Dec 5, 2017 | By David

Here’s another round-up of all the latest developments from the world of 3D printing, to keep you up to speed on what's been going on. Stories you might have missed recently include Rocket Crafters patenting 3D printed rocket fuel, Daimler trucks adopting 3D printing for the first time, and many more besides.


1. Airbus partners with China Aviation Materials

On November 21, Yang Xiaoming, general manager of Chinese aviation company China Aviation Materials (CAAC), signed a deal, "Airbus, China Aviation Equipment Group, Hongyuan Company's Supply Agreement on Aviation Forge Parts (Amendment 4)", with Airbus and metal AM company Bright Laser Technologies. This is a significant supply agreement for 3D printed aviation parts between Airbus, China Aviation Equipment Group, and Bright Laser Technologies.

The official signing of this 3D printing agreements shows the success already achieved by China Aviation Materials' in exploring new technologies and new products, and its growth in the field of industrial cooperation over many years. The next step for China Aviation Materials will be to work closely with Bright Laser Technologies to promote the use of 3D printing technology on Airbus’ commercial aircraft. BLT, which was founded back in 1990, has become the country’s largest supplier of additively manufactured metal parts in the wake of founder Professor Huang Wei-dong first launcing research into metal additive manufacturing in 1995.


2. Daimler Trucks adopts 3D printing technology in manufacturing

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced Monday that it will make its first delivery of plastic parts produced using 3D printing technologies to its customers in the coming weeks, as part of a pilot program. This will allow the company to test out the parts and gather relevant feedback in order to see how commercially viable this move is. The pilot program comes hot on the heels of a prediction at the recent CCJ symposium that trucks could have 3D printers integrated into them sometime in the near future, allowing them to create replacement parts whilst on the road.

Selective laser sintering technology has been used to produce these new advanced truck components, which have been validated to meet durability requirements. They should appear no different, to the untrained eye, to components produced using conventional manufacturing processes. During the pilot phase, parts to be printed will include nameplates, map pockets, and plastic covers.

“The addition of three new PDCs coupled with dedicated delivery service puts us on the path toward achieving this objective. We realize that we must continue to innovate and we will invest in new processes including 3D printing,” Johnson says. “What DTNA is launching today with 3D printing is only the beginning as we continue to develop this technology in our quest to be the benchmark for parts availability.”


3. Saint-Gobain acquired 3D printed ceramics company

Building materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain, whose headquarters are located in France and which operates partly out of Worcester, Massachussetts, has announced the acquisition of SpinWorks International. SpinWorks is a company that produces 3D printed ceramic components, and is based in Pennsylvania. Saint-Gobain’s High-Performance Refractories division was in charge of the acquisition, which should see the company’s ceramic industrial burner and heat recovery capabilities expanding for customers in the steel and automotive businesses. Saint-Gobain currently provides 230 jobs to the local area, and is establishing a global presence.

Ceramics are a key growth area of 3D printing in recent years, and is another way that the technology can hope to colonize the world of construction, at a materials level.

SpinWorks, which has around 20 employees in total, uses extrusion 3D printing methods in order to make silicon carbide ceramic components. These parts are capable of improving energy efficiency, recovering waste heat and reducing emissions for a vast range of high-temperature industrial functions.


4. Rocket Crafters patents 3D printed rocket fuel

Rocket propulsion expert Rocket Crafters has announced the award of a patent for a new process it has developed, which makes use of 3D printing technology. The patent was granted to co-founder and chief technologist Ronald Jones, for a method that allows for the safe production of feedstock and printing of rocket fuel from a blend of thermoplastic and high-energy nanoscale aluminum particles.

This pioneering method is capable of making rocket fuel that is high-performance and mechanically simple, as well as immune to accidental detonation. When reduced to nano-scale particle size, pure aluminum is highly reactive and can ignite spontaneously on contact with the atmosphere. Until now, no one has found a method to safely use this hazardous high-energy material as a fuel additive in a rocket engine.

Jones' patented invention is an entire start-to-finish process, demonstrating how to deal with the material so that it can be compounded, 3D printed, transported, stored, and used to fuel a hybrid rocket engine.

‘’This patent protects RCI's unique ability to build safe, reliable and affordable rocket engines that also deliver competitive performance," said Sid Gutierrez, RCI's CEO and president.  "It adds to our growing portfolio of licensed patents and patents pending.  Enabling RCI to protect this unique capability...With this latest invention, we now have the technology to design and manufacture hybrid rocket engines that can effectively compete with more expensive, less reliable and less safe liquid bi-propellant and solid rockets''

RCI is currently developing Intrepid-1, the world's first mass-producible orbital launch vehicle powered by rocket engines based on the company's patented technology.


5. RIVA launches 3D printing service for jewellery manufacturing

Brooklyn-based jewellery manufacturing service RIVA Precision Manufacturing has launched a new 3D printing department, offering advanced additive solutions for clients across the jewellery industry. The company prides itself on fusing engineering with art, and this latest breakthrough demonstrates the vision that has seen it expand so much over the last 30 years

With this new system, resins are 3D printed in high resolution, and with high surface output, ensuring excellence in surface quality. Cross technologies are also being integrated by RIVA, which can complement the work being done on new 3D printers, with an emphasis on customer service accompanying technological advances. The ordering service is fully automated, with quote generations and time estimates all being accessible to companies through the RIVA website. The company is offering free New York Metro delivery for prints on customers who sign up to be on the RIVA Print email list during the month of September.

Jennifer Theokary, Manager of the 3D Print Department, says, “The technology we have purchased will help us run an effective printing service bureau. Ultimately, smooth surface technology through RIVA Print offers exceptional production. The new department has been created with customer service in mind, working backwards to ensure all touchstones are covered along the way. We guarantee satisfaction, alongside the exceptional quality our manufacturing has always been known for.”


6. BEEVERYCREATIVE and STAPLES partner up to install 3D printers in Portugal

Office supplies behemoth Staples has teamed up with BEEVERYCREATIVE, a leading manufacturer of 3D printers in Portugal, in order to promote the technology and incorporate it into Staples’ Copy and Print Centers across the country.

Half of the Copy and Print centers in Portugal will now be equipped with 3D printers and ready to offer 3D printing services. Any customer who is interested in these 3D printing services will be able to walk into a Staples store with a digital 3D file, and request a quote for it. In addition to 3D printing, Copy&Print will also be offering 3D modelling services, under previous consultation.

BeeVeryCreative is a relatively young company which has gradually established a firm reputation for itself in the 3D printing world, and hopes to eventually expand further afield once the Portuguese market has been cornered. This collaboration with Staples can only be a step in the right direction, hitting an already huge customer base with a growing interest in innovation and consumer 3D printing.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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