Ultimaker’s New Strategy is Paying Off Far Faster…

Ultimaker’s New Strategy is Paying Off Far Faster…

Feb 26, 2018

“Ultimaker’s New Strategy is Paying Off Far Faster Than Expected” By Fabbaloo Call me surprised, but Ultimaker is moving ahead rapidly. The company embarked on a tricky strategic change a couple of years ago and now it seems to be paying off with a blockbuster announcement from Bosch. The giant manufacturer has agreed to equip their worldwide offices with Ultimaker 3D printers. This could amount of thousands of machines, creating massive market momentum for Ultimaker. The specifics of the deal are explained by Ultimaker: Robert Bosch GmbH, the leading global supplier of technology and services from Germany, will invest on a global scale in Ultimaker 3 Extended printers. After comparing several desktop 3D printers, the Additive Manufacturing department of Bosch selected Ultimaker as the most reliable, easy-to-use and professional machine. The printers will now be used in different locations across Germany, Hungary, China, India, the United States and Mexico for printing prototypes, tooling, jigs and fixtures—meant to boost innovation while cutting manufacturing and design costs. I am very surprised about this because it seems to be a kind of short-circuit for their intended strategy. If you recall, they announced the Ultimaker 3 some months ago, a desktop machine with a stealth feature. Well, the feature was that the machines could, on their own, network to each other to coordinate activities. One machine acts as the “master” and the others become “slaves”. The impromptu network is then operated as a single utility through their Cura Connect software. While this is obviously a useful feature, it had a subtly different, far deeper purpose: taking over 3D printing in larger corporations. If you haven’t worked in a large company, let me explain a phenomenon that is universal: No one wants to deal with the IT department. This is because the IT department is almost always viewed as a “cost center”, whose activities must be kept to a minimum. In reality, IT is very often the heart of a business, even if executives don’t actually understand that. Nevertheless, IT departments institute control regimes that drive down costs, but often dramatically reduce end-user flexibility, performance, quality of work and much more. It’s a very common organizational flaw. In companies...

Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series…

Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series…

Feb 20, 2018

“Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series Production Commercial Aircraft” Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine NEW YORK—Several months ago, Airbus and Arconic achieved a 3D printing first—the installation of a 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB. Arconic, a global technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing company, announced in September that it is 3D printing these parts for Airbus’s newest widebody aircraft at Arconic’s additive manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.  “Arconic is proud to partner with Airbus to advance aerospace additive manufacturing,” said Jeremy Halford, president of Arconic Titanium and Engineered Products, in a company release. “Our comprehensive capabilities, from materials science leadership to qualification expertise, helped make this achievement possible. We look forward to continuing to advance the art of the possible in additive for aerospace.” This first installation of a 3D printed titanium part on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for additive manufacturing in aerospace. Although airplane makers have been using 3D printed parts for quite some time, largely for components inside the cabin, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via additive manufacturing is new. Airbus’s installation of this 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial airplane, as opposed to a test airplane, is said to mark a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex 3D printed parts for production aircraft. 3D-printed parts, including metal printed cabin brackets and bleed pipes, are already flying on Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft. The 3D printed titanium bracket is part of an ongoing partnership between Airbus and Arconic. In 2016, Arconic (www.arconic.com) announced three agreements with Airbus to produce titanium and nickel 3D printed parts for commercial aircraft, including the A320 platform and A350 XWB. Arconic’s 3D printing technology capabilities include laser powder bed and electron beam...

ITAMCO Ramps up Additive Manufacturing with New…

ITAMCO Ramps up Additive Manufacturing with New…

Dec 20, 2017

“ITAMCO Ramps up Additive Manufacturing with New EOS Printer” Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine PLYMOUTH, Ind.—ITAMCO (Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies) is delivering components—made with its new EOS M 290 additive manufacturing printer—to the medical device industry, the company announced recently. The EOS printer was delivered in June 2017, and ITAMCO was shipping components to a medical device supplier in August. The fast ramp-up is partially due to the experience the ITAMCO team gained while contributing to the development of additive manufacturing software. The company was part of a consortium of manufacturers and universities that collaborated to develop the program through the multi-million dollar manufacturing initiative, America Makes, one of the 14 Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes. The software, Atlas 3D, is now marketed through a division of ITAMCO. “The EOS printer is the right tool for our complex components made with DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering), and the EOS team trained our staff and got us up and running quickly,” said Joel Neidig, director of research and development for ITAMCO, in a statement. “The printer works seamlessly with Atlas 3D, too.” ITAMCO (http://itamco.com) reported that its technology team quickly built a good working relationship with the EOS sales and support team. Jon Walker, area sales manager with EOS North America, called ITAMCO an ideal partner for EOS. “ITAMCO is an ideal partner for EOS because three generations of ITAMCO leaders have supplied traditional subtractive manufactured parts to some of the best known organizations in the world,” he explained. “Due to their reputation, ITAMCO’s investment in additive manufacturing validates the 3D printing market, especially in highly regulated industries where testing and validation of components or devices is critical. We’re thrilled that they have invested in an EOS M 290 3D printing platform, smartly positioning themselves to become an additive manufacturing leader in robust medical and industrial markets for the next three generations and beyond.” The medical device industry is a relatively new market for the company that has serviced heavy-duty industries for decades. “Additive manufacturing is allowing us to do things we’ve not done before, like producing the smaller, more intricate components for the medical device industry,” said Neidig. ITAMCO sees its entry into the medical...

3D Print, Peel, & Place

3D Print, Peel, & Place

Nov 13, 2017

By Jeff Reinke, ThomasNet A team at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT was recently able to create a 3D-printed part that can fold up on itself – allowing for a greater number of applications in delicate electronic environments. A key component in the development of this technology was the accidental discovery of new material for printing. Printable electronics are nothing new, but to expand the use of these components, researchers have been trying to find materials that are less susceptible to heat and water. They were also looking to find ways in which they can create precise angles when folding these printed pieces to ensure optimum compatibility. The new material was inadvertently discovered while CSAIL researchers were trying to develop ink that yielded greater material flexibility. What they ended up finding was a material that let them build joints that would expand enough to fold a printed device in half when exposed to ultraviolet light. The new printing material or ink expands after it solidifies, whereas most comparable materials contract. This unusual property allows for the part to form joints or creases for changing its shape after it has been created. This material discovery offers opportunities in both the near and longer term.  First, this ability to construct 3D-printable electronics with foldable shapes could expand the production of customized sensors, displays, and transmission devices. Over the longer term, more complex electronics could become a reality, including electromechanical and power-assisted components, as well as end-products for industrial...

3D-Printing Marine-Grade Steel

3D-Printing Marine-Grade Steel

Nov 2, 2017

By Jeff Reinke, ThomasNet Marine-grade stainless steel, or 316 as it’s called in the industry, is highly sought after for applications that range from underwater storage tanks to kitchen utensils and appliances. This need stems from its unique ability to resist pitting and corrosion after being exposed to salt and water. However, these properties are usually obtained by adding molybdenum, which can have an adverse effect on the ability to stretch and form a metal. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory may have come across a way to preserve the non-corrosive capabilities of 316 while simultaneously improving its ductility. The team announced a technique for 3D-printing a low-carbon type of marine grade stainless steel that they’re calling 316L. As profiled in Nature Materials, the additive production process has been found to enhance both strength and ductility properties. This breakthrough translates to expanded capabilities in industries such as aerospace that operate in harsh environments where materials need to be durable, flexible, and non-corrosive. The ability to 3D print these types of materials stems from analyzing their structure and understanding the small, splinter-like defects that seem to form when the metals are produced in traditional ways. Bringing an additive process addressed these gaps while preserving the essential benefits. Perhaps more exciting is that researchers believe this breakthrough could lead to improved production approaches for numerous other materials by using 3D printing. The results could enhance quality exponentially across a range of products and...