May 10, 2017 | By Benedict

RAPID + TCT dominates the 3D printing headlines this week, and there has been lots of additive activity both in Pittsburgh and elsewhere. Stratasys and Desktop Metal are collaborating, Ultimaker is releasing new print cluster management software, and Materialise has posted fresh financial results.

1. Stratasys and Desktop Metal extend strategic partnership to accelerate adoption of metal 3D printing

Experienced and promising 3D printing companies collaborate frequently, but the strategic partnership between additive stalwart Stratasys and two-year-old Desktop Metal is a meeting to get excited about. The companies yesterday announced an extension to their strategic partnership, designed to “accelerate accessibility and adoption of metal additive manufacturing.” The new agreement includes distribution efforts and explores future go-to-market activities.

As part of the deal, Desktop Metal will be able to use Stratasys’ large network of resellers to distribute its 3D printers, which include the recently launched Studio System and the Production System 3D printers. The Studio, which will ship in September, is being marketed as the world’s first office-friendly metal 3D printer.

“As one of the early investors in Desktop Metal, we realize customers are seeking additional ways to incorporate metal into their essential design and manufacturing processes,” said Ilan Levin, CEO of Stratasys. “Today’s announcement takes this commitment one step further—empowering global manufacturers and engineers to expedite product development cycles by producing both plastic and metal parts in office-friendly and production-based environments.”

“Working with well-respected strategic partners like Stratasys adds critical capabilities for broadening access to our metal 3D printing systems,” added Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “The addition of Stratasys’ network of resellers allows us to deliver more effectively to our market and also enables Stratasys’ customers to gain access to Desktop Metal’s systems while retaining the service and support they have come to expect.”

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find both companies exhibiting their wares at the aforementioned RAPID 3D printing conference, which wraps up May 11.


2. Paxis LLC introducing new WAV additive manufacturing technology

Wander around Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center a little longer and you might stumble across Paxis LLC, a new company created by Mike Littrell, president of 3D printing bureau CIDEAS. The new 3D printing company has developed an additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology called WAV (Wave Applied Voxel), which it says could revolutionize areas of the AM industry.

According to Paxis, WAV (pronounced wave) “is designed to conquer the limitations of existing technologies, with projected speeds of 4x, 8x, 24x+ of the fastest large vat systems on the market.” The company adds that the new 3D printing technology has “exponentially upgradeable speeds with modular hardware expansions, all while yielding a lower cost of operation.” Another acronym to learn then, but certainly an exciting prospect from a technical standpoint.

“WAV’s large build area and truly unique production method is ideal for large investment casting masters, large parts, and large batch builds of smaller parts built on one platform,” Littrell said. “WAV is a truly scalable, modular industrial additive manufacturing technology, which is expandable in both build size and speed. The attributes of the WAV process will allow resin developers to re-think material development which was hindered by the limitations of previous technologies.”

CIDEAS, Littrell’s other company, has been providing 3D printing and additive manufacturing services since 1998.


3. Ultimaker develops print cluster management software

People were justifiably excited when Ultimaker released the Ultimaker 3 last year, and the powerful FDM 3D printer hasn’t disappointed. (Though for some skeptical makers, the company’s new patent policy has.)

Luckily, Ultimaker is making it a great deal easier for businesses and other 3D printer users to manage multiple Ultimaker 3s in tandem. Ultimaker says its in-development Print Cluster Management software solution will “work in concert with its Ultimaker 3 desktop printer and CURA print slicing software” to enable effective management of multiple printers and print jobs.

"At Ultimaker, we continuously listen to our customers and their needs are what spurs the improvement and development of our solutions," said Paul Heiden, SVP of Product Management at Ultimaker. "With the Ultimaker 3, desktop 3D printing with industrial-grade materials became a reality. Demand for clusters of multiple 3D printers has grown and so has the need to better manage and control them. That's where our new Print Cluster Management software comes in.”

The forthcoming Print Cluster Management software for Ultimaker 3D printers will enable users to oversee prototype, tooling, and small-scale production across an organization; select printers, queue jobs, monitor prints, and receive notifications; and manage clusters of Ultimaker 3s directly from CURA.

The standard version of the Ultimaker 3 retails for $3,495.


4. Materialise posts Q1 2017 financial results, boasts of ‘excellent start’ to year

That’s the fun stuff wrapped up then, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t give you some hard numbers and stats to play with—specifically in the form of Materialise’s first quarter financial results. On Tuesday, the Belgian company posted its financial results for the first quarter, ending March 31, 2017. Things are looking good for the 3D printing software specialist.

“The year is off to an excellent start for Materialise,” said Peter Leys, executive chairman of Materialise. “Amid signs that the overall demand environment for additive manufacturing is strengthening, we delivered double-digit growth in all our business segments and more than doubled Adjusted EBITDA.”

Total revenue for Materialise increased 19.7% from the first quarter of 2016 to 31,921 kEUR, with double-digit increases in all three business segments. Total deferred revenue from annual software sales and maintenance contracts increased by 1,285 kEUR from December 31, 2016 to 18,084 kEUR at the end of the first quarter. Adjusted EBITDA rose from 1,135 kEUR for the first quarter of 2016 to 2,813 kEUR.

“We are particularly encouraged by the wide range of industries that are tapping into the Materialise backbone in a variety of ways to realize meaningful applications of AM,” Leys added. “During the quarter, we pushed ahead with our partnerships to prepare for the launch of Yuniku, the world’s first vision-centric 3D-tailored eyewear, and to integrate functionalities of Materialise Magics into product lifecycle management tools, streamlining the design-to-manufacturing process for the growing universe of products being produced using AM.”

Back in March, Materialise’s online 3D printing service i.materialise added a new rhodium-plated brass material to its library of 3D printing materials.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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