Apr 8, 2017 | By David

Another round-up of recent news items that you might not have been aware of, to keep you up-to-date in what has been a very busy and exciting time for 3D printing technology. Verbatim has released a new PP filament, Robo3D has partnered with a number of Candian retailers, online 3D service buildpl8 has helped to provide employment for people with autism, amongst other interesting developments throughout the industry.

1. Online 3D printing factory buildpl8 employs people with autism spectrum disorders

Founded by Gerry Libertelli, buildpl8 is an online 3D printing solution for companies and individuals. Its central software system creates its own optimized schedule, and runs jobs for its customers remotely, and its output is at the level of a conventional industrial factory. Recently, in a test of different printer types, Libertelli produced a Calm Ring device, which is designed to help concentration for people with autism, as well as to break bad habits like smoking or nail biting. This eventually led to him contacting Jessica Zufall, the CEO of Special Citizens, a NYC-based nonprofit organization that helps out people with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders.

As a result of the collaboration, Libertelli has put many people supported by Special Citizens in charge of the Calm Ring Shopify store, fulfilling all orders from customers. According to Zufall, “The fact that this pilot has resulted in employment opportunities for people we support is extraordinary and we are so excited to expand the skill sets for each person so they may continue to move on to more competitive employment.”

2. Verbatim releases new Polypropylene 3D printing filament

The latest 3D printing filament from Mitsubishi-owned tech company Verbatim has been unveiled. It’s a Polypropylene material, with high levels of chemical, heat and fatigue resistance, as well as good hinge properties. The new filament will give users opportunities to create durable, flexible, transparent, heat- and chemical-resistant containers for food packaging, medical equipment, IT kit and other appliances. It requires a heated print bed of around 100°C and is ideal for objects that require softness, transparency and heat resistance. Verbatim PP filament is now available in a shiny transparent colour at 1.75mm and 2.85mm thickness, complementing the company’s existing portfolio of top grade ABS, PLA, PET and ultra flexible PRIMALLOY (TPE) filaments, which are compatible with most FDM 3D printers.

According to Shigeyuki Furomoto of the 3D Printer Materials Business Department, Mitsubishi Chemical Media, ‘‘Compared to other 3D filaments such as ABS and PLA, PP offers high levels of heat, chemical, and fatigue resistance. Due to its resistance to acids, alkalis and organic solvents, PP will open up new opportunities for 3D printed solutions that other materials have not been able to satisfy until now.’’

3. Igus’ iglidur I150 Tribo-Filament approved for food technology

Igus’ iglidur I150 Tribo-Filament has recently received certification from the EU for use in food technology. Passing these hygiene and safety tests means that the material will be able to be used for all kinds of applications in the food industry. The range of tribo-filaments from Igus are specially designed to be processed on any 3D printer where the nozzle temperature can be set to 250°C, and they allow for fast, cost-effective prototyping as well as final products. Unique benefits of the material are that it is lubrication-free and maintenance-free, and can be used even on 3D printers that do not have a heated printing plate. According to Tom Krause, product manager for Tribo-Filaments at Igus, I150 is very versatile material- “It is very tough and the easiest Tribo-Filament to work with. The material has an impressively high wear resistance at surface speeds of up to 0.2 m/s.”

4. Robo 3D teams up with Canadian retailers to increase distribution of its 3D printers

An agreement has been reached between Robo 3D and several retail outlets in Canada, including  Best Buy, Staples and Amazon Canada. This will enable its Robo C2 and Robo R2 3D printers to be distributed nationally on a much larger scale. As well as the strong online presence provided by Amazon in particular, these new sales partners represent around 1,000 locations collectively. Robo 3D will be offering many other products in addition to its 3D printer range- 3D printer filament, educational software about 3D technology, as well as a range of DIY 3D printing project guides, including a ‘build-your-own-drone’ kit.

Last month, Robo 3D also signed up with WYNIT Distribution, to distribute 3D printers and software in the U.S, where it will be focusing specifically on the education sector. The company’s revenue for the 12 months ending December 2016 was US$3.7 million, up from US$3.2 million in 2015. This is in line with the doubling in size of the 3D printer market in 2016, which is expected to see sales of over 6 million units by 2020.

5. 3D printing company Roboze partners with Polymertal

An alliance has been established between the Italian 3D printing innovators Roboze and Polymertal, a company that specializes in producing hybrid products based on 3D printed metal parts. The hybrids produced by the Israeli company tend to be a combination of plastic and metal, and they accordingly boast a number of unique features that give them an advantage over conventional metal products, particularly in terms of weight and material cost. Among Polymertal’s existing customers are top clients from industries such as Defense, Aviation, and Aerospace.

Roboze will be looking to Polymertal to purchase its flagship product – the Roboze One+400 industrial 3D printer – in order enhance a unique plating process. This process will be applied to Roboze’s metal replacement techno-polymers, focusing on PEEK, PEI & CARBON-PA. The development will enable Roboze to take advantage of an industry-wide shift in 3D printing, from prototyping to final manufacturing.

6. AtlanticProCare announces innovative 3D printing program for custom prostheses

AtlanticProCare, New England's leading provider of customized mobility solutions for amputees, has announced that it has partnered with several fabricators to test 3D printed prostheses.

Founded in 1993, Portland, Maine-based AtlanticProCare specializes in highly personalized prosthetic rehabilitation. AtlanticProCare is currently working with three 3D printing companies -- Extremiti 3D, Create O&P and Standard Cyborg -- each of whom have unique offerings based on proprietary software, hardware and materials. AtlanticProCare provides custom created CAD designs for the 3D printers and then tests the outputs.

"This program is right on the leading of edge of prosthetics," said JP Donovan, CEO and Owner of AtlanticProCare. "It's where the industry is heading, and we're thrilled to be helping lead the way. We believe that 3D printing will soon be a new standard for delivering custom designed prosthetics."

The 3D printing process removes several steps from the current manufacturing process for custom prostheses by eliminating the need for plaster and positive models. Its limitations include the cost of equipment and fewer materials options. At this point, that means firms like AtlanticProCare will have to use the technology as an outsourcing option. "We're currently able to provide a custom fitted prosthesis in one visit with our RAM process and on-site lab," said Donovan, "which we can't yet do with 3D. But at some point, this technology will become the standard for everyone, and then we'll be able to provide custom designs even faster."

7. CSIC and Queensland University of Technology to receive Aether 1 bioprinter beta units

San Francisco start-up Aether announced this week that the company has entered into Research Collaboration Agreements with Spanish National Research Council ("CSIC") and Queensland University of Technology ("QUT") in Australia.

Left to right: Aether CTO Eric Bennett, Dr. Huang, Elisabeth Gill, Duo Zhang

Two stories have dominated recent media coverage of the 3D bioprinting field. One is the groundbreaking work being done by QUT, and the other is the unprecedented work being done in 3D skin printing and other areas of bioprinting by CSIC.

Aether will supply an Aether 1 Bioprinter beta unit to the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at QUT. Dr. Nathan Castro and PhD students will utilize the Aether 1 Bioprinter in the Professor Hutmacher directed ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing. Prof. Hutmacher is one of the pioneers in the field of scaffold based tissue engineering. He and an interdisciplinary team from National University of Singapore have developed biodegradable scaffolds which are FDA approved and CE marked. It is estimated that thousands of patients have benefitted from the 3D printed scaffolds.

Aether will also supply an Aether 1 Bioprinter beta unit to researchers at CSIC. CSIC is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain, and the third largest in all of Europe. A recent paper titled "3D bioprinting of functional human skin: production and in vivo analysis" published in the journal Biofabrication based on the research conducted by CSIC researcher Nieves Cubo Mateo and others has been met with extreme excitement and new interest in the burgeoning field of 3D skin printing. CSIC will use the Aether 1 Bioprinter beta unit to conduct experimental research involving the combination of multiple materials and multiple fabrication methods.

Aether plans to sell base units of the beta edition for $9,000 and Aether expects to have a commercial edition of Aether 1 available for public sale sometime in 2017.


 

 

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