Machines: An AM Round-Up of New 3D Printers

2019-08-20

Aya Bentur  

Modix 3D Printer

Still Summer, still hot, and still an ecosystem that doesn’t stop. Even in these summer months, there is a constant flow of news and innovation in the additive manufacturing (AM) ecosystem. Today we look at the recent news on AM machines. We’ve been discussing additive manufacturing in terms of an ecosystem quite a lot lately – the industrial applications, the supply chain, workflow, and business models that it entails. It’s been a while since we looked at the technology itself, as in the machines. Naturally, as AM becomes an integral part of industrial manufacturing, the machines change and evolve, we see more and more industrial AM machines. Here is our round-up of recently released AM machines for industrial use.

For Medical Purposes

Kumovis is a German medical 3D printing startup, which began as a spin-off from the Technical University of Munich. Recently the startup announced that their R1 3D printer is commercially available. The R1, meant for the healthcare sector, uses fused layer manufacturing (FLM) technology of high-performance plastics such as PEEK, to create patient-specific medical devices. The 3D printer includes a few features created with healthcare requirements in mind, such as a patented temperature management system which they claim enables homogeneous heating, improving layer adhesion and a filter that is claimed to create a “clean room” environment necessary for medical applications.

Cranial implant produced on the Kumovis R1 3D printer - Photo via Kumovis

Industrial Silicone

German RepRap just launched a new Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) system – the L320. Liquid Additive Manufacturing is an additive extrusion method but unlike FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) and FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) where the material starts as a filament which is melted then extruded, LAM starts as a liquid which solidifies with heat treatment between layers. In terms of material, injection molding grade silicone can be used, and according to the company it is “adapted to the high demands of industrial continuous operation.”

Printhead on the L320 system - Photo via German RepRap

Another new silicone 3D printer comes from Wacker, a German Chemical group. Their ACEO Imagine Series K2 is capable of 3D printing simultaneously up to 4 different silicone materials, combining different colors and viscosity in the same printed object. As a chemical company with 70 years of experience in silicone materials, developing a 3D printer is an indication of the industrial need for additive manufacturing silicone solutions. “Thanks to their outstanding mechanical and chemical properties, silicones have become indispensable for solving demanding technical problems and developing and implementing innovative technologies,” says Christian Gimber, Vice President of Engineering Silicones at WACKER.

A sample of ACEO multi material 3D printed silicone - Photo via ACEO.

Going Big

From Germany to Israel, Modix, a developer of large-format 3D printing systems, recently launched 4 new 3D printers, the Big-1000, Big-120Z, Big-180X and Big-40. While all are “Big” they provide a range of dimensions suited for different large scale applications. Also going big are XtreeE’s large scale concrete 3D printers. The startup’s goal is to set a network of concrete printers in various locations around the world, they started with a pilot production plant in Paris, and now they are building a second production plant in Dubai.

XtreeE Concrete 3D Printer

The AM Version of Sand Castles

Two companies recently debuted sand additive manufacturing machines. ExOne with its S-MAX Pro 3D industrial sand printer, and Voxeljet’s new VJET X 3D printer. Both machines are meant for industrial serial production and integration into traditional casting production lines. Industrial sand casting is widely used in the production process of complex metal parts, big and small. Anything from engine blocks to valves can be sand cast, Ford, for example, uses Exone machines for sand casting molds and inserts. 3D printing of casting molds and cores takes this industrial process even further in creating a digital solution for the traditional foundry.

Part 3D printed Sand on Exone Printer

This is just a partial round-up of the latest summer machine news. It’s interesting to see that these machines are geared towards specific applications or characteristics, continuing the AM penetration into industrial production.

We are always happy to hear about new machines and technological advancements, tell us about your news in the comments below or email us. For more insights and information follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates.

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