Nov 20, 2017 | By Benedict

In today’s 3D printing news roundup, there’s media recognition for Michelin’s 3D printed tire concept, a big investment in Norway’s Norsk Titanium, and an Irish cleantech company making biodegradable 3D printed irrigation systems.

TIME names Michelin’s 3D printed tire one of 2017’s best inventions

We’ll start the roundup at TIME Magazine, because the New York-based publication has just named Michelin’s Vision 3D printed concept tire one of the 25 best inventions of 2017. The airless 3D printed tire, which we wrote about in June, could hypothetically last as long as the entire car.

“On behalf of Michelin and the many designers and engineers involved in bringing the Vision concept to life, we are honored to receive this recognition from the editors at TIME Magazine,” said Terry Gettys, global head of research and development for Michelin Group.

The unusual 3D printed tire is actually more of an all-in-one wheel and tire, and combines four technological areas: airless, organic, rechargeable, and connected.

Made from organic and renewable materials (hence the “organic” promise), the tire can be “recharged” with new 3D printed treads when required, which enables easy customization depending on road and seasonal conditions.

It’s also fitted with sensors that detect road conditions and maintenance requirements, alerting the driver to all important information. This contributes to the tire’s “connected” status.

“We believe the Vision concept is as beautiful as the natural world that inspires it, combining multiple technologies that together project the course for Michelin’s innovation in the years ahead,” Gettys said.

“The ideas presented in the Vision concept have taken hold among vehicle designers, demonstrating a feasible vision of how the tire can provide essential contributions to sustainable mobility in the future.”

 

Rose Park Advisors invests in additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium

Flying across the chilly Atlantic we arrive at Norwegian titanium additive specialist Norsk Titanium, which has announced “significant” investment from the Disruptive Innovation Fund of investment firm Rose Park Advisors.

Terms of the investment have not been released, though Norsk Titanium commented that the deal proved the value of its Rapid Plasma Deposition 3D printing technology, highlighting the reputation of Rose Park Advisors co-founder Clayton Christensen.

Christensen returned the compliment, saying that although many startups claim to be “disruptive,” Norsk Titanium is one of a few that genuinely are.

“Norsk Titanium has identified a truly disruptive opportunity,” Christensen said. “Seeing our research in action is always exciting, and to see it in metals manufacturing—where one of the classic historical examples of disruption occurred—is even better.”

Norsk Titanium is making especially big strides in the aerospace sector. In October 2017, Boeing started using aircraft with 3D printed Ti64 structural aviation components made using Norsk Titanium’s RPD technology.

 

Ireland’s AquaRoot uses biodegradable 3D printed pipes to improve irrigation

Staying in Europe for the final item in the roundup, Irish cleantech company AquaRoot Technologies is using a biodegradable polymer to make 3D printed irrigation systems. The company has developed a proprietary platform that enables users to 3D print drainage and irrigation pipes on-site and at scale, both “rapidly and economically,” and in a manner that mimics the function of a tree root network.

According to AquaRoot’s founder and CEO Vincent Farrelly, the 3D printing platform allows users to build their own customized drainage and irrigation systems for specific applications. These might include growing plants in glasshouses, emergency drainage in buildings and on land, or the emergency channelling of water.

The 3D printable polymer used by AquaRoot was initially developed in collaboration with Ireland’s Athlone Institute of Technology, and the company now has a range of proprietary polymers (some biodegradable, some non-biodegradable) with different water-absorbing and transportation properties.

“Our aim is that our AquaRoot system will be the de facto choice for users to create their own permanent or temporary water pipe systems,” Farrelly says. “Be that a horticulturist growing strawberries in a glasshouse, a construction worker draining a sump, or a farmer irrigating plants or providing water to animals.”

AquaRoot came first in the Irish heat of the 2017 International Climate Launch Pad business competition, and plans to release a beta version of its 3D printed solution by mid-2018.

The company is seeking both investors and development partners to help it scale up its 3D printing operations.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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