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3D Printing in June

Replicator World’s monthly tour of 3D printing begins in Detroit.  All3DP reports on the unveiling of a 3D printed industrial diamond composite.  This composite was unveiled by Swedish engineers from the company Sandvik at RAPID + TCT in Detroit.

In what these engineers claim is a world’s first, this truly shows the capability of 3D printing at this moment in time.  Indeed, “diamond composite is 58 times harder than anything found in nature and is used in tools for drilling and machining.”

As Sandvik Delivery Manager Anders Ohlsson explains: “even now we are just starting to grasp the possibilities and applications that this breakthrough could have.  Upon seeing its potential, we began to wonder what else would be possible from 3D printing complex shapes in a material three times stiffer than steel, with heat conductivity higher than copper, the thermal expansion close to Invar, and with a density close to aluminum.”

Sandvik believes “the diamond composite will revolutionize the machining industry and result in new advanced applications in space programs and wear parts.  Sandvik’s material is not synthetic or natural, but a composite which is mostly pure diamond. However, it also has a matrix material to ensure it can be printed. The result has most of the physical properties of pure diamond.”

To create these complex geometries, the Sandvik engineering team “print a semi-liquid mixture of polymer and diamond powder using an SLA 3D printer. After this is complete, the engineers perform a proprietary post-processing method, which ensures the properties of a dense diamond composite are produced.”

Uppsala University’s Adjunct Professor in Applied Materials Science Susanne Norgren concludes: “Sandvik’s 3D printed diamond composite is a true innovation.  It means we can begin to use diamond in applications and shapes never conceived possible before.”

Elsewhere, ZDNet reports Heineken, the adult beverage company, is using Ultimaker 3D printers to 3D print on-demand brewery parts.  This is in order “to customize and redesign custom parts for its production lines.”

This innovation is occurring in one of Heineken’s breweries in Seville, Spain.  Specifically, the company is using “a set of Ultimaker S5 printers to design and print its safety devices, tools, and parts.”  In the past, Heineken outsourced the creation of these parts to third party vendors.  However, now, due to the wonders of 3D printing, Heineken is “able to save about 80% in production costs.”

“Another perk has been uptime at the brewery. Heineken’s Seville brewery produces about 400 million liters of beer a year. Heineken has been leveraging Ultimaker 3D printers for a year or so. It started with the Ultimaker 2+, but now uses Ultimaker S5 printers, which are larger.”

In all, Heineken is using 3D printing for “printing parts for the production line to avoid downtime and create parts on demand, tweaking and optimizing part designs (Heineken has retooled designs as it replaces parts), creating quality control and maintenance teams, and bolstering safety by printing parts that prevent accidents.”

Jumping from Heineken back to America, Built in Chicago reports on Impossible Objects, which has just “announced its latest industrial 3D printer, CBAM-2, which is designed to be 10 times faster than the traditional 3D printing process. In addition, Impossible Objects also raised $4.1 million in funding to meet the growing demand for its 3D printers and printing materials.”

Impossible Objects, which was founded in Northbrook, Illinois back in 2011, aimed to create impressive 3D printers from its outset.  “The company paired carbon fiber and fiberglass with Nylon and PEEK, the plastic polymer commonly used in 3D printing, to create what it claims is a stronger, lighter, and more flexible material. Its printers are designed for volume production.”

As Impossible Objects Founder and Chairman Bob Swartz elaborates: “It’s been exciting to see how our customers are putting our approach to work to create high-performance parts for everything from aircraft and cars to lightweight athletic gear.  We’re continuing to bring machines, materials, and expertise to the market to transform the entire manufacturing process, from prototyping through to high-volume production.”

The goal with the CBAM-2 is to “allow manufacturers to print things like car or airplane parts at volume.”  As Swartz explains, “you can now use the machine in manufacturing and you can start making parts in volume at speeds, which our competitors can’t make.  This is a machine for production, not just prototypes.”

Previously, Impossible Objects has partnered with such illustrious manufacturers as the Ford Motor Company, Jabil, the U.S. Air Force, The National Institute for Aviation Research, and the Utah Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Initiative.

Finally, SmileDirectClub co-founders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman met, according to Venture Beat, “as teens at summer camp when they both had metal braces.  They later decided innovations in technology and telehealth could democratize access to safe, affordable, and convenient orthodontic care.”

Fenkell and Katzman started SmileDirectClub “in 2014 using a digital network of state-licensed dentists and orthodontists who prescribe teeth straightening treatment plans and manage all aspects of clinical care — from diagnosis to the completion of treatment — using the company’s proprietary teledentistry platform. To date, they have served half a million customers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, with plans to expand to Australia and the United Kingdom in 2019.”

Now, “HP and SmileDirectClub hope to disrupt the $12 billion orthodontics business by making 3D printed teeth molds.”  The two companies announced their partnership at the Rapid 2019 3D printing conference.

Apparently, SmileDirectClub “will use 49 HP Jet Fusion 3D printing systems around the clock to make more than 50,000 unique mouth molds per day.  This means it has the capacity to make as many as 20 million individualized 3D printed mouth molds in the next 12 months.”

As Fenkell explains: “SmileDirectClub is digitally transforming the traditional orthodontics industry, making it more personal, affordable, and convenient for millions of consumers to achieve a smile they’ll love.  HP’s breakthrough 3D printing and data intelligence platform makes this level of disruption possible for us, pushing productivity, quality, and manufacturing predictability to unprecedented levels, all with economics allowing us to pass on savings to the consumers seeking treatment using our teledentistry platform.”

HP’s President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Christoph Schell concludes: “SmileDirectClub and HP are reinventing the future of orthodontics, pushing the boundaries of customized 3D mass production and democratizing access to affordable, high-quality teeth straightening for millions of people.  Through this collaboration, HP is helping SmileDirectClub accelerate its growth, enabling a new era of personalized consumer experiences only made possible by industrial 3D printing and digital manufacturing.”

Join us next month for more up to the minute 3D printing news!

Image Courtesy of All3DP

Quotes Courtesy of All3DP, ZDNet, Heineken, Ultimaker, Built in Chicago, Venture Beat, HP, and SmileDirectClub

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