Dec 1, 2017 | By David

Missed out any 3D printing developments recently? Not to worry, we’ve got another round-up to keep you up to speed with all the latest stories, including EOS partnering with Under Armour, the UK government investing in aerospace research, and much more besides.

1.EOS teams up with Under Armour for 3D printed footwear

A new strategic partnership has been announced between 3D printing expert EOS and Under Armour, a supplier of athletic footwear. The deal will see EOS’s 3D printing technology leveraged in order to create innovative footwear products that are commercially viable, for a consumer marketplace. Under Armour is based in Maryland, and has been one of the leading companies pushing forward the industry’s adoption of advanced digital manufacturing techniques.

Laser sintering technology will be the key to providing these innovative new 3D printed designs, and the solutions that EOS already boasts will be advanced even further as part of this new arrangement. Under Armour will utilize EOS’ 3D printing technology to producing powder-based parts, and the two companies will work together on polymer powder development as well as advanced laser sintering platform development. Under Armour will also collaborate with EOS’ Additive Minds expert services to elevate its AM program.

At this year’s formnext trade show, the two companies featured an Under Armour display that demonstrated UA ArchiTech Futurist footwear. This was an illustration of how the two companies will use their combined expertise to push innovation in the 3D printed footwear landscape.

 

2.UK government pledges £54 million for aerospace research projects, including 3D printing research

A total of £54 million ($73 million) has been granted to seven different research projects by the UK government, in order to boost the country’s aerospace sector. Additive manufacturing technology forms a key part of some of the projects, and the investment should also see significant progress made in this field.

The Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has received an £11.2 million grant, for a project named "Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace". This initiative is aimed at establishing the UK as a world leader in industrial 3D printing techniques, and engineering firm Renishaw will be a key partner.

The funding is part of a deal made by the UK government and industry partners in 2013. The Aerospace Technology Institute was established to facilitate joint investment, with a pledge to invest a total of £3.9 billion in civil aerospace R&D projects in the period to 2026. ATI chief executive Gary Elliott says the institute's strategy is to encourage UK aerospace suppliers to be "more ambitious in the research programmes into new, advanced and disruptive technologies".

 

3. German manufacturer Kratzer enjoys 90% time savings on fixture production with Stratasys Additive Manufacturing Technology

3D printing giant Stratasys announced that German company Kratzer has managed to cut production time by up to 90 percent with the help of its additive manufacturing systems. Kratzer manufactures industrial parts, and its implementation of Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc 3D printing system has led to significantly enhanced workflow efficiencies, reducing fixture production time from a few days to just a few hours.

Additive manufacturing is now used in order to produce highly complex, customized assembly line fixtures quickly and with complete design flexibility, and these can be used to replace milled fixtures in Kratzer’s laser and measurement machines. Kratzer supplies parts to a huge range of different industries and for all kinds of applications, so the ability to design fit-for-purpose fixtures in short lead times is crucial. Most of Kratzer’s parts are made out of Polycarbonate and ABS, but ULTEM material has also proved to be invaluable for certain production requirements, in particular for parts requiring resistance to extreme temperatures or chemical solutions.

“We have traditionally manufactured parts, which over time naturally start to crack and break,” says Christian Maier, Division Manager Fixture Construction and Training Supervisor at Kratzer. “Previously, we had to wait for the team to manufacture another fixture, which delayed the production process by several days. Now, we have the file, we can have the fixture in just a few hours. This dramatically enhances our production flow.”

The laser devices in Kratzer’s production line is also one area to have benefited from additive manufactured fixtures. “Very often, our customers require parts that need a serial number, logo or writing applied to them, which is undertaken by our laser machines,” Maier says. “Prior to having our Fortus 450mc, we had to put each part separately into the laser device, or mill customized fixtures for every job to hold several parts. Obviously, this was extremely tedious and time-consuming, but with additive manufacturing, we can create holding fixtures to laser 30 parts simultaneously, saving us an incredible amount of time and labor.”

 

4. Concept Laser begins work on new 3D printing facility

GE-owned German 3D printing pioneer Concept Laser, known for its advanced LaserCUSING metal fusion process, has started work on construction of a new facility in Lichtenfels, in the Bavaria region. Around 105 million Euros have been invested into the 3D Campus, which is intended to bring together research and development along with production, service, and logistics.

The new offices should be ready for use in early 2019, and they will provide room for about 500 employees over an area of around 40,000 square meters. The future machine production capacity should be up to four times higher than it is today.

The outstanding growth of Concept Laser in recent years has brought about the fragmented office situation that it is currently affected by. The current facilities, located in Lichtenfels/Schney, are not capable of being expanded any further, which is what led to investment in this new construction project. Concept Laser was founded back in 2000 by Frank Herzog as a provider of digital manufacturing technology, and its establishment of a considerable reputation in the 3D printing industry led to GE’s acquisition of 75 percent of its shares back in November 2016.

 

5. SelfCAD releases nine new 3D design tools

Online 3D design expert SelfCAD, whose products have been used extensively for 3D printing applications of all kinds, has announced the release of nine new design tools. Switching between different design modes, as well as between 3D drawing and 2D drawing, will now be made much easier. This should further increase the appeal of SelfCAD’s software solutions to the amateur and professional 3D design communities.

“Although our existing 3D drawing won great appreciation from artists, especially our free hand and real-time boolean drawings, we continued to receive requests from the industrial designer community to add traditional 2D drawing as well” said Aaron Breuer, Founder of SelfCad.

In addition to the basic tools, SelfCAD now offers Brush drawing, Text Drawing, Line Drawing, Spline Drawing, Circular Drawing, Rectangular Drawing, Ellipse Drawing, and Donut Drawing. ''Line drawing allows you to draw rectangular shapes, every click creates an edge connected to the previous one. Another added feature: converting lines into splines and combine lines and splines into one shape” explained Natalia, Product Manager of SelfCAD.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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