CONNOR

BURNS

A

t the time of the original feature in 2013, the modus operandi of five of the front cover's famous faces was to push the idea that 3D printing was a consumer technology. Avi Reichental said that a passion project of his was a chocolate printer, Bre Pettis's interview took place in the ill-fated physical MakerBot store, Peter Weijmarhausen said that Shapeways was about "empowering the individual." There was however a lone dissenting voice amidst the maddening crowd. While his peers talked of democratization of manufacturing and what that could mean to the consumer, David Burns, then COO of ExOne, discussed the need for machining of parts, he discussed Production Service Centers, he discussed education and training. Speaking to Dave for this feature in 2019 you'd forgive him for being all, "I told you so," and although he isn't one for point scoring, Dave did point out that things change fast: "The most recognizable names in 3D printing have changed," says Dave. "The subject matter they were talking about has disappeared. Six years! That is not a long time, and certainly not in the evolution of manufacturing." He knows a thing or two about the evolution of manufacturing, now heading up his consultancy firm, Global Business Advisory Services, Dave is, "significantly more optimistic than six years ago." The reasons to be cheerful, according to Dave, comes down to the numbers. "Six years ago, the only fear I had was that there wasn't going to be enough largescale and patient investment to tackle the science. However, we've seen over a billion dollars invested in the last two years, and if you throw enough money against the wall of R&D, you solve problems. Even if you don't do it efficiently, even if you're not good at it, the volume alone overwhelms

like drops of water in a flood, and you see progress." Dave believes that the R&D dollars plus an influx of fresh thinking unencumbered with the manufacturing habits of the past means industry is currently seeing some of the most significant change since the inception of CNC machining. "Now we've got tied at the hip design, data transmission, software support, manufacturing support, custom materials engineering - which really blows my mind. These cogs all working in concert means we can overcome some of the huge problems with the distributed network of manufacturing today. We can relocate this manufacturing much closer to the place we wanted it to happen and do it in a way that ultimately will be even more cost-effective." But what are those innovations? In 2018, the 3D printing zeitgeist seemed to be in the binder-jetting of metals, its pioneer, Ely Sachs was inaugurated into the TCT Hall of Fame, Desktop Metal introduced its Production System, HP announced its

entry into the market and Dave's former company, ExOne launched two systems based on its Innovent+ platform. ExOne was binder-jetting metals when James Woodcock visited the Pittsburgh HQ six years ago, so why now? Has technology evolved? Have the problematic postprocessing steps diminished? "In my opinion, binder-jetting for metals is likely not ultimately going to be as pervasive a technology as some others that have emerged," says Dave candidly. "The message from the companies doing the binder-jetting in metals is, 'any size you want,' but the fact of the matter is that the post-processing part of binderjetting of metals, especially when you begin to get into large complex parts, conquering the sintering cycle is tough." Dave continued however to echo the thoughts of several conversations we had at TCT Asia suggesting that one of the most common uses for binder-jet 3D printing is criminally overlooked. "Sand printing for castings is a very efficient process because the accuracy capabilities of a 3D printer are higher than the traditional wooden patterns. There's an accuracy advantage with no incremental investment, and because we're able to use existing materials there are no issues with porosity, and there are no issues with post-processing. You print a sand mold with binders, you let it sit for four hours, and you can cast it." Like all points Dave makes he counterbalances it with a dose of realism, telling me that although sand-printing has its pros over wooden patterns, the big drawback is in in the fact that wooden patterns can be used countless times whereas a sand print is one shot and done. This unerring ability to quell hype stood Dave out from that front-cover crowd. That does not, however, mean he is any less inclined to get excited by the path we're treading. "What I care about is the fact that we now have a vault of investment that appears focussed on the developmental nature of advanced manufacturing as an entirely integrated process with all its components. I bounce every day between hardware questions, software questions, material questions, postprocessing questions; we now have a real focus on how we grow this industry."

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 029


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THE NEW SCHOOL

WORDS: DANIEL O’CONNOR

WORDS: DANIEL O’CONNOR

CODY

WILSON

W

hen the editorial team embarked on this idea to update on those famous faces on the front cover of July 2013's TCT Magazine, there was one figure whose face required a gentle memory job. This gentleman was everywhere in 2013, but piracy and circumstances forced him into unchartered waters. Joshua Harker keynoted at TCT Show + Personalize 2013 on the back of his Crania Anatomica Filigre skull-based model becoming the most-funded sculpture project in Kickstarter history. He was the first person to create a business based on 3D printed art, and his skulls became synonymous with 3D printing in the mainstream media. With the uptake in interest in his work and a commission from Burning Man festival in the bag, 2014 was looking bright for Josh, but, as he explained to TCT in an email, best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry: "In the space of just a few months I had an entire collection of 3D printed art stolen from a show tour in Russia, ripoffs of my filigree skulls started showing up in department stores, I spent significant amounts of money and effort to enforce my copyright with little result. The production partner I had committed to, restructured their quoting algorithm, increasing pricing by as much as 400%; and they then also began promoting knockoffs of my work by other designers. Then there was the Burning Man project, which I invested an entire year of work and attention to that didn't go as planned. All this contributed to the derailing of the project I was putting together at the time to develop a new 3D printer technology which I had hoped my

W

ilson featured on the front cover on that edition of TCT Magazine as at the time he was making 3D printing front page news world over. Personally, I don’t want to give the man more publicity other than to update on his current status: SHOWN: JOSHUA HARKER’S LATEST WORK FOR ROLLS-ROYCE AS A CELEBRATION OF ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH TAP AIRLINES.

various ventures would have helped fund." A family tragedy unfolded at the same time, leaving Josh's 2014 in tatters. His world-famous skulls became so pirated that it would not be a surprise to see one on Captain Jack Sparrow's mast. He decided to start putting some distance between himself and the 3D printing world. "I've repeatedly had to wrestle with companies (large & small) trying to co-opt my work to sell their products. Some relationships with the wellknown larger manufacturers began fairly but inevitably deteriorated as marketing priorities spiraled out of control. Nearly overnight the entire [3D printing] scene became more focused on investment opportunities, acquisitions, and money grabs rather than the long-term benefits versus

drawbacks of the technology, not to mention endless copycat designs. I'd always tried to promote a sense of community & be an ambassador for 3D printing, but it became increasingly apparent that I needed to reassess." Fortunately for those of us who admire Josh's work, reassess did not mean walk the plank. Harker is back with a new studio in artsy Ann Arbor, Michigan, and his latest commission is a beautiful piece designed to celebrate for RollsRoyce and Trans Air Portugal (TAP) partnership through the Trent 7000 turbine engine. "I'm in a very good place today partly due to having navigated these trying circumstances and I've searched deeply to find passion for my work again. So... after having time to reboot and refocus I am planning a return to public eye soon with some exciting new projects. 3D printing will continue to play a major role in much of it."

In September 2018, the Austin Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Wilson, who was accused of sexually assaulting an underage teenager on August 15 after reportedly soliciting contact with the girl on website SugarDaddyMeet. com. Wilson was arrested in Taiwan after missing his return flight home. Wilson is now expected to appear in court in Texas in early February. The charges filed against him include: four counts of sexual assault of a child two charges of indecency with a child by contact two charges of indecency with a child by exposure Mr Wilson’s defence lawyer Andino Reynal told the Austin American Statesman newspaper: “Mr. Wilson at all times believed reasonably that the complaining witness was a consenting adult.”

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AMUG CONFERENCE PREVIEW T

he Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) is gearing up for its 2019 Conference, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, March 31 – April 4, 2019. Now in its 31st year, the AMUG Conference is a unique event, open to owners and operators of industrial additive manufacturing technologies from around the world, to share AM expertise, best practices, challenges, and application developments.

Building on the success of last year’s conference, the AMUG 2019 program will deliver even more training and hands-on experiences with technical sessions, workshops and a Training Lab, new for this year. Carl Dekker, AMUG Vice President and President of US service bureau, Met-L-Flo, shares his thoughts on this year’s event …

TRAINING LAB

“This is the first year for the Training Lab, which is our approach to return to the early days of the users group when AM machines were brought in for hands-on work, covering maintenance, tuning, repair and optimization. In the Training Labs, the equipment and software will be the ultimate visual aid as experts lead attendees, step-by-step and in a handson fashion, through topics that extend from maintenance to applications and from hardware to software.”

PANELS

“The panel discussions have been a big hit in past years because they allow attendees to engage in open discussion. Since they were popular and since AMUG is for information exchange between users, it was obvious that we needed more of them. The conversations that arise from these are amazing and very beneficial to those dealing with challenges or attempting to push the technology beyond the usual.”

AMUGEXPO

CONFERENCE PICKS 1ST APRIL | 9:00-10:00 Keynote: Additive Manufacturing: Making Your Own Reality TODD GRIMM T.A. Grimm & Associates

“While our program is dominated by presentations, hands-on workshops, panel discussions and Training Labs, the two-night AMUGexpo plays a big role in what makes the AMUG Conference a success. We have 121 companies that will have AM products on display. But unlike a typical tradeshow, we ask them to dive deep into technical discussion. At the AMUGexpo you see what is new and walk away with a real understanding of what it can (and can’t) do as well as why.”

2ND APRIL | 9:00-10:00 Keynote: Winning the Manufacturing Race

NETWORKING

PROFESSOR GIDEON LEVY Technology Turn Around

“The interactions at the AMUGexpo, during meals or in the halls between sessions, are a key element of the AMUG program, but you won’t see them in the published agenda. AMUG 2019 will be an excellent place to meet industry experts that share your challenges and discuss their experiences. These are the introductions that form the relationships that extend well past the conference; professional contacts to solve your problems and answer your questions in the years to come.”

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BRAD KESELOWSKI Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing 3RD APRIL | 9:00-10:00 Innovators Showcase

4TH APRIL | 9:00-10:00 Keynote: The Art and Science behind LAIKA’s Oscar Award Winning 3D Printing Process BRIAN MCLEAN LAIKA


AMUG PREVIEW

EXHIBITOR HIGHLIGHTS

3D SYSTEMS 3D Systems is inviting delegates to join its application engineers in the Training Lab as they share their expertise on designing and printing eggshell moulds, effective in-process quality analysis for metal 3D printing and demonstrate how to optimize AM for serial production of large parts. Attendees can also hear 3D Systems' President and CEO, Vyomesh Joshi, in conversation with the company’s co-founder Chuck Hull about how AM is transforming manufacturing. In addition, the company will host a Q&A with Karl Meyer, founder of 3D Systems' Gentle Giant, as he looks back on his pioneering work to integrate 3D printing into the entertainment industry.

3YOURMIND Since December, 3YOURMIND has been running an early access program for its Agile Machine Execution System with EOS and other AM users across the US and Europe. At AMUG, the company’s Training Lab session will be led by Product Owner, Daniel Burckhardt who will present "lessons learned" about the biggest congestion points on the production floor and how they could be relieved using software and agile processes. 3YOURMIND says the session will be a chance to dig into the dirt of hurdles that need to be overcome and what processes have already moved into semi- or full-automation.

BIGREP BigRep's newest machine, the PRO, is making its North American debut at AMUG 2019 during the AMUG Training Labs. Powered by BigRep's proprietary MXT and state-of-the-art Bosch Rexroth CNC control systems and drives, the PRO promises speed, precision and quality, coupled with full connectivity to integrate AM with Industry 4.0. This one-metered-cubed industrial printer is capable of achieving printing speeds up to 600 mm/s, when used with its finest 0.6 mm nozzle, which BigRep claims to be five times faster than any other plastic extrusion printer on the market.

EOS Officially announced back in February, the Integra P 400, the new industrial polymer 3D printer from EOS North America, will make its debut at AMUG 2019. With an array of new user-friendly features that offer increased productivity, software controls, material compatibility, and simple serviceability, EOS says the Integra P 400 is its most flexible 3D printer to date. The debut follows EOS’ acquisition of Vulcan Labs, a powder bed fusion AM company spun out of Stratasys, earlier this year. Around a dozen organizations are said to have already ordered the machine.

FORMLABS This year Formlabs' sessions and Training Labs will dive deep and share insights into the evolution and current state of SLA 3D printing. Speakers will include Formlabs' CEO and co-founder Max Lobovsky, Materials Lead, Sharon Soong, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Product Development Industry Manager, Andrew Edman and Senior Pro Services Expert, Nick King. These Formlabs experts will share what it takes to meaningfully scale the use of 3D printing across organizations of any size. In addition, the tracks will provide updates on the latest Formlabs hardware, materials, and software products.

PLURAL ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING Plural Additive Manufacturing and Arkema will be speaking about PEEK-PEKK-Ultem differences in semi-crystalline and crystalline forms at AMUG. The two will discuss specific strengths and dig into the print environments while noting the trade-offs with materials and printers. The companies will consider several issues including different vendors use of different measurements, moisture susceptibility of high-performance materials, and suggest a framework for comparing high strength, high temperature materials.

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RAPID + TCT

THE KEYNOTES “LINCOLN ELECTRIC HAS A MANUFACTURING SOCIAL SYSTEM THAT IS SO DIFFERENT FROM ANY COMPANY THAT I'VE EVER VISITED THAT IT REALLY STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS WHEN I SPENT TIME WITH THEM.”

DOC: Much of your work is about how businesses deal with change, additive manufacturing (AM) has the power to be transformational particularly for supply chains, how can organizations stay agile so as not to be caught out by technological leaps?

At Detroit’s Cobo Center on May 21st, Bill Taylor, CoFounder of Fast Company and esteemed author, will open the RAPID + TCT keynote sessions with a talk on Disruptive Technology and Innovation. Ahead of his talk, Head of Content, Daniel O’Connor (DOC) discussed with Bill Taylor (BT), how manufacturing companies can gear up for change. Here is an extract from that conversation.

BT: My first piece of advice would be to recognize that part of life in any organization, whether you're a large manufacturing company or smaller, more nimble independent, is to recognize as a leader that the more things change the more our worries and resistance to change remains the same. If you're a leader looking to adopt new technologies to change your own production processes or to become an agent of change and disruption in a broader supply chain, you have to first intellectually recognize the natural instinctive resistance to change many of your employees and business partners have. Often people will talk about change but that is very different than embracing it, championing it and driving it.

The first thing - before you get down to technologies or process redesign - that is required is a flip in mindset; a transformation of how you and your colleagues look at the world. There has to be a recognition that we're finally in a situation where 'playing it safe' really has become the most dangerous course of all. Change finally begins to happen when people at all levels of an organization recognize that the perceived risk of trying something new is actually much less than the cost of desperately clinging to what has worked in the past. To me, and this may be a bracing dose of realism but for any leader who wants to embrace, champion and drive change there has to be a clear recognition that the natural course of things is to worry about change, object to change, resist change and so the work of leadership, first and foremost, is the work of getting beyond that in the minds of colleagues and partners. 

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RAPID + TCT DOC: There's a precedent in this AM industry where technological innovation happens at such a rate that for manufacturers, it is sometimes difficult for them to pick out a technology and invest for fear that there's something better around the corner. Is that something you've come across in other areas of business? BT: Yes, and to me, a way to deal with the understandable confusion that comes with the rapid advance in disruption of technology is to begin everything you do as a leader and as a company - every calculation about which bets are we going to place in terms of the technologies we're going to adopt and base it on strategic clarity. Good technologies aside, as a company do you have a definition of success in the marketplace that allows you to stand for something special and inspires others to stand with you? To, me the problem is - and I think this may be particularly true of manufacturing - people think the goal is to be the best at what lots of other companies are already doing. So, you say, how do we use technology to improve our efficiency and to improve our quality - there's nothing wrong with all that - but to me the real magic happens when you ask yourself as a company, 'how do we, as a company, do things that only we can do? What are we prepared to do as a manufacturer, as a supplier that other companies simply can't or won't do?' If you get genuine originality in how you approach the business and real clarity about what makes your company not just marginally better than the competition, but what allows our company to do things that other people can't match, that clarity allows you to figure out which among many competing technologies are the most effective to bring our strategic ideas to life. There's so much technology available but what's really in shortest supply is genuinely distinctive, compelling original ideas about what is our definition of success for the company, what is our identity in the market place that distinguishes us from everybody else? If you create a vision around that it makes some of the technology choices easier to puzzle though. DOC: Lincoln Electric is a company you have studied, and they have invested heavily in AM, can you tell me what it is about Lincoln Electric that stands them apart from the crowd? BT: What I find compelling and inspiring about Lincoln Electric, as important as their technology investments have been, is also their clear recognition that in a world which is being reshaped by technology, the real source of differentiation for them, the real driver of their incredible performance in quality and innovation is humanity.

Lincoln Electric has a manufacturing social system that is so different from any company that I've ever visited that it really stopped me in my tracks when I spent time with them in Euclid, Ohio. To me the genius of them is that it combines tremendous individual shop floor level accountability, responsibility, productivity with a collective share the wealth approach. There's a tremendous measurement culture for everybody in the organization.

KEYNOTES

Front line people, project leaders, team leaders have very tangible and specific goals; some of those goals are to do with output, some of those goals are about how they assist their colleagues and so on. At the end of every year Lincoln Electric takes a significant chunk of its profits and puts it in a huge profit-sharing pool that then gets allocated to all their employees, not in a one-size fits all way but in a way that is proportional to how they've hit their goals.

Disruptive Technology and Innovation

These are huge numbers; front line employees can get profit sharing bonuses that can put a couple of kids through college. What this creates is a sense of both individual performance and collective involvement that has fuelled a real commitment to productivity and innovation. Don't forget, this is also a company that has an explicit no lay off policy, so during the great depression and during the financial crash of 2008 they didn't lay-off a single employee, everybody worked reduced work hours or went in for training because business had fallen away. To me, it's a remarkable manufacturing social system that on the one hand brings out the most fiercely competitive and individually productive side that we all have but combines that with a sense of security and a sense of collectively benefitting from the work we all do together. I found it incredibly instructive - I think a lot of companies can learn from it - but I also found them genuinely inspiring.

MAY 21, 2019 | 8:30am - 9:55am BILL TAYLOR | Co-founder; Entrepreneur and Innovator; Author | Fast Company

MAY 22, 2019 | 8:30am - 9:55am NAOMI MURRAY | PhD | Director, Advanced Operations, Additive Technology Solutions | Stryker Additive Manufacturing: Leveraging Design Capabilities for Production of Devices that Make Healthcare Better

MAY 23, 2019 | 8:30am - 9:55am DOMINIK RIETZEL | PhD | Head of Additive Manufacturing (Non-Metals) | BMW Group Shaping New Ways for Smart Automotive Production by Using AM RAPID + TCT will take place on May 20-23, 2019 at the Cobo Center, Detroit, MI. Register to attend at rapid3devent.com

VOL 5 ISSUE 1 / www.tctmagazine.com / 037


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TCT ASIA

OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS HIGH-SPEED SINTERING HAS BEEN THE TALK OF THE TECH DU JOUR WHEN IT COMES TO POLYMER PRODUCTIVITY, BUT AT TCT ASIA, DANIEL O'CONNOR FOUND OUT HOW FARSOON HAS AN ACE UP A SELECTIVE LASER SINTERED SLEEVE.

T

he Farsoon stand at TCT Asia 2019 in Shanghai was one of the biggest on the show floor. Despite showcasing two new machines, the team directed my attention directly to a transparent tube, a tube crammed with hundreds of the same small part that towered above the exhibit. The tube is a representation of speed, the speed at which Farsoon's new Flight Technology sinters powdered material into finely detailed parts. On the said tube, markers show the print times of its other models in comparison to a technology making its world debut right here in Shanghai. The new Flight system prints over five times faster than any previous Farsoon SLS model thanks to a new scanning system and, importantly, a change from a CO₂ laser to a fiber laser. "SLS has been around for more than twenty years, but the problem has always been in the levels of productivity," Dr. Xu Xiaoshu, Chairman of Farsoon Technologies tells me. "It's not a limitation of the scanning system; your laser power is the limitation. SLS machines normally use a CO₂ laser, but there are more powerful lasers, a fiber laser for instance, but the problem with fiber lasers is nobody had figured out a way to make the materials absorb the light." Farsoon has some 100 people working in R&D, steered by Dr. Xu's three decades of experience on sintering technology, that team did find a way to make a fiber laser work, and it started with the materials. "This is a beauty of Farsoon," says Dr. Xu. "We not only have machines but materials development capabilities too, our material group found a chemical that would increase how powders absorb light from fiber lasers, and we have almost unlimited laser power now. Today we use a 500 watt but, 1,000 watts, 5,000 watts? It's not an issue anymore." According to Farsoon's specs, the increased laser power, improved energy distribution to the material, and smaller laser

spot size, equals a scanning speed of over 66 ft/s, roughly four times that of comparable technologies. Contrary to the usual metrics faster does not mean lowerquality either, printing feature details as small as 0.3mm owing to unique scanning algorithms, a powerful dynamic optical system, and the advantages of a system with fully open parameters. "Usually, if you want fine features you don't have productivity and vice-versa, but with Flight Technology we can achieve both," says Dr. Xiu. "Our customers say that with this technology they should be able to grab a significant chunk of injection molding business." Although excited, Farsoon is realistic about the work that still needs to be done on this system in order to realize its potential. One instantly recognizable difference between traditionally sintered Nylon parts and parts from the Flight system is the color, Managing Director of Farsoon's European arm, Dirk Simon explains: "Fiber lasers have a different wavelength from CO₂ lasers, so the interaction

between the laser light and the material is different. We've added the black chemical colorant to control the interaction between the laser and the powder. There might be other ways to control the absorbtion that are not black, we're working on it, and we're asking materials companies to think about developing materials that are suitable for fiber lasers." The fact that the SLS technology the Flight system is built on has well established processes is a crucial message for Farsoon. It will leverage this to fight back for the slices of the pie, High-Speed Sintering has wrestled from SLS. "With High-Speed Sintering, you not only require the powders and the light source, but you also need to work with printheads and binders," says Dr. Xu. "With Flight technology, you achieve high speeds with the laser source, and the powder alone and this technology is not going to be significantly more expensive than any other SLS machinery."

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grimm column

B CKET LIST A

dditive manufacturing (AM) presents a wide variety of technologies to help us achieve our goals. Far from being stagnant, this dynamic industry continues to offer an ever-increasing list of options. But this falls in the category of ‘too much of a good thing’. With so many options, it can be quite overwhelming, and sometimes a bit confusing, when attempting to absorb and comprehend all of the technologies available. However, having a firm grasp on the AM landscape is critical in making the best decisions, which are supported by deep investigation of the technological candidates. To maintain control, and to perhaps preserve your sanity, I suggest that you consider the bucket-list approach. In the everyday context, a bucket list is an optimistic roster of actions or dreams to fulfill before one’s time ends. For AM, I am suggesting a bucket list that is expansive while being practical and sensible. I am suggesting a method, one that I have had to use out of necessity, for organizing and managing the vast number of AM solutions. The bucket list is a categorization system that helps you to retain all the options that you are exposed to while keeping you focused on those that present the best opportunities to succeed. It has just three buckets into which AM solutions are deposited. The first bucket, ‘Investigate’, holds the options that are of high interest and are to be actively pursued through investigation. The second bucket, ‘Monitor’, contains the options that are worthy of further consideration at some time in the future. The third bucket, ‘Ignore’, is for all others. If done wisely, this approach should remove 75%, or more, of the options from your active consideration. Using my personal criteria, Ignore includes poorly differentiated me-too products and those that I don’t believe have much promise. Monitor is where I place interesting solutions that I believe need a bit more time to mature and advance. Investigate is for those solutions that are commercially viable and ready for general release to the industry. I recommend that you also use technology readiness as a factor in TODD GRIMM

is a stalwart of the additive manufacturing industry, having held positions across sales and marketing with some of the industry’s biggest names. Todd is currently the AM Industry advisor with AMUG

tgrimm@tagrimm.com

040 / www.tctmagazine.com / VOL 5 ISSUE 1

determining which bucket to place a solution. However, all of my other criteria will not work for you since they must be defined by your needs, goals and applications. Before you start your bucket list, decide what is important, what is critical and what would be nice to have. Make these decisions with consideration of your intended applications and product types coupled with the needed materials, output characteristics and performance traits. With this clarity, you can now start your bucket list by contemplating your requirements with respect to what a solution is known to offer. Then, as you are exposed to new companies, new machines, new materials, and new software, pause for a moment and reflect on whether they should be Investigated, Monitored, or Ignored. It is tempting to get caught in ‘paralysis by analysis’ as you drop items in the respective buckets, but don’t over-analyse and overthink. Instead, rely on your intuition and what you know to be true. Organization is what is important, not perfection, because your bucket list will evolve as new information comes forward. An item that currently resides in the Ignore bucket is not lost forever; it can be moved when new information presents itself. Using the bucket list, you will have command of the AM landscape while focusing attention on what matters most. It provides rationale to what can be ignored or investigated later for peace of mind, sanity and confidence. It is also a great defense of your approach when someone, often in upper management, inserts themselves into your AM efforts after reading the latest headline and asking if you have considered this new solution. Simply turn to them and state that you have taken a look at it, but it does not deserve further attention and support that statement with your one sentence rationale. There are many paths to AM success. A good bucket list separates the dead ends and arduous paths from the easiest and most direct routes.


Profile for TCT Magazine

TCT North America 5.1