Jul 25, 2017 | By David

Here's another round-up of what's been happening recently in the 3D printing world, including news about Proto Labs announcing its biggest investment yet to keep up with demand for 3D printing, Daniel Defense launching its first 3D printed standalone suppressor, and other things you might have missed.

1. 3D printing company Proto Labs announces largest investment so far

UK 3D printing company Proto Labs has just announced the largest investment in its infrastructure yet. Its site in Telford will be receiving around £3.6 million of investment in machinery and renovations.

The manufacturing company is carrying out these investments as a response to expected demand for its services across Europe in the near future. The company offers a range of digital manufacturing services, including 3D Printing, CNC machining and injection moulding. A fast turnaround expected by customers in areas such as prototyping and product development, which means that manufacturers are increasingly needing to invest in infrastructure in order to meet customer expectation. Increasing possible applications for 3D Printing is also making the technology a key opportunity for investment, as more industries are using the process as part of their product development cycle.

Proto Labs Telford facility now has 130 CNC machining and 57 injection moulding machines including the new ones that have been ordered as part of the company’s investment. Proto Labs’ 3D printing facilities are located in Germany.

2. Daniel Defense releases first 3D printed standalone suppressor

Leading firearms and accessories manufacturer Daniel Defense has recently announced the launch of its very first standalone suppressor produced using 3D printing methods. The DD WAVE is a 7.62mm sound suppressor, which features an innovative 3D printed construction and unique overlapping-baffle design. The suppressor is available with a quick-detach Acme Thread Quick-Clamping System or a direct thread application. It made its first public appearance back in April, at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Atlanta, Georgia.

"The DD WAVE is unique because it's constructed entirely using 3D direct metal laser sintering technology," said Daniel Defense President/CEO Marty Daniel. "We are able to do things with this type of manufacturing that you simply can't with a conventional machine. The one-piece design, constructed from Inconel, eliminates the need for welds, which are usually the weakest parts of a suppressor. So what you're left with is a suppressor of unmatched strength and durability."

Made of inconel, stainless steel, and titanium, and then Cerakote coated, the DD WAVE is fiercely strong yet lightweight. This makes it durable, unobtrusive, and reliable enough to accommodate a wide variety of calibres. Named in part for its advanced cascading baffle geometry, the DD WAVE features a design that cannot be duplicated through more traditional manufacturing techniques. The utilization of 3D printing technology allows for a one-of-a-kind baffle design that forces gas into concentric, confined spaces, extending dwell time in the suppressor and resulting in a product that more effectively attenuates sound. MSRP for the DD WAVE Quick Detach version with included muzzle device is $1157. The direct-thread version is $986. Both are available from authorized Daniel Defense dealers.

3. GE partners with Lagos Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board 

One of the world’s leading digital industrial companies, GE, has announced a skill development partnership programme involving its GE Lagos Garage, the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB). The collaboration is aimed at developing the skills of students in the Nigerian state in advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing.

The GE Garage Advanced Manufacturing programme will involve 20 final year students and five instructors from the five government technical colleges in the state taking part in an intensive one-week training that will hone their skills. The selected technical colleges, spread across the state and under the supervision of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board are located in Ikotun, Ikorodu, Agidingbi, Ado-Soba and Epe. The programme takes place at the LASTVEB HQ School Complex, Ikeja GRA, and it is due to commence on Monday July 24, ending on Friday July 28.

"We are committed to supporting skills development in Nigeria, and across Africa. We see ourselves as partners in building a sustainable future for Africa, and we believe that partnerships such as this are necessary if we are to overcome Africa’s economic challenges,” said the Director of Communications & Public Affairs for GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa.

According to Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, programmes such as this will go a long way in bridging the unemployment gap as well as addressing skills deficit in the country. She highlighted the importance of vocational education to Nigeria’s socio-economic well-being, saying that the era when vocational education was believed to be undertaken by school drop-outs and pushovers was over.

4. 3D printing used to manufacture Michelin’s newly launched Multi Z+ tyres

Michelin Thailand has launched a test run of 10, 00 tyres for its groundbreaking new range, the Multi Z Plus, a 3D printed tyre whose initial concept design was reported here just over a month ago. The tyre combines four state-of-the-art technologies- a 3D printed mould, aircraft tyre, suspension bridge cable and new rubber technologies. The self-regenerating tread pattern made with the latest 3D printed mould technology provides strong grip throughout tyre life, without sacrificing fuel consumption on both dry and wet surfaces.

“Drawing on the latest Infinicoil architecture in aircraft technology, the new Michelin X Multi Z+ Limited Edition enhances endurance over long distances when driving non-stop’’, said Lionel Cadeau, truck and bus commercial director. “This technology consists of over 400 metres of steel cord, wrapped horizontally around the tyre for unrivalled robustness, greater longevity and reduces slide. Power coils used in latest modern suspension bridge design allow for the truck tyre to be retreaded multiple times to get the best value out of its casting and deliver a stronger body while reducing body fatigue while on the road.”

5.  29 Belgian companies and research institutes collaborate on 3D printing project 'Family of the Future'

Flam3D is a Flemish cluster association for 3D printing. The association has recently started an initiative in which 29 Flemish companies and research institutes have started collaborating on the 'Family of the Future'. This project will be a demonstration case aimed at clarifying most 3D printing technologies, and analyzing how these can add real value across a wide range of sectors.

‘Family of the Future' will demonstrate how more than 90 printed components can be deployed in the context of the family - but also the 'factory' - of the future. The project will therefore exhibit a wide range of techniques: from printed electronics to printed components in metal and ceramic materials. The project will be presented for the first time on November 8 at the Prototyping expo in Kortrijk, Belgium. Its international premiere will follow a week later, on November 14 at the Formnext fair in Frankfurt, Germany.

"Co-creation adds value: what Additive Manufacturing really needs for the future, is cooperation. Beyond the hype, there’s a world in which we must work together – both in- and outside the Additive Manufacturing ecosystem. A solution to a specific problem rarely lies within one single company," explains Kris Binon, General Director of Flam3D.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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