Aug 18, 2017 | By David

The world of 3D printing technology continues to expand at a remarkable rate, but luckily we’re here to keep you up to date on everything that’s happening. Here’s a round-up of recent events that might have passed you by, including some personnel changes at Shapeways and BigRep America, a 3D printed cervical implant getting FDA clearance, and more besides.

1. Camber Spine Technologies gets FDA clearance for 3D printed SPIRA Open Matrix ALIF device

Surgical device manufacturer Camber Spine Technologies has received its tenth clearance from the U.S Food and Drug Administration for a line of spinal implant systems. The SPIRA Open Matrix ALIF device is a unique interbody fusion implant, consisting of spiral support arches and the company’s proprietary Surface by Design technology.

According to Daniel Pontecorvo, CEO of Camber Spine, the company ‘’is very excited to be launching our first in a series of spinal implants using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. This specialized manufacturing technology allows us to create these truly unique patented structures featuring open arched matrices and proprietary surfaces designed to enhance fusion and promote bone growth. In the coming months we will be launching a series of five SPIRA spinal interbody cages for cervical, lateral, and posterior lumbar spine. Extremity implants and custom implants for salvage and complex deformity implants are also under development."

The SPIRA device is intended for skeletally mature patients with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). It was designed specifically to increase fusion rates and stabilization. The spiral support arches decrease subsidence by load sharing over the entire endplate, while also maximizing bone graft capacity. The Surface by Design technology consists of a roughened surface, which facilitates bone growth through an optimized pore diameter, strut thickness, and trabecular pattern.

2. 3D printing startup BigRep America gets new CEO

Berlin-based 3D printing start-up Big Rep has announced the hiring of a new U.S CEO and vice-president of global sales. Just weeks after hiring former Stratasys CTO Moshe Aknin, the company has brought on board another former Stratasys employee, Frank Marangell. Marangell is also the former Rize CEO and the former President of Objet USA. He was pivotal in the expansion of Stratasys into the dental and medical 3D printing market, when he worked for the company as Vice President of Global Field Operations.

“I have been following BigRep for the last three years and appreciate their high-quality large industrial printers’’, said Marangell. ‘’BigRep already has customers all over the US and now it´s the perfect time to build a larger US team and grow the business. In my view BigRep is the most successful new European 3D printing company with the most trusted large-scale printers. It is quality German engineering at a very competitive price.”

Big Rep has offices in Singapore and New York, as well as its headquarters in Berlin. The company, which was founded in 2014 is known for producing the world’s largest 3D printers, such as the Big Rep ONE. It is currently focused on the development of complete additive manufacturing solutions for industrial customers.

3. Osseus gets FDA clearance for 3D printed cervical implant

The FDA recently gave clearance to Osseus Corporation to market its new  cervical interbody hybrid composition implant which incorporates rough, porous titanium with the radiolucent and biomechanical properties of PEEK. The 3D printed device is designed for intervertebral body fusion procedures in skeletally mature patients with degenerative disc disease, at one or two contiguous levels within the cervical spine.

This is a major milestone for the company, and CEO Eric Hansen was positive about the direction that Osseus is heading in: ‘’We wanted to compete in the 3D-printed and injection-modeled arena like other large companies, but both processes seemed out of range for many reasons. I am proud to say that in this very crowded industry, we have developed a product that is extremely unique. As we gathered our surgeon development team of orthopedic and neurosurgeons, our target was to create a robust fusion bed built from titanium to blend with PEEK allowing maximum radiolucent visualization.”

He also stressed the importance of smaller technology companies in driving the industry forward: “Osseus Fusion Systems is extremely focused on the engineering aspect of the organization. Our core focus is to create a broad product portfolio with new and exciting disruptive technologies within the spine implant industry. I believe entirely that this industry survives and thrives on small companies like Osseus to accelerate evolution and to create and develop new cutting-edge technologies.

4. CEO of 3D printing company Shapeways steps down

CEO and Co-Founder of Shapeways, Peter Weijmarshausen, will be stepping down from his position with immediate effect. The company has been providing 3D printing services as well as a community and marketplace for users for 10 years now, and Weijmarshausen has been at the helm throughout that time. During the period of transition, Tom Finn, the COO of Shapeways, will occupy Weijmarshausen's role until a permanent replacement is found.

According to Weijmarshausen, “I am proud of all we have accomplished during ten years at Shapeways and am excited about everything that I see on the horizon for the company...This is an opportunity for me to step back and reflect on what we have accomplished, while considering my own next chapter. I look forward to Shapeways’ continued evolution and growth.”

Albert Wenger, Shapeways Director added: “I want to thank Pete for the decade he has spent building Shapeways. Pete has really pioneered consumer 3D printing and built Shapeways into the leading marketplace. He will continue to guide the future as a director of the company.”

5. LPW and Royal Academy of Engineering create new 3D printing research chair

UK-based metal 3D printing materials company LPW Technology, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, has announced the creation of a new research chair at Lancaster University that will be focused on 3D printing technology. More specifically, the research area is ‘Alloy and microstructure design for additive layer manufacturing’.

Professor Pedro Rivera has been appointed to the LPW / Royal Academy of Engineering Chair at Lancaster University. He will be transferring from his post as Assistant Director of Research at SKF University Technology Centre, Cambridge University, where his focus has been on sophisticated modelling to generate new alloys. His new focus will be on the engineering of new materials to harness the power of thermodynamic and kinetic modelling, combined with the concept of neural networking and genetic algorithms to design revolutionary high-performance AM specific alloys.

According to Rivera, “AM offers incredible design freedom to manufacture parts unable to be created by such established methods as forging and casting. Conventional alloys used for AM can be extremely sensitive to parameters such as oxygen content where the variation is intrinsic to the AM process. This research will create truly novel metal powders by controlling the microstructures and compositions so critical for high performing AM-specific alloys.”

By developing statistical models that will take into account powder size, composition and atmospheric conditions, as well as component properties such as strength, ductility, hardness and corrosion, robust processing parameters will be developed to realise 3D printing methods on an industrial scale.

6. 3D printing software company Sigma Labs announces second quarter results

Financial results for the second quarter of 2017 have been announced by Sigma Labs. The company, which provides quality assurance software under the PrintRite3D brand, also gave an update on recent corporate developments. A new Chief Technology Officer, former CEO Mark Cola, was appointed on July 24, with the aim of building and implementing the Sigma Labs technological strategy and guiding key technical advancements towards digitalization in the context of the Industrial Internet of Things.

“We are implementing our strategic double down on both Sigma Labs' technology and also on our ongoing efforts to grow Sigma Labs into a robust digital 3D ecosystem by seeking to identify compatible businesses to potentially acquire that will be synergistic with Sigma Labs' technology and business, although there are currently no agreements with respect to the acquisition by the Company of any third party, and there is no assurance than any acquisition will be consummated. In July and early August 2017, we changed our management lineup to add more capacity to implement our strategy. We believe that we have excellent technology and are supported by an excellent team of technologists’’, said John Rice, interim CEO.

As for financial performance, the company reported a revenue for the six months ending June 30, 2017 of $440,756, compared to $452,279 during the same period in 2016. The $11,523 decrease in revenue was primarily due to the completion of the GEA America Makes Program in 2016, providing three months of revenue in 2016 but no revenue in 2017. Net loss for the six months ending June 30, 2017 increased $720,193 over the prior year, totalling $1,932,706 as compared to $1,212,513 for the same period in 2016.

7. Sweden's Goceram partners with DPP Technologies for faster additive manufacturing

Goceram AB, Molndal, Sweden, a supplier of machinery and technology for Medium Pressure PIM technology, has announced that it will establish strategic partnership with DPP Technologies, Inc., Gallatin, Tennessee, USA, a developer and supplier of a new generation of fast 3D printers based on Direct Pellet Extrusion (DPE). With a layer resolution currently down to 70 micron (0,0027in), the DPP 3D printers are capable of 3D printing any kind of pelletized or granulated media. This new technology brings a lot of dramatic improvements according to the DPP CEO Bill Roberson, particularly: much lower raw material cost, significantly increased production rate and a rapid start up of production.

“This is exactly what we have been waiting for,” stated Robert Pompe, CEO of Goceram, “to consider our expansion into the AM field, this can revolutionize the AM and bring it to a truly production level.” He stated further: “unlike feedstocks for high pressure PIM, ceramic or metal feedstocks based on our proprietary MEDPIMOLD® binder formulation can be easily used in this kind of printer – initial tests clearly showed this.”

By combining their respective technologies, DPP and Goceram expect to offer customers a radically improved competitive edge – in terms of considerably lower capital investment, low raw material cost and a vast choice of raw materials widely available from already well-established suppliers. Initial focus is intended to be on the US market where a lot of commercial opportunities should unfold that have until now been untapped due to the current technology limitations.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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