Mar 4, 2017 | By Julia

This past week was an exciting one for the 3D printing industry. In case you missed it, here are six news stories that have been generating buzz in the world of additive manufacturing.

1. Aetrex footwear acquires SOLS 3D printed orthotics company

The 3D printed orthotics business is continuing to boom, as evidenced by footwear specialist Aetrex’s recent acquisition of SOLS Systems Inc, a New York-based startup. SOLS was founded in 2013, and has since proven to be a pioneer in medical and consumer grade 3D printed orthotics and software geared towards mass footwear customization. The newly acquired SOLS has also garnered attention for being the first company to generate 3D imaging models of patient anatomy using smartphones.

Aetrex sealed the deal on February 22. The SOLS team will begin integrating its product line immediately, and is expected to work with Aetrex’s engineers on the newly launched Albert 3D foot scanner.

2. 3D printed metal specialist Sintavia awarded $15M finance deal from Neff Capital Management

Metal additive manufacturing heavyweight Sintavia has announced that it has closed a $15 million round of equity financing from primary investors Neff Capital Management LLC. The new funding package comes in addition to Neff Capital’s original $10 million investment, secured back in July 2015.

No details yet on how Sintavia intends to roll out the new investment, but in an official statement the metal additive manufacturer announced that the Neff Capital equity will go towards additional production capacity and facility expansion over the next two years. Up until now, the 3D printed metal producer has been best established in the aerospace, defence, oil, natural gas, industrial turbine, and automotive industries. And with this next round of investing secured, it’s safe to assume Sintavia will continue to dominate in those fields.

3. 3D printed metals and electronics company Optomec to release hybrid 3D printer with Taiwanese machine tool supplier Tongtai

Albuquerque-based 3D printed metal and 3D printed electronics company Optomec has partnered with leading Taiwanese machine tool supplier Tongtai Machine & Tool Company. The new partnership will see Tongtai integrate Optomec’s acclaimed LENS Print Engine into the AMH-350, a 3D printing-hybrid vertical milling machine, thereby adding 3D printing metal capabilities.

The new hybrid additive manufacturing machine is expected to accelerate Asia’s industrial adoption of 3D printed metal, and will first be demonstrated to the public at the TIMTOMS show in Taiwan, March 7-12.

4. First ever standardization roadmap for 3D printing published by America Makes and the American National Standards Institute

This week the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and America Makes, best known for funding 3D printing innovators in the US, co-published the first ever road map for standardizing the 3D printing industry.

The new Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing (Version 1.0) marks a year’s worth of work by the two organizations and provides a snapshot of where the 3D printing industry is currently lacking in standardization. The report identifies 89 “gaps,” 19 of which are high priority, where no published standard or specification currently exists. The document also lists which standards are relevant for the issues discussed, including standards for design, process and materials, qualification and certification, nondestructive evaluation, and maintenance. Over 260 individuals from over 150 public- and private-sector groups actively supported the Standardization Roadmap’s development.

5. U.S. Naval Research Lab incorporates 3D metal printing by Concept Laser

The US Navy’s full-spectrum corporate lab, the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has announced plans for acquiring 3D metal printing technology from Concept Laser. The new expansion will see the NRL purchase its first ever laser powder-bed metals machine: the M2 cusing machine for printing in stainless steel.

Alongside Concept Laser’s M2, the NRL will also be using the QM Meltpool 3D to monitor quality, as well as the CL WRX Parameter 2.0 to design and develop custom parameters. The Concept Laser technology will go towards the NRL’s rapid prototyping and materials research, and will be integrated into the Lab’s ongoing program of maritime applications.

6. University of Surrey researchers discover how to mimic natural light reflection using 3D printed ceramics

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK have reached a breakthrough in their study of the photonic band gap in structured photonic materials. In attempting to explain the physics behind this natural phenomenon, the researchers effectively devised a new method of replicating light reflection using the 3D printing of ceramics.

Via a 3D ceramic printer, the research team was able to successfully test their findings by developing the first ever amorphous gyroid structure with band gaps, a structuring similar to that found in some butterfly wings.

“The discovery will impact how we design materials in the future to manipulate their interaction with light, heat, and sound,” says the university's Dr. Marian Florescu. Possible applications could include heat-rejecting window films and paints that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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