Check out Blue Power and 3D Systems at FormNext 2018 in Frankfurt Germany!
Formnext, the world’s leading exhibition for additive manufacturing and intelligent industrial manufacturing methods, was once again our host and allowed us to showcase our latest developments in metal powder atomization and processing.
Formnext 2017 drew in over 20,000 attendees and 470 exhibitors.
Blue Power was among one of the wide range of international exhibitors who were excited to present their expertise in additive manufacturing. It was a great opportunity to connect with customers and learn about the latest industry trends.
Our booth featured a full size AU3000 atomization plant along with an air classifier AC1000.
Visitors were able to get a better understanding of our equipment’s features and capabilities for producing spherical metal powders. We showcased the emerging full production duties of DMLS, SLM technologies as well as powder bed fusion, binder jetting applications and MIM.
It was a pleasure to exhibit and attend Formnext 2017 and Romanoff West would like to thank everyone who visited us.
Stay tuned to learn about for our future events and show attendances.
The Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), New Jersey, USA, has released an updated version of its PM Industry Roadmap. Compiled with the aid of Powder Metallurgy industry leaders, the 2017 edition addresses the current vision for the PM industry and includes a view of future customer and market expectations, as well as a number of goals designed to meet these expectations.
The 2017 PM Industry Roadmap marks the third time it has been updated since its creation in 2001. Since the last edition, published in 2012, the MPIF states that the PM industry has made significant progress in the processing of lean ferrous alloys, aluminium, titanium, magnesium, and metal matrix composites. Component densities continue to rise with improvements in powders, lubricants, tooling, warm compaction, high-tonnage compaction presses and sintering technology.
The most visible advance since the 2012 update is said to be the rapid emergence of metal Additive Manufacturing, however the MPIF also states that Metal Injection Moulding has also grown significantly having advanced in material options, process control and standardisation. Material and process developments have enabled new PM applications, such as variable valve timing sprockets, electronic power steering pulleys, turbocharger vanes and jet engine fuel nozzles.
The 2017 PM Industry Roadmap is a free resource which can be accessed via the MPIF’s website.
The funds, distributed over four years, will be used to establish an on-campus Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, where students will have access to a state-of-the-art AM system on which to design and create aerospace components. The grant also establishes an endowed director of the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute.
“This grant is an investment in the futures of the students at MSU Denver and the aerospace community,” stated Brian O’Connor, Vice President of Production Operations at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “Emerging manufacturing technologies will create possibilities we can only dream of today, like printing an entire satellite from the ground up or printing complex parts that we can’t machine using traditional methods. We’re helping students design with those new concepts in mind so the next space missions are innovative, affordable and faster to market. This lab will help students unleash their creativity in engineering tomorrow’s great advancements.”
Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D., MSU Denver President, commented, “With support from key partners like Lockheed Martin, MSU Denver can offer students education opportunities that directly address workforce needs in Colorado’s key industry clusters. Students now have the rare opportunity to work with technology and equipment used by some of the top advanced manufacturing companies in the world.”
Lockheed Martin and MSU Denver have a long-standing partnership focused on developing manufacturing talent and technologies. The company helped guide the curriculum that grew to be the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Bachelor’s Degree and will continue to provide an open pipeline of talent for co-ops, interns and graduates. Many of MSU’s former students have gone on to work with Lockheed Martin full-time.
Ohio-based 3D printing company Tangible Solutions have announced plans to incorporate 3D metal printing to their services. The addition of five Mlab cusing machines and one M2 cusing machine will make them one of the largest users of Concept Laser’s machines in the country. Tangible Solution’s new 25,000 sq ft facility located outside of Dayton will house the metal-powder bed machines.
Founded in 2013, Tangible Solutions provide a variety of 3D printed services including 3D printing, 3D scanning, and engineering design services. In addition to this, they are focused on: facilitating commercial businesses grow through 3D printing, supporting the use of 3D printing in military and medical applications, and in developing 3D education. Tangible Solutions also offer certification courses with the aim of ‘providing the most educated and skilled workforce in 3D Printing.’ Naturally the addition of these industrial grade machines will expand their capabilities into the metal printing field.
Equipped with titanium printing functionality, the new Mlab cusing machine will be particularly beneficial for medical and aerospace clients. While the M2 cusing machine will print in a variety of different metals since Concept Laser does not restrict the machines to print solely with their powders. Moving into this new facility in Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton Ohio, the company will also be adding new employees to grow their workforce to over 60 staff.
Founders of Tangible Solutions, Adam Clark and Chris Collins stated that:
“We share Concept Laser’s vision for building a “smart factory” that supports the principles of Industry 4.0: automation, digitization and interoperability of various technologies within a factory. We believe their technology roadmap will only make 3D metal printing more cost effective and flexible.”
While John Murray, President and CEO of Concept Laser Inc had this to say:
The team at Tangible Solutions are entrepreneurial and forward-looking; In only three years, they have made a positive impact in manufacturing in Ohio. We are committed to their success.
This acquisition shows growth for the industry and in particular, a rising demand for metal printed parts for use in the medical and aerospace industry. Tangible Solutions have grown three ways: with the new facility, additional workforce, and acquisition of 6 new machines. In order to support this growth the company have required funding through loans from the Fairborn city council. This loan is to be paid back within five years, suggesting the company expects good growth in the next few years.
GE acquiring Concept Laser
Interestingly the news comes after last months announcement that General Electric have agreed to acquire Concept Laser, continuing the multi-nationals strategy for the industrialization of the 3D printing industry. The American company has taken a 75% stake in Concept Laser, with a view to obtain the whole company in a few years. Concept Laser replaced their fellow German company in GE’s strategy after a deal for SLM Solutions was scuppered by a U.S. hedge fund. Elsewhere further evidence of the industrialization of 3D printing is visible with the news that Methods 3D are launching seven new additive manufacturing labs offering 3D printing services in the U.S.
Is France the next up-and-coming industrial 3D printing hub? It certainly seems that way, as various high profile 3D printing initiatives have recently kicked off in France. Just a few months ago, for example, French startup XtreeE and various high profile construction companies launched a serious construction 3D printing initiative, benefiting from the innovation-friendly climate in France. But the French aerospace sector is not far behind. Safran, one of the biggest manufacturers in that field, has just signed a collaborative partnership deal with Australia’s Amaero Engineering and Monash University to start 3D printing space-bound aerospace components – including gas turbines for jet engines.
Safran itself is a major manufacturer especially focused on aerospace, defense and security. With more than 70,000 employees and a 2015 sales revenue that clocked in at 17.4 billion euros, they are one of the biggest players in Europe’s aerospace manufacturing sector. Their Power Unit department is especially known for their innovative turbojet engines for civil and military aircraft, missiles and target drones, and they will play a key role in this new 3D printing initiative.
Amaero itself is a spin-off company that grew out of Monash research that will now be setting up a Toulouse facility to support Safran. “Our new facility will be embedded within the Safran Power Units factory in Toulouse and will make components for Safran’s auxiliary power units and turbojet engines,” CEO Barrie Finnin revealed. Aside from Monash University, this collaboration is also supported by the Australian Government through the Entrepreneur’s Programme, while CSIRO, SIEF and Deakin University are also involved.
Specifically, Amaero will provide access to Safran Power Units with two industrial SLM 3D printers and bring their know-how and intellectual property to their Toulouse factory. Through the work of Monash and Amaero scientists, these 3D printers have also been specifically customized to meet the strict requirements of Safran Power Units’ engine manufacturing systems. What’s more, Amaero will be actively involved in the manufacturing process. As part of the deal, Safran will design the parts, and Amaero will 3D print them and remain in charge of post-processing and assembly. Safran will subsequently test and validate the 3D printed components, with an eye on serial production starting in 2017.
This deal can be traced back to 2015, when Monash University, Amaero and Safran Power Units presented what they called the ‘world’s first printed jet engine mock up’ at the Melbourne International Airshow. Essentially, they took a Safran Power Units gas turbine from a Falcon 20 executive jet and 3D printed two copies after 3D scanning them – a project that demonstrated their collaborative ability to 3D print major and critical jet engine components. Combustion chambers, air inlet casings and nozzles were also on their hitlist. Along with Safran’s certification process, it enabled quick serial production.
That initial success paved the way for this new stage in their partnership, which Monash University’s Vice-Provost Professor Ian Smith called an excellent example of how research can have commercial impact on a global scale. “I am delighted that Monash is contributing to global innovation and attracting business investment with our world-class research. The Amaero-Safran collaboration is a fabulous example of how universities and industry can link together to translate research into real commercial outcomes,” Professor Smith said. “The new venture is part of Monash University’s large-scale investment in innovation on our Clayton campus, which brings together a dynamic cluster of research, research infrastructure and industry partners. Collectively we and our industry collaborators are driving technological change and advancing manufacturing – delivering real social and economic impact.”
Professor Xinhua Wu, of Monash’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing echoed those statements, adding that they are very closely collaborating with Safran. “I’m delighted to see our technology leap from the laboratory to a factory at the heart of Europe’s aerospace industry in Toulouse,” he said.
But even before that initial success, Monash had been working with Safran on bringing 3D printing to the production stage. As François Tarel, CEO of Safran Power Units, declared, the technology has been way up on their list of targets over the past five years. “The stakes are high: weight reduction, huge production cycles shortening and designs innovation. Safran Group advances and our partner leading-edge expertise allow us to stay ahead and to supply the most sophisticated components. This is not just a matter of 3D printing, the 3P rule applies: setting the right parameter for the right part and the right expected performance” Tarel. The first results of this collaboration could go into production as early as the first quarter of 2017.
But Amaero and Monash are not completely focused on Toulouse, as they are also bringing their aerospace 3D printing innovations to various Australian industries. Among others, they are working on a range of biomedical devices, customized surgical tools and scaffolds that can replace large tumors that are surgically removed. Mining and food processing applications are also on the agenda. We’re getting closer and closer to large scale metal manufacturing through 3D printing.
According to an interview published yesterday by Machine Design, 3D printing’s presence in the automotive industry is set to evolve rapidly. Additive manufacturing already holds a firm place in the sector but it is forecast to grow even further. The interview was with Scott Dunham, who is Vice President of Research at SmarTech Publishing and he explained how the automotive industry is poised to fully embrace the benefits of 3D printing.
Dunham has produced a number of industry analysis reports and thus is well positioned to assess the current position of 3D printing in the automotive industry and it’s expected trajectory.
According to Dunham, the key factor in driving 3D printing technology into the automotive industry is rapid prototyping. This is the area in which 3D printing is most prevalent and it involves primarily design. The benefits of 3D printing for the automotive industry are that it is fast and efficient when compared to traditional prototyping methods.
Users can design and create a model almost immediately, or least rapidly, meaning a model can be remodeled and reprinted several times accordingly. This allows for speedy product iteration and refinement. The use of rapid prototyping can help cut lead-times considerably and it is through this that 3D printing is expected to grow in the automotive industry.
Dunham expects to see a strong correlation between advancements in the technology behind 3D printing and it’s level of use in the industry.
Other kinds of 3D printing in the Automotive industry
Another aspect of 3D printing that has found ground in the industry is additive tooling. This is something that General Electric are exploring with their LEAP engine, an engine made with 3D printing and also repairable with 3D printed tools. The production of hard tools through metal powder-bed fusion and other metal 3D printing methods is an another application which in automotive industry is growing rapidly.
Linked to developments in the automotive industry, 3DPI also recently looked at how Local Motors have combined 3D printing and drones, in a new vision of the future of transportation.
Penn State’s College of Engineering published their findings in an issue of Nature Scientific Report in September.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State College of Engineering claim to have developed a way to speed up the process of 2D printing and 3D printing by up to 1,000 times.
Their apparent breakthrough is thanks to a major technological advance in the field of high-speed beam-scanning devices. Using a space-charge-controlled KTN beam deflector – a crystal consisting of potassium tantalite and potassium niobate – with a large electro-optic effect, researchers have found it is possible to conduct scans much more quickly.
“When the crystal materials are applied to an electric filed, they generate uniform reflecting distributions, that can deflect an incoming light beam,” said Shizhuo Yin, professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “We conducted a systematic study on indications of speed and found out the phase transition of the electric field is one of the limiting factors.”
To overcome this issue, the electric field-induced phase transition in a nanodisordered KTN crystal was eliminated, making it work at a higher temperature. Yin worked with his team of researchers, Penn State graduates Wenbin Zhu, Ju-Hung Chao, Chang-Jiang Chen and Robert Hoffman from the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland. They not only surpassed the Curie temperature (a point where certain materials lose their magnetic properties, replaced by induced magnetism), they also went beyond the critical end point (in which a liquid and its vapour can coexist).
This increased the scanning speed from the microsecond range to the nanosecond range. It also improved high-speed imaging, broadband optical communications, and ultrafast laser display and printing.
The findings were published in an issue of Nature Scientific Report in September.
Yin believes the advancement in technology like this, high speed imaging would now be in real-time, would be especially helpful in the medical industry. It would allow, for example, optometrists, who use a non-invasive imaging test that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of a person’s retina, would be able to have the 3D image of their patient’s retinas as the surgery is being performed. This means they would be able to see what needs to be corrected or changed during the procedure.
The research team are also confident their findings will be able to benefit the wider world too. A 3D printing that once took an hour, would now only take seconds, and 20,000 pages printed in 2D would take around one minute.
Things can move very quickly in the multi-million dollar world. Just earlier this week, one of the biggest deals in 3D printing failed after U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE) refused to upgrade its $745 million offer for German metal 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions. And now, just days later, GE confirmed its intention to become a major player in the metal 3D printing sector by purchasing another German 3D printer specialist, Concept Laser, for $599 million (549 million euros).
It’s just the latest chapter in a crazy week for GE. Back in September, GE sent ripples through the 3D printing market by making unexpected offer of a combined $1.4 billion to take over two of the driving forces behind metal 3D printing, Arcam AB and SLM Solutions. While receiving a lot of positive signals from within the 3D printing community, both deals ran into shareholder problems.
While the executive boards of both companies were onboard with the takeover, in both cases GE’s excellent offer (featuring a significant premium) failed to convince 75 percent of the shareholders, the minimum acceptance threshold for a take-over. While the Arcam offer has since been extended, the SLM Solutions deal was marred by opposition from the Elliot Management hedge fund of billionaire investor Paul Singer (who owns 20 percent of SLM shares). While GE could’ve raised their offer or extended the tendering period, GE Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein said earlier this week that they were not planning to do so, saying that “we have other options.”
While Singer has a reputation for trying to squeeze extra money out of takeover deals through last minute opposition, he will have doubtlessly been disappointed to find that GE stuck to its original $745 million offer. As a result, SLM shares went down 5.7 percent in after-market trading in Frankfurt. But as it turns out, GE really did have another option on the table. Fast forward a few days, and GE just revealed that they have agreed buy privately held German 3D printing firm Concept Laser for $599 million. As part of the deal, GE will be initially buying 75 percent of the Lichtenfels-based Concept Laser.
Concept Laser itself is an equally appealing metal 3D printing company, with a special focus on the aerospace, medical and dental industries. Currently employing more than 200 staff members, the company has been particularly praised for its patented LaserCUSING layer construction technology and its top-of-the-line industrial grade machines. What’s more, they have not at all suffered from a supposedly stagnating 3D printing market, as 2015 was the best year in their history in terms of sales, with 2016 likely to break that record. Back in August, they revealed an 88 percent increase in sales over early 2016, when compared to the same period in 2015.
But the company was also looking to sell, and now found the deal they were looking for. GE, which has previously spent about $1.5 billion on metal 3D printing research, is already planning to invest ‘significantly’ in Concept Laser and would turn its Lichtenfels HQ in a new German GE center. Co-founder Frank Herzog will stay on as chief executive. “We are delighted to achieve the strategic cornerstone in our additive strategy by announcing today our acquisition of Concept Laser,” GE Aviation chief David Joyce said.
At the same time, the deal for ARCAM has also received a boost. While that deal suffered from similar sharehol
We had a great turn out from the minute doors opened at the Rapid Show. We would like to thank everyone that came by and supported us! For those that could not make it, this is what you missed out on…
The focus of our presentation was our AU-series atomizers, which are developed for the economic production of small batches of metal powder.