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3D manufacturing accelerates towards the modern office

Coverage of RAPID + TCT, North America’s preeminent event for discovery, innovation and networking in 3D manufacturing.

3D printing technology is expanding at a rapid rate, and it could enter your company sooner than you expect.

RAPID + TCT 2017I recently attended RAPID + TCT in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – an additive manufacturing event that showcases product innovations and offers collaborative learning opportunities to ultimately accelerate the adoption and advancement of the technology. The event hosted the most influential community in additive manufacturing, offering the chance to explore the future of the industry through interactive experiences, 290+ hands-on exhibitskeynotes and conference presentations from over 200 industry leaders.

The level of cutting-edge 3D innovation at RAPID + TCT is unparalleled, as well as the breadth and depth of additive expertise across all industries. This is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the newest products, technologies and materials in 3D printing, additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection technologies.

New strategic partnership made by metal

metal 3D printing

Stratasys, a leading 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company, along with Desktop Metal, a pioneer in metal 3D printing, announced an extension of their strategic partnership – designed to accelerate accessibility and adoption of metal additive manufacturing. The result? Customers will be able to work with leading Stratasys resellers who will begin representing Desktop Metal products and solutions.

Built on a rich history of collaboration, the new agreement includes distribution and go-to-market activities to jointly leverage nearly 30 years of Stratasys leadership in polymer 3D printing alongside Desktop Metal’s innovative metal 3D printing technologies. This brings a broadened accessibility and adoption of metal 3D printing for engineering teams across all industries.

     Related: Stratasys & Siemens sell 3D printing to aerospace & automotive     

metal 3D printingThe partnership came as a result of these companies matching their key strengths with their needs. Stratasys has a well-established distribution process and network of resellers, but realized they have missed the opportunity to be an early innovator in the metal 3D printing business. Starting development from scratch would be very resource and capital onerous. Desktop Metal, on the other hand, is an early innovator in metal additive manufacturing, having already performed due diligence in the market to gather invaluable expertise, but lacking the distribution network.

Together, the partnership allows both companies to deliver products more effectively to the market, adds critical capabilities for extending their reach and broadens their access to metal 3D printing systems. Most importantly, it enables customers to gain access to advanced metal 3D printing systems while retaining a high quality of service and support.

Read more here at Fabbaloo.

Office-friendly metal 3D printer

Desktop Metal Studio System

With more news from Desktop Metal, their Studio System is the first office-friendly metal 3D printing solution and is expected to start shipping to businesses as early as September 2017.

According to Desktop Metal, this is currently the only cost-effective metal 3D printing system for engineering teams, and the applications are exciting. For the first time, it’s possible to produce highly complex and very cost effective metal parts and assemblies with metal 3D printing without leaving the office.

That all sounds promising, however, due to the precision required and high value of 3D metal parts, time will tell if this will be an effective solution for lower cost business models.

Cutting edge Winnipeg additive manufacturing company

Precision ADM

Derek VanDenDriessche and Ian Klassen from Winnipeg’s own Precision ADM (Advanced Digital Manufacturing) were also at RAPID + TCT, showing that Manitoba’s innovation in manufacturing is well underway and leading the field.

Precision ADM’s 20,000 square foot Winnipeg headquarters offers high precision, high-value parts for clients using additive or CNC manufacturing methods. “Advanced Digital Manufacturing” is a set of processes that go beyond the current manufacturing benchmarks, allowing Precision ADM to assist clients with complex production runs. Digital data is used to drive their design, simulation, analysis, manufacturing and post processing, and the team works with optimized geometry to improve function, quality and economics.

As an example, the highly regulated and innovative aerospace industry can take advantage of these new manufacturing methods. Precision ADM states that, “In the aerospace industry there are many complex parts used in the engines and bodies of the aircraft. The fuel nozzle is highly complex and is made as one piece, eliminating the assembly time while manufacturing cutting costs, reducing material costs and making them more durable than traditional nozzles.”

Klassen explained how the company’s Topology Optimized Space bracket, Tito (Titanium Topology Optimized), was designed by Precision ADM engineers to be used within the aerospace industry, and was manufactured using their EOS M290 system.

Sophisticated cloud-based software and automation

Stratasys also announced a powerful array-style 3D printing system. But this concept is far more than just a pile of printers, as they offer significant automation in the printing process.

By allowing users to combine printers into rows and stacks, a customized manufacturing system can be created to suit each company’s needs. The new system reduces the manual work involved to load and unload prints, helping optimize the system within a small or large facility.

Stratasys 3D printer

(Photo: Business Wire)

Imagine combining 15 printers into a pack of continuously running machines, with prints dropping every 20 minutes into bins. The parts are all printed on an easily removable film with a part number for easy tracking and categorizing of prints, and at the end of each day, the operator collects and sorts all of the prints.

This system appears to be a perfect application for libraries or the educational industry, and gives smaller companies enhanced accessibility to just-in-time manufacturing. As an added bonus, the prints are also incredibly reliable in terms of the insignificant number of failures. Check it out in action in the below video:

Read more here at Fabbaloo.

If you would like to explore the unlimited possibilities of how 3D technology can advance your business, consider attending RAPID + TCT in 2018.

Up Next: See how 3D printing can take on the construction of entire buildings.

Robot tech: This robotic arm can 3D print a building

Marney Stapley

Marney is the Vice President, North Forge Technology Exchange. The North Forge Technology Exchange provides access to advanced digital fabrication and prototyping equipment with support from entrepreneurial and innovation communities. In her spare time, she helps to shape one of the world's most respected blogs dedicated entirely to Additive Manufacturing / 3D printing. She is also a volunteer for TEDx Winnipeg as a team member who selects and works with engaging speakers.

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