Nov 15, 2016 | By Benedict

The annual formnext 3D printing trade show is taking place this week in Frankfurt, Germany. At the event, visitors are being given a chance to see new additive manufacturing technologies from industry giants like Nano Dimension, HP, Arcam, and 3D Systems.


3D Systems

Additive manufacturing leader 3D Systems has set out its vision for an AM-centric future: factory floor robots will work hand in hand with 3D printers to make all-in-one, end-to-end manufacturing systems for companies in all industries. At formnext 2016, the company has highlighted three key technologies that will help the company turn that vision into reality. Those technologies are Digital Molding, materials innovation, and advanced software solutions.

3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology is the company’s new Digital Molding concept, a modular Stereolithography (SLA) process that enables manufacturers to go from CAD to production without tooling. The system could reportedly print up to 50 times faster than comparable systems, and can easily integrate with secondary processes such as finishing and coating.

3D Systems will also introduce a range of new materials at the event, including three new materials for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): DuraForm® ProX GF Plastic, a glass-filled composite Nylon material for the ProX® SLS 500; DuraForm ProX HST Composite, a proprietary mineral-filled composite material for the ProX SLS 500; and DuraForm TPU Elastomer, an abrasion- and tear-resistant material for the sPro™ 60 HD-HS. 3D Systems is also introducing Accura® Phoenix for its SLA printers, as well as MultiJet Printing (MJP) materials such as VisiJet® M3 CAST, a new wax material for the ProJet MJP 3600W and 3600W Max.

New software from 3D Systems includes advanced manufacturing software solutions engineered to streamline and simplify the design to manufacturing workflow. 3D Sprint™, the company’s new software for plastic part production, provides optimization and management tools, while 3DXpert™ is the company’s new all-in-one solution for metal additive manufacturing.

AddUp (Fives, Michelin)

While some 3D printing companies have been demonstrating tweaks and improvements to existing systems at formnext, others have been debuting entire 3D printers at the event. The AddUp FormUp 350, for example, has just made its world debut at formnext, showing off its direct metal multi-laser capabilities. The FormUp 350 is made by AddUp, a collaborative project between industrial engineering group Fives and tire manufacturer Michelin, and features adjustable parameters, an open architecture, and compatibility with different powder sizes.

The FormUp 3D printer was made using the Powder, Machine, Part, Method (PMPM) quality planning process, which purportedly guarantees quality and certification. During this process, powder is prepared and used for continuous industrial production, limiting inter-batch contamination and allowing total traceability of material flow. Next, machine parameters are controlled using Michelin techniques, before parameters and mechanical characteristics of parts are precisely controlled. The method step involves validating the prior steps.


Swedish additive manufacturing specialist Arcam, which is currently in the midst of a takeover from General Electric, took time out of its hectic ownership situation to showcase a new 3D printing technique at formnext. The company now offers 3D printing with cobalt-chromium (CoCr) using its Arcam Q10plus 3D printer, and has demonstrated the technology at the Frankfurt trade show. CoCr is regularly used in the medical and aerospace industries, and can be turned into high-resolution parts. “Arcam is determined to serve the industry through cost efficient solutions thus converting traditional manufacturing into additive manufacturing,” said Arcam CEO Magnus René.


Thanks to a lengthy promotional campaign and numerous brand tie-ins, established inkjet printing company HP has become a major 3D printing player virtually overnight, despite only announcing its first ever 3D printer earlier this year. The company has brought its new HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printer to formnext, marking the first public appearance of the machine in Europe. “HP is continuing to expand our list of customers, partners and resellers, including the addition of several German resellers collaborating with us for the first time at formnext,” commented Emilio Juarez, EMEA Sales Director, HP 3D Printing Business.

LPW Technology, 3DSIM

LPW Technology Ltd, a market leader in the development, processing, and supply of high-quality metal powders for the AM industry, and 3DSIM, a 3D printing software company, have joined forces to showcase their latest products at formnext. “LPW will be delivering a series of insightful seminars on the stand, featuring the topics currently exercising the minds of this fast-moving industry,” said Ben Ferrar, LPW’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’ll also be offering visitors a micro-tour around the ‘AM factory of the future,’ demonstrating how our advanced PowderSolve software will track metal powder throughout the entire AM production process.”

“We’ll be unveiling our newly released simulation tools, exaSIMTM and FLEXTM,” added Brent Stucker, CEO and Co-Founder of 3DSIM. “By simulating supports, part orientation and other build parameters offline rather than iterating experimentally, exaSIMTM considerably reduces the costs and risks associated with AM production. This cloud-based AM simulation tool enables machine users and part designers to predict distortion and residual stress in their parts, and specifies the optimum support placement to deliver improved part accuracy and reduce build failures.”

The two companies decided that, by sharing a stall at formnext and joining 3DSIM’s AM process simulation expertise with LPW’s established applications knowledge and metal powders, they could show end users how to develop more reliable and complex structures using 3D printing.

Nano Dimension

One of the most exciting 3D printing companies in the world today is Israel’s Nano Dimension, whose Dragonfly 2020 3D printer is able to print functional electronics using highly conductive silver nano inks. At formnext, Nano Dimension co-founder and chief business officer Simon Fried and his team will demonstrate 3D printed antennas, molded interconnect devices (MIDs), and more, all printed using the Dragonfly 2020. Fried will also give a talk about the challenges and benefits of 3D printing PCBs and circuitry, as well as a glimpse into Nano Dimension’s future plans, on Friday, November 18.


Roland DG Corporation, a specialist in wide-format inkjet printers, has taken its latest ceramic 3D printing technologies to formnext, offering visitors the chance to see the 3D printer in action and see sample prints first-hand. According to Michel Van Vilet, General Manager of Roland DG, the new technology could be used in various applications, including the manufacture of industry parts such as ceramic filter elements, valves, or heat insulators. Roland will use formnext as a chance to collect industry and public feedback on the technology. “Showcasing this new addition to our core technology prior to the release of an actual product streamlines the R&D process,” said Van Vilet.

formnext is running until November 18th in Frankfurt, so be sure to stay tuned all week for more 3D printing news.



Posted in 3D Printing Events



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