May 24, 2017 | By Benedict

With most additive manufacturing businesses using up their energy at RAPID + TCT earlier this month, this hasn’t been the busiest week for 3D printing. Nonetheless, here are a few of the smaller announcements that caught our eye over the last few days. ViscoTec, Nano Dimension, and Onshape all feature.

1. ViscoTec announces expansion of Business Development Additive Manufacturing department

ViscoTec, a high-viscosity fluids company headquartered in Töging am Inn, Germany, announced on Tuesday that its Business Development Additive Manufacturing department has been given an expansion—a move that was actually completed at the start of the year. Established in 2015, the department has grown in importance over the last two years.

ViscoTec’s 3D printing product range includes print heads as well as feed systems for single and dual-component fluids with different viscosities. All systems are based on the “endless piston principle,” which purportedly guarantees a shear-sensitive, pressure-stable, and pulsation-free material application.

The company says its technology allows for the 3D printing of abrasive, partly highly-filled media, with ViscoTec print heads able to be integrated into many existing 3D printer systems.

“We still see tremendous potential in this area,” commented Georg Senftl, Managing Director of ViscoTec. “Over the last few years, we have had a lot of exciting projects in 3D printing, which we were able to achieve and shape with our technology—partly already in the development phase—which was a great advantage for us.

“We were able to refine our technology, especially for additive production, and to adapt our print heads perfectly to the given conditions. The market is changing very quickly and we want to respond as quickly as possible. For this reason, we expanded the department in January.”


2. Nano Dimension supplies DragonFly 2020 PCB 3D printer to solar energy company

A 3D printer company selling one of its printers to another company isn’t usually headline news. But with Israeli innovator Nano Dimension, every move marks a significant step in 3D printed electronics history. The company’s latest deal involved selling one of its DragonFly 2020 3D printers to an unnamed solar energy company based in Israel.

The renewable solar energy company becomes the latest in a (short) line of Nano Dimension beta customers who have been testing out the groundbreaking 3D printer ahead of an anticipated general release. Nano Dimension says this small group of customers will have the chance to “strengthen their in-house innovation capabilities” using the machine.

The companies pay to lease the 3D printer from Nano Dimension, providing feedback to the manufacturer on how the printer is performing.

Previous beta customers have included an Israeli defense company and Syqe Medical, an Israeli company best known for its medicinal cannabis inhaler.


3. Onshape launches new learning center for full-cloud CAD

Onshape, a company known for its 3D CAD platform for Agile Product Design, today introduced a “self-guided online Learning Center” aimed at experienced engineers and designers that allows them to speed up their transition from traditional desktop-installed CAD to full-cloud CAD. Onshape says access to the Onshape Learning Center is free for all annual Professional Plan subscribers.

The new “Learning Pathways” introduced by Onshape—one for CAD and one for Data Management—are broken down into short introductory courses with practice exercises that CAD professionals can complete at their own pace. Onshape says the Learning Center was created as an alternative option to Onshape's live interactive Overview Training, which is comprised of four daily two-hour online sessions with an Onshape instructor.

“Even though Onshape has a very quick learning curve for anyone with a 3D parametric CAD background, we're finding that giving customers a crash course in how full-cloud CAD differs from installed file-based CAD gets them up and running faster versus them trying to learn it by themselves,” commented David Katzman, Director of Onshape Customer Success. “The Learning Center is the ideal place to make sure your design team is production ready.”

Upcoming self-guided courses will address advanced topics such as In-Context Editing and Simultaneous Sheet Metal Tools. Onshape also notes that CAD professionals will receive a completion certificate after finishing each Learning Pathway.


4. ORNL shows off 3D printing tech to Secretary of Energy

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited the Oak Ridge National Lab on Monday with Senator Lamar Alexander. During the visit, Perry saw the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, where the lab keeps its 3D printers, and took a ride in the lab’s 3D printed excavator as well as a 3D printed electric car.

But the visit wasn’t all about having fun with 3D printing projects. Perry also attempted to reassure ORNL staff that the laboratory would not be subject to severe cuts, emphasizing the “commitment of our congress to the national labs and the vision they have.”

“What's going on right behind us at this 3D printer and its application? The defense of our country, the economics of our country,” Perry said. “All are, in some form or fashion, being exhibited here, around this facility. I will be a strong advocate for not only the funding of this but, obviously, the expansion of that in the places that it makes sense.”

President Trump’s widely criticized budget contains cuts to the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which accounted for $116.9 million of ORNL funding in 2015.

Senator Alexander added that he would “make sure [the Senate supports] the materials research and the nuclear research and innovations like…additive manufacturing.”



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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