Jun 7, 2017 | By Tess

In a busy week for the 3D printing industry, here are some quick stories you may have missed:

Sigma Labs expands reach into Chinese and South Korean AM markets through new sales agents 

Sigma Labs, the company behind 3D quality assurance software PrintRite3D, will be expanding its reach into the Chinese and South Korean metal additive manufacturing markets through agreements with two non-exclusive sales agents in the regions. In South Korea, Sigma Labs will partner with Enervision Inc., a privately owned distributor of 3D printing solutions, to supply its PrintRite3D platform.

The South Korean market is ripe for 3D printing, as the government recently announced it would be investing $37 million into the industry in 2017 to accelerate development of additive manufacturing across the country.

In China, Sigma Labs has signed an agreement with Beijing Yifa Sifang Technology Co., Ltd, a leading reseller of metal 3D printing technologies. Through the agreement, Sigma Labs is seeking to increase its presence on the Chinese AM market.

“We are pleased to progress in expanding our footprint in the Asia-Pacific region with two new sales agents in connection with our PrintRite3D technology as a result of anticipated interest by new regional customers for PrintRite3D. The growth of AM is international in scope and we are pleased to position Sigma Labs to capitalize on this growth with two new prominent agents,” said Mark Cola, President and CEO of Sigma Labs.

Sigma Labs recently posted its Q1 2017 financial results, and also recently entered into a partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne for the qualification of metal 3D printed parts.

Unnamed client places PyroGenesis’ second order for metal 3D printing powders

PyroGenesis Canada Inc., a Montreal-based leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced plasma processes, has signed its second contract for an order of titanium powder from an undisclosed U.S. end user. The contract marks the second order placed during PyroGenesis’ ramp-up phase for its 3D printing powder production system.

The company’s 3D printing powder production system uses a Plasma Atomization process to produce uniform metal particles that reportedly “flow like water” and are suited for 3D printing processes.

Just months ago, PyroGenesis announced the completion of its first powder production system, on which the first run far exceeded expectations. A four-month ramp-up period is currently underway.

"Although this order is a sample order, what is truly noteworthy is it's the second order we have received during ramp up,” said P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis. “The fact that this Client has taken the time to sample our powders and allocate the funds to qualifying it internally, all before the ramp-up phase is complete, is extremely significant. The two sample orders received to date exceed our initial expectations for powder sales. We believe that a third sample order received during the ramp up phase would underscore the interest in the marketplace for PyroGenesis' products and unique expertise.”

PyroGenesis will soon issue an in-depth report detailing the progress of its Powder Production business. The system is reportedly just the beginning of the ways that the company will seek to address the metal powder needs of the additive manufacturing industry.

North Carolina State and Nanjing University researchers 3D print ‘ultra-thin’ sound diffuser

Researchers from North Carolina State University and Nanjing University in China have used 3D printing to prototype an “ultra-thin” sound diffuser that is reportedly 10 times thinner than standard diffusers. The innovative design, which could be installed in recording studios, music venues, etc., not only offers a material reduction, but also costs less to make and takes up less space.

"Sound diffusers are panels placed on the walls and ceiling of a room to scatter sound waves in many different directions, eliminating echoes and undesirable sound reflections—ultimately improving the quality of the sound," explained Yun Jing, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State who participated in the project.

By designing the individual cells of the diffuser, the researchers found that they could diffuse sound effectively without having to bulk up on the amount of material used for the panel. As the research team describes, the diffuser is made up of thin, variously sized and evenly spaced squares. These squares function as apertures which open into very thin underlying chambers, each the same size. Apparently, by having different-sized squares but same-sized chambers, the panel can diffuse sound with the same effectiveness as thicker diffusers.

While a functional prototype of the diffuser was 3D printed, the researchers say their design should work equally well with wood, a more common diffuser material.

The full study, called “Ultra-thin Acoustic Metasurface-Based Schroeder Diffuser,” was recently published in the journal Physical Review X.

3D models of fossilized feces show 230 million year old food residue

Paleontologists from Uppsala University and ESRF Grenoble have used a synchrotron scanning method to generate high quality 3D models of fossil feces. You know what they say, you can tell a lot by someone’s stool.

The 3D models are being used to learn more about food residues that are fossilized in 230-million-year-old feces. For instance, the paleontologists found beetle remains, a half-complete fish, and crushed bivalve fragments in two specimens dating back to the Triassic age.

The feces fossils, called coprolites, hold important information about the diets and even lifestyles of ancient animal species, information that can’t be discerned from bone fossils.

To see the contents of the fossils, Uppsala researchers teamed up with the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France to effectively 3D scan the specimens. The synchrotron scanning process is similar to CT scanning, only with much stronger x-ray beams. Notably, the scanning method allowed the researchers to visualize the contents of the ancient feces without having to resort to destructive methods.

"We have so far only seen the top of the iceberg," said PhD student Martin Qvarnström, lead author of the study. "The next step will be to analyze all types of coprolites from the same fossil locality in order to work out who ate what (or whom) and understand the interactions within the ecosystem.”

The study, “Synchrotron phase-contrast microtomography of coprolites generates novel palaeobiological data,” was published in Scientific Reports.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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