Ogle Models was asked to create parts for the vehicle which took a year to design as part of the world’s biggest student motorsport competition.

The parts were created for the IMechE Formula student event, which challenges entrants to design and manufacture a single-seat race car that is tested at Silverstone race track.

The aim is to create a high performance car in terms of acceleration, handling and braking, while also being reliable, easy to maintain and low in cost.

Dave Bennion, Marketing and Sales Director at Ogle, said: “We were pleased to be approached by the team at University College London this year as we have successfully worked with them on several occasions and have found them to be very professional, we hope to work with the students when they are out in the workplace”

“The competition is extremely prestigious and is backed by industry professionals. The aim is to help innovative engineers showcase their technical, engineering design and manufacturing skills and we were proud to be a part of finding the next generation of racing car designers.

“A lot is riding on the event for the participants, which is why it was so important we delivered the commissioned parts to a high spec, using the exact measurements.”

Ogle used selective laser sintering (SLS), which is a form of industrial 3D printing technology to create the pieces needed for the single-seat race car.

Glass filled nylon (PA3200) was chosen to add the extra strength and the temperature resistance required.

Using SLS is ideal because creating intricate and complex geometry of air intakes can be difficult to manufacture quickly using other methods.

Tim Baker from the University College London team said: “We approached Ogle because we know they are one of the leading prototyping companies with an excellent reputation for high quality work.

“Using 3D printing in motorsport is hugely beneficial because it can produce lightweight parts from complex and bespoke designs in short time frames.

“Our design required parts that had complex geometries and it was essential they fitted exactly. It was a dream come true to see our design, which we’ve worked so hard, come to life.”

This year the competition saw more than 130 university teams from 30 different countries take part.

A spokesman for the event said: “Our mission is to excite and encourage young people to take up a career in engineering. It seeks to challenge university students to conceive, design, build, cost, present and compete as a team with a small single-seat racing car in a series of static and dynamic competitions.”

This year, standards were very high and each entrant’s vehicle had to pass rigorous scrutinising tests to ensure it complied with the strict safety regulations.

Formula Student (FS) is Europe's most established educational motorsport competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Matt White, who joined Ogle as Prototype Solutions Engineer earlier in the year has a Motorsports Degree from Coventry University and played a key role in Coventry’s Formula Student team.

Reinforced composite materials that are used in the construction of car and wind tunnel parts and components for racing teams have taken 3D printing technology to new heights to produce parts for the Bebop 2 drone.

Bebop 2 offers very easy-to-use piloting and is powerful with impressive stability and maneuverability even in extreme conditions. Data collected by seven sensors are analyzed and merged thanks to the impressive calculation capability of its onboard computer. Bebop 2 integrates a front facing camera and the pilot can digitally change the angle of the camera by 180° by just sliding a finger on the screen of the piloting device.

Parrot has developed the final Bebop 2 version with the help of Windform GT material. The first Bebop 2 structure was built with injected parts made of polyamide based glass reinforced composite material. Parrot then moved to SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology in collaboration with CRP Technology in order to optimize the structural performance without the long lead time and high tooling cost.

Parrot carried out an original development approach based on an experimental diagnosis and FE model aimed at improving the quality of the video during flight, which is usually altered by the vibrations of the drone. The structure has been mainly developed according to that target and by using smart design to reduce weight. Parrot has established that the natural frequencies of the parts made with Windform GT were quite similar to those of parts obtained by injection molding of glass fiber reinforced polyamide.

Parrot was also able to evaluate toughness of the product structure as consumer drones such as the Bebop 2 fall quite often with beginners. Windform GT proved the only 3D printing material able to overcome the accidental test falls carried out by Parrot’s technicians. Parrot highlights others advantages obtained with additive manufacturing and Windform GT material including making small production batches to provide functional products to the team and good aesthetics feature.

Published in CRP Group

Prodways, a subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé, is launching its new range of industrial laser sintering 3d printers. This technology uses a high-power laser to merge successive layers of plastics and metals.

The launch of this completely new range of ProMaker P series laser sintering printers follows the announcement at end-September of the signature of an R&D partnership agreement with Hunan Farsoon Tech Ltd.

The launch of this comprehensive range of “Prodways powered by Farsoon” ProMaker P series printers was achieved through the combined expertise of the R&D teams of Prodways, Norge and Farsoon in the area of selective laser sintering. The “Prodways powered by Farsoon” range stands out from current standards for its high thermal stability offering optimized mechanical properties, combined with a fully digital, ultra-fast and highly accurate laser scanning system. The integration of these recent technological advances enables Prodways to offer a comprehensive range of solutions guaranteeing high productivity combined with the best levels of precision and quality.

Accordingly, the range of “Prodways powered by Farsoon” ProMaker P series printers, whose price will be between 200.000€ and 450.000€, is available in two families:

ProMaker P2000 series

The range of ProMaker P2000 series printers provides top industrial performance in a compact format and offers a high-temperature version enabling printing with high-performance materials at temperatures of up to 220°C, thereby opening up the possibility of new industrial applications.

ProMaker P4000 series


The range of ProMaker P4000 series printers offers exclusive industrial production capacity with wide platforms and high productivity to print high-precision parts. A ProMaker P4000 will be shown on FormNext’s booth.

The market for this technology is comparable in size to that of photosensitive liquid resins, in which Prodways already operates. This new laser sintering range enables Prodways to cover the majority of plastic industrial applications for 3D printing. This coverage will be supplemented by metal machines in 2016.

Concurrent with the launch of this new range of printers, Prodways is launching a first range of PA12 powders for laser sintering, developed in partnership with Hunan Farsoon. These powders offer high-performance mechanical properties for the most demanding applications.

The range comprises four versions:

  • PA12–S 1300 – PA12 type nylon powder ideal for printing complex parts, in particular those used in the aerospace and automotive industries
  • PA12-GF 2500 – PA12 type powder, fiberglass-reinforced for parts requiring more rigidity and better resistance to high temperatures
  • PA12-CF 6500 – PA12 type powder, carbon-reinforced for greater resistance
  • PA12-MF 6150 – PA12 type powder, reinforced with mineral fibers for smooth surfaces and high resistance to heat distortion


In addition, across the entire ProMaker P Series printer range, Prodways offers a platform strategy open to all materials. This strategy aims to facilitate and speed up innovation, and to develop new materials with high-performance mechanical properties. It can provide genuine added value to industrial customers and research institutes.

For more information, visit: www.prodways.com

Published in Prodways

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced that it has been awarded two research contracts worth over $1 million dollars to develop advanced aerospace and defense 3D printing manufacturing capabilities at convincing scale. These contracts are administered by America Makes (the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute) and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The two contracts leverage 3DS’ proprietary Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal 3D Printing (DMP) portfolio to meet the most demanding advanced manufacturing road map of the United States Air Force. Together with some of the nation’s leading military suppliers—including Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin—3D Systems will develop a precision closed loop and advanced manufacturing and monitoring platform, designed to deliver the accuracy, functionality and repeatability specifications demanded for flight worthy aerospace parts.

“The collaborative and forward looking initiative of America Makes members is driving extraordinary strides in 3D printing centric advanced manufacturing for this important industry,” commented Ralph Resnick, America Makes founding director and executive director. “America Makes is grateful for the support and funding from AFRL to enable important research like this.”

The first contract is led by 3DS, in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Manufacturing (UDCCM), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMCO). The project is designed to integrate predictive technologies with 3DS’ SLS 3D printers to dynamically monitor parts at the layer level during the manufacturing process, ensuring optimum accuracy and repeatability of manufactured aerospace parts.

The second contract, in collaboration with the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University in partnership with Honeywell International and Northrop Grumman Corporation, leverages 3DS’ Direct Metal 3D printing. As a result of this project, aerospace and defense manufacturers will gain full control of every aspect of the direct metal manufacturing process at the layer level, delivering fully dense, chemically pure, flight worthy metals parts.

“These important research projects will position leading industry manufacturers to 3D print high-performance precision parts at convincing scale with enhanced functionality,” said Neal Orringer, Vice President of Alliances & Partnerships, 3DS. “3D Systems pioneered the use of advanced manufacturing for aerospace and defense applications and is proud to work with such esteemed partners to further advance these technologies and meet and exceed the future demands of the Air Force.”

Both projects are set to commence in early 2015.

For more information, visit: www.3dsystems.com

Published in 3D Systems

In 1941, Arthur M Young demonstrated a model helicopter flying on a tether while working for Bell Aircraft Corporation and just five years later, Bell Helicopter received the first-ever certification for a commercial helicopter. The Texas company has now made and sold more than 35,000 of the aircraft worldwide.

For some years, the company has used additive manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D printing, to produce prototype components but wanted to use the technology to build functional parts. It turned to nearby AM bureau, Harvest Technologies, which uses more than 40 AM machines, to provide the expertise.

Before production could begin, Bell Helicopter and Harvest needed to prove out the processing capabilities of the latter’s EOSINT P 730 plastic laser-sintering machine from EOS that would be used to make the helicopter parts and to certify the platform for use in the aerospace industry. Heat distribution, powder degradation, dimensional accuracy, repeatability, component quality and performance, and the economics of manufacture were all examined.

Elliott Schulte, Engineer III at Bell Helicopter said, “We characterised the mechanical properties of each additively manufactured build so that we could confirm that the EOS system met our specification requirements and produced the same quality product each time.

“The systematic testing was done with a number of different materials and across a series of individual builds to establish that EOS technology was robust and highly repeatable.”

Subsequently, Bell Helicopter and Harvest began the meticulous process of manufacturing aerospace hardware, taking advantage of the freedom of design that comes with applying AM.

Christopher Gravelle, head of Bell Helicopter’s rapid prototyping lab commented, “Material characterisation is a critical consideration for us during design. For instance, if we are creating bosses for attachment points in additively manufactured nylon rather than metal, it is a new material and process and you cannot just use the same configuration.”

After a final review of the first component design for producibility, Bell Helicopter sent a 3D CAD model to Harvest to develop a build strategy. Before each batch was produced, rigorous pre-production inspections were carried out by Harvest, including checking that nitrogen leak rate was low, which is important for reducing waste and ensuring part quality.

Caleb Ferrell, quality manager at Harvest added, “After every build, we test for tensile and flexural properties of the components. This is a requirement for process assurance that we continuously monitor.

“The parts that we get have very good feature definition and the mechanical properties have been good as well. We are especially happy with the larger platform size and the nestability we are achieving.”

Currently, the helicopter manufacturer 3D prints parts mainly for its environmental control system (ECS) using EOS technology, but AM production is expanding. Bell Helicopter is interested in employing 3D printed components throughout the aircraft systems of its commercial helicopters.

Schulte added, “The ECS engineers who have gained experience with the material and the process are now communicating with teams involved in other functions, and those teams are starting to incorporate additively manufactured hardware into their assemblies.

"The EOS technology produces a robust and highly repeatable process that complies with our specification. We have done a number of conversions of aircraft parts from previous processes to AM. With the EOSINT P 730, we often discover that the production cost per piece is substantially reduced compared to conventional manufacturing methods.”

Bell Helicopter will also be evaluating AM of high-temperature plastics intended for more demanding roles and environments.

Ferrell explained, “In addition to the design advantages, there are significant manufacturing benefits with EOS technology. Tool-less manufacturing means you do not face certain limitations or up-front costs.

“If you need to change something, you can build new revisions simply by changing the CAD file – no moulds, no new machining tool paths and very little wasted time and money.”

“Because of the large build platform in the EOSINT P 730, we can print bigger components in one piece rather than in sections, eliminating assembly costs.”

Another advantage of the EOS system is the clean surface it produces, according to director of business development at Harvest, Ron Clemons. He explained that the EOSINT P 730 incorporates a software fix that provides crisper detail and smoother surfaces. As a result, there is relatively little peripheral powder melting and adhesion, so the desired quality of finish is achieved. There is consequently a saving in post-processing cost compared with the bureau’s other AM systems and lead-times are shorter.

An important secondary benefit of EOS technology is increased recyclability of the plastic powder. Other AM processes used by Harvest leave behind a significant amount of partially melted and therefore unusable powder, whereas more of the EOSINT P 730’s leftover powder can be reused.

Harvest has since acquired a second EOSINT P 730 and an EOSINT P 760 and is currently working with Bell Helicopter to implement the manufacture of one-off or two-off orders for spares, nested within the build volumes of existing batch production.

For more information, visit: Aerospace Case Study - Bell Helicopter

Published in EOS

EOS at this year’s EuroMold in Frankfurt, Germany launched the PA 1102 black material. PA 1102 black is a material made from renewable resources. It is a mass-coloured Polyamide 11 material for the manufacturing of deep black, highly resilient parts. Due to its colour, the parts made based on this material are resistant to dirt or discolouration even under most extreme conditions. PA 1102 black has a high flexibility, bendability and impact resistance so that the parts will not split even under excessive load conditions. The materials excellent mechanical properties make the material a perfect fit for serial parts, highly stressed functional models as well as design prototypes.

Properties

  • mass-colored black
  • high elongation at break
  • high impact resistance
  • elasticity
  • excellent resistance to chemicals, especially hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, mineral bases and salts, alcohols, fuels, detergents, oils and fats

Applications

  • mechanically loaded functional prototypes and series parts with long-term moving elements (e.g. hinges)
  • in the automotive industry, it is mainly used for interior components for crash relevant parts (PA 1101 components do not splinter)
  • well suited for abrasively stressed visible parts
  • especially suited for small to medium sized parts, thin walls and lattice structures

During material development EOS has closely cooperated with pilot customers. One of them is UK-based company 3T RPD, who, after a number of material tests, are highly satisfied: “The addition of PA 1102 black to our portfolio will be relevant for a wide range of customers and specifically those looking for a ‘true black’ without the inconsistency or bloom that has been a feature of parts produced with filled powders or surface coloured parts.  It will offer an alternative to those customers wanting serial production parts to be used in environments where enhanced mechanical properties are valued such as parts that are regularly handled or knocked” says Dr. Mark Beard, Head of R&D at 3T RPD Ltd.

Another US-based pilot customer praises the excellent serial capabilities of the PA 1102 black material: Mike Schuch, Head of Mechanical Engineering & Machine Shop at Accurate Technologies Inc. sums up the testing results as follows: “In 2014, Accurate Technologies Inc. joined with EOS to help develop and refine the PA 1102 black Nylon 11 material. This material is Accurate’s primary material and the basis for several ATI products, the first of which was the ’CANary Interface Module’. We’ve been very happy with the results. The PA 1102 black material gives us the ability to produce innovative products that are enclosed in equally innovative designs that are custom fitted to our products without compromising strength, durability and good looks. We look forward to releasing many more products in the future with this very effective combination.”

For more information, visit: www.eos.info/material-p

Published in EOS

EOS introduced the EOS P 396 production system for the manufacture of plastic parts at this year's Euromold. The successor model to the EOSINT P 395 offers a multiplicity of features that comprehensively meet the growing demand for increased manufacturing efficiency, process stability, and building capacity. The latest CO2-laser generation and a completely revised temperature regulation enable double-digit increases in productivity. Global distribution of the EOS P 396 begins in April 2014.

“With the presentation of the EOS P 396 at Euromold we are sustaining a leading role in plastics-based Additive Manufacturing, a position that stands alongside our metals technology. The EOS P 396 seamlessly supersedes our highly successful EOSINT P 395 model in the mid-frame segment. We have made a number of improvements that allow our customers to produce both plastic prototypes and serial parts with an even higher quality and cost efficiency,” explains Adrian Keppler, Managing Director at EOS.

With the unveiling of the new EOS P 396 the company has introduced a number of improvements. Dependent on the fill level and spectrum of parts, potential increases in manufacturing efficiency of up to 30 percent are possible. A reduction of the secondary processing times is achieved by a number of features, including a new point pyrometer and a low wearing, high speed recoater. Primary processing times are shortened thanks to the introduction of a new and significantly higher performance laser. The energy and material consumption of the system per manufactured component also has been further improved.  This results in a reduction in operations costs and in an optimized product carbon footprint (per part). When the system is viewed in combination with highly economical materials such as PrimePart® PLUS, then combined cost savings of some 30 percent per part are achievable in relation to the system's predecessor.

A newly integrated point pyrometer continually measures the temperature of the powder surface for coating with a high degree of precision. This enables secondary processing times to be further reduced leading to a corresponding increase in productivity. Furthermore, this feature forms the basis for a more stable regulation of the production process, thereby improving process reliability. With the availability of Release 3.7 of the EOS process-software (PSW) at the start of series production, the functional scope is once again expanded, and furthermore the Windows 7 operating system supported. The building capacity of the EOS P 396 is in line with that of its predecessor, at 340 x 340 x 600 mm.

With the introduction of the EOS P 396, the plastic materials PA 2200 and PrimePart® PLUS (PA 2221) will also be commercially available for this system from April 2014. Further materials will follow over several stages, until all of the powders approved for the predecessor system are available.

For more information, visit: www.eos.info/systems_solutions/plastic/systems_equipment/eos_p_396

Published in EOS

EOS is introducing two new plastic materials and one metal material for industrial 3D printing. PrimePart ST (PEBA 2301), a soft, flexible, and elastic material, belongs to the group of thermoplastic elastomers and is available immediately for EOSINT P 395 systems. In the coming months, availability will be extended to the EOS FORMIGA P 110 and EOSINT P 760 systems. PrimePart® FR (PA 2241 FR) is a flame-retardant Polyamide 12 and is available now for both the current EOSINT P 395 and P 760 systems, as well as for the EOSINT P 390 and P 730. EOS NickelAlloy HX is their new heat and corrosion resistant nickel-chrome-iron-molybdenum alloy.

PrimePart® ST: Characteristics and Potential Applications

Possessing an elongation at break of two hundred percent, together with a good elastic restorative capacity and rebound elasticity PrimePart® ST was developed to support the production of flexible, rubber-like parts. The optimized design ensures that parts will return to their original shape, even after significant deformations. Post-production infiltration is not necessary for achieving the excellent mechanical properties and surface qualities. In the temperature range of -40 to 90°C the material demonstrates a very good fatigue performance. If desired, it supports many post-production options for treating the manufactured part, including roto-finishing, flame-treatment, flocking, paint finishing, and smoothing. This facilitates the realization of specialized surface-finishes that meet the specific and varied requirements of customers.

One key sphere of application is in the manufacture of sporting goods: In the production of winter sport accessories, such as impact protectors, the resilience of the material opens up a broad range of possibilities. Another potential application is in the consumer-goods sector, particularly in housings where there exists the risk of breakage through falling, being-dropped, and other instances of impact. Within industry, the automobile sector is one of many potential users: Fitting accessories such as grips, corner/edge, and paintwork protectors can be realized, as are, for example, soft door-lock components. Medical applications would include instrument-grips as well as significant applications in orthopedic technology. In addition, the material is suitable for the manufacture of, for example, hoses, grips and handles, or flexible cable holders and sheaths, across the spectrum if industrial production.

PrimePart® FR for the Aerospace Sector

The new flame-retardant material is especially suitable for application in the aerospace sector. PrimePart® FR (PA 2241 FR) is a flame-retardant Polyamide 12 for processing on the EOSINT P 3xx and P 7xx systems. This replenishable material – the recommendation is to use at least 60 percent new powder - meets the relevant flame-proof requirements at wall thicknesses of just 1.0 mm. The replenishability significantly cuts the costs of part manufacturing. In addition, the material demonstrates improved mechanical properties: A tensile strength of 49 MPa with an elongation at break of fifteen percent. This means that PrimePart® FR exceeds the extremely successful PA 2210 FR, which, until now was the only flame-retardant PA 12 material in the EOS portfolio. Typical applications in the field of airplane interiors would include ventilation ducts and outlet vents.

“With these plastic materials we are reacting to two needs that our customers have brought more and more to our attention - the provision of materials that allow for new applications, while keeping a firm eye on cost-efficiencies. The soft, rubber-like PrimePart® ST has received euphoric feedback from our test-customers, which bodes well for the material's introduction to the market. It's a similar story with PrimePart® FR. The rising cost pressures in the aerospace sector and the increasing demand for light-weight parts mean that PrimePart® FR is ideally suited for meeting today's requirements”, summarizes Fabian Müller, Product Marketing Manager Polymers at EOS.

EOS NickelAlloy HX

EOS is also expanding its portfolio of metal materials with the immediate commercial introduction of EOS NickelAlloy HX. The heat and corrosion resistant nickel-chrome-iron-molybdenum alloy distinguishes itself through a high degree of strength and its resistance to oxidization, even at high temperatures. For this reason it will see frequent application in temperatures up to the region of 1,200ºC. The material is optimized for processing in the EOSINT M 280 metal system, and is typically processed with a layer-thickness of 20 µm.

Christiane Krempl, Product Marketing Manager Metals decribes the potential application for the alloy: “The material is particularly well suited for deployment in applications that are exposed to high thermal forces giving rise to a significant risk of oxidization. Typical areas of deployment that we are seeing include aerospace, for example, with combustion chambers and their components parts. The material is also ideal for use in heating elements, in conveyor ovens, or industrial blast furnaces.”

Andreas Graichen, Product Developer (Gas Turbines) at Siemens Energy adds: “We use EOS' additive manufacturing process for constructing prototypes, for 'rapid manufacturing', and 'rapid repair'. Thanks to this technology we are able to cut repair times and thereby reduce costs for customers commissioning us in the repair of industrial gas turbines. In the construction process we use the Nickel Alloy HX. Its material properties make it ideally suited for repair works, as it is able to withstand the high temperatures to which the gas turbines are constantly exposed. For the repair, the complete burner is brought into the tailor-made EOS-Metal System: We leave the structure intact, remove the outer 20mm, and then simply print a new combustion-head. This process ensures significant savings both in terms of repair times and costs.”

Parts build from EOS NickelAlloy HX can be subsequently heat-treated in order to partially modify the characteristics of the material. Whether hardened or in their original built form, parts can be finished as required, and surplus unexposed material can be re-used.

For more information, visit: www.eos.info/systems_solutions

Published in EOS

Global athletic leader New Balance is proud to announce a significant advancement in the use of 3D printing to customize high performance products for athletes.   Utilizing a proprietary process, the brand is able to produce spike plates customized to the individual needs and desires of their elite athletes.   At the New Balance Games in January 2013, Team New Balance athlete, Jack Bolas, became the first ever track athlete to compete in customized, 3D printed plates.

New Balance has developed a proprietary process for utilizing a runner's individual biomechanical data to create hyper-customized spike plates designed to improve performance.  The process requires race simulation biomechanical data which the New Balance Sports Research Lab collects using a force plate, in-shoe sensors and a motion capture system.   Advanced algorithms and software are then applied to translate this data into custom 3D printed spike designs.

For the production of the custom plates, New Balance uses selective laser sintering (SLS) to convert powder materials into solid cross-sections, layer by layer using a laser.  SLS printing enables the customization process by allowing for complex designs that could not be achieved through traditional manufacturing methods.  Additionally, SLS printing greatly accelerates the turnaround time from design to functional part.

"Utilizing our Team New Balance Athletes to develop the customization process was extremely helpful", says Sean Murphy, New Balance's Senior Manager of Innovation and Engineering.   "We are impressed with their precise ability to identify and speak to the differences in the custom options provided.  They are acutely aware of what is happening in their shoes".

NB Athletes involved in the development of this process included: 2008 and 2012 US Olympic Athlete and current 1500m World Champion gold medalist Jenny Barringer Simpson, 2012 US Olympic Athlete Kim Conley, 2012 Great Britain Olympic Athlete Barbara Parker and 4 time All-American runner in the 800m, 1500m and the Mile Jack Bolas. These athletes provided key feedback in order to develop spike plates that spoke to each individual athlete's personal preference, biomechanics and specific race needs.

In addition to printing semi-rigid parts like spike plates for track runners, New Balance is working on softer SLS printed components that mimic the cushioning properties of foam midsoles.  This initiative will be critical to bringing the customization process to a broader audience of athletes .   

"With 3D printing we are able to pursue performance customization at a new level to help our elite NB athletes and eventually all athletes. We believe this is the future of performance footwear and we are excited to bring this to consumers," says New Balance President and CEO Robert DeMartini. "As the only major athletic brand to manufacture shoes in the U.S., we are proud to invest in American workers.    Developing our printing capabilities could ultimately help us further invest in the American worker by adding highly technical positions to our already skilled labor force in Massachusetts and Maine."

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently the only athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. with 25% of our U.S. footwear shipments produced at five New England facilities. The company also operates a manufacturing facility in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 4000 associates around the globe, and in 2012 reported worldwide sales of $2.4 billion.

For more information, visit: www.newbalance.com

Published in New Balance

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced that its Paramount team was selected by Pennsylvania as one of the state’s Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania, RAMP, awardees.  3D Systems has committed resources and know-how to the development of novel Nano composites to be used with its proprietary Selective Laser Sintering 3D printing technology to meet Pennsylvania’s custom manufacturing vision and requirements.
 
3D Systems’ Paramount team offers world-class AS9100C and ISO9001:2008 certified rapid product development and manufacturing. Paramount, in collaboration with Lehigh University, was chosen on competitive merit by RAMP after demonstrating technology and manufacturing readiness.

“This award represents our unwavering commitment to the research, development and commercialization of rapid manufacturing solutions,” said Jim Williams, Managing Director, Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing, 3D Systems. “The success of this project will benefit Pennsylvania directly, as well as our nation, as the interest in 3D printing and advanced digital manufacturing continues to grow.”
 
For more information, visit: www.ices.cmu.edu/ramp

Published in 3D Systems

Solvay’s Engineering Plastics business unit announced the launch of Sinterline™ the first range of PA6 powders developed specifically for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

“Laser sintered parts manufactured using Sinterline™ display a thermal resistance and stiffness similar to those injection-molded in polyamide 6, ”explains Ralph Rissé, Business Development Manager for Solvay’s Engineering Plastics business unit. “This innovation extends the limits of rapid manufacturing enabling cost-effective production of functional prototypes and small series components.”

Solution F/E2R, a leading company specializing in engineering and rapid prototyping techniques for recreational vehicles and aerospace applications, has manufactured parts such as air-intake ducts and brake fluid tanks which highlight the inherent qualities of Sinterline™. Other parts are being developed to equip the cockpit of the Solar Impulse, the pioneering solar powered plane for which Solvay is the first main partner.

“Thanks to a resistant and excellent surface finish, Sinterline™ will broaden the range of laser sintered parts,”comments Hermann Hanning, Technical Manager, LSS Laser Sinter Service GmbH, one of Europe’s rapid prototyping specialists. “We are convinced that it will quickly establish itself as the ideal material for numerable automotive and electronics applications.”

SOLVAY is an international chemical Group committed to sustainable development with a clear focus on innovation and operational excellence. Its recent acquisition of specialty chemicals company Rhodia created a much larger player, which is realizing over 90% of its sales in markets where it is among the top 3 global leaders. Solvay offers a broad range of products that contribute to improving the quality of life and the performance of its customers in markets such as consumer goods, construction, automotive, energy, water and environment, and electronics. The Group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries and generated EUR 12.7 billion in net sales in 2011 (pro forma). Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB – Reuters: SOLBt.BR).

For information, visit: www.solvay.com

Published in Rhodia Group

EOS will be presenting two new materials at this year's EuroMold in hall 11, booth E148 – PrimePart® PLUS and PA 1101. Peter Klink, EVP Sales at EOS: "With these two new materials, EOS is extending its range of plastic materials clearly towards ecology, technical performance and low manufacturing costs, allowing standard components to be manufactured even more efficiently using laser-sintering."

PrimePart PLUS (PA 2221): high performance combined with cost efficiency

The material PrimePart Plus (PA 2221) represents a breakthrough in polymer development. The material can evidently be refreshed using only a thirty per cent share of new powder, resulting in a powder cycle with minimum scrap quantities. This improves the cost efficiency and sustainability of the laser-sintering process, since conventional laser-sintering materials are usually refreshed using fifty per cent or more new powder. This does not lead to diminished technical performance of the material and the key performance indicators achieved are only slightly lower than those of PA 2200.

PA 1101: new polymer class made of renewing resources  

The PA 1101 material is a natural-colored polyamide 11 which is characterized by high elongation at break and impact resistance with a balanced performance profile. The material is based on renewing resources and can thus be classified positively in environmental terms. On account of its material properties, the material is particularly suitable for applications with functional elements which require high material ductility (e.g. integral hinges) and ones where high impact resistance is important. Another typical application for this material is for components which do not allow chipping (e.g. passenger cell in vehicles). Klink adds: "Our customers expect material solutions that support the ever widening range of applications in the best possible way. With PA 1101 we have been able to significantly extend our portfolio previously dominated by polyamide 12. We are looking forward to new and exciting applications which have not been possible with the materials available so far, or only by adapting the design accordingly."

For more information, visit: www.eos.info/en/products/materials/materials-for-plastic-systems.html

Published in EOS

EOS will be presenting the FORMIGA P 110 - successor model of the established and very successful plastic laser-sintering system FORMIGA P 100 - at this year's EuroMold in hall 11, booth E148. The FORMIGA P 110 continues to be the system of choice in the compact class, offering the flexible, cost-effective and highly productive entry into the world of laser- sintering.

Peter Klink, EVP Sales at EOS, adds: “’FORMIGA-quality' has already become a quality label for the additive manufacturing of plastics. This ongoing development of the P 100 product line will help us to further extend our lead in the compact class." Various EOS parameter sets enable a focus both on economic efficiency and component properties such as surface quality. With short throughput times and comparatively low investment costs, the  FORMIGA P 110 can be integrated perfectly into production environments that require maximum flexibility.

The system is suitable for the economic production of small series and customized products with complex geometries. This makes it ideal for small, sophisticated components used in the medical device industry or for high-value consumer goods, for example. With a build envelope of 200 mm x 250 mm x 330 mm, the system manufactures products made of polyamide or polystyrene directly from CAD data within only a few hours.

Hannes Kuhn, Managing Director of Kuhn-Stoff GmbH and a pilot customer for the FORMIGA P 110: "The additional parameter sets 'Balance 1.0' (120 µm layer thickness) and 'Top Quality 1.0' (60 µm layer thickness) allow an even more detailed and flexible production. The increased build rate rounds off the advantages compared with the FORMIGA P 100."

Innovations for use in production

Numerous technical innovations have been integrated in the FORMIGA P 110, all of which enhance process stability and reproducibility even further. These include the newly designed 4-channel heating and the use of a single-point pyrometer. Least-cost integration in factories that have a central nitrogen supply system is guaranteed by an external nitrogen connection. The established dosing and coating system was retained. The system is extremely user- and maintenance-friendly and requires just a minimum of accessories. Low energy consumption and thus overall costs of operation were other important factors considered in the design process. The FORMIGA P 110 is a door-passing laser-sintering system with low erection requirements. It can be installed and calibrated in less than two days. Since data preparation can conveniently take place at the workstation, the system is also very suitable for decentralized production areas. The high level of automation and ergonomic peripheral equipment of the FORMIGA P 110 also permit comfortable handling and optimum utilization of machine capacity and materials.

For more information, visit: www.eos.info/en/products/systems-equipment/plastic-laser-sintering-systems/formiga-p-110.html

Published in EOS

Mission Motors was born when three engineers got together to create the world's highest performance electric motorcycles. Forrest North, Edward West, and Mason Cabot first built an electric motorcycle prototype from a converted Ducati motorcycle, which proved the team's claims that electric motorcycles were both viable and exciting. Every rider who got on the bike was enthusiastic, saying it was unlike anything they had ever ridden. Work toward the second prototype began soon after. In order to create a truly high-performance electric motorcycle, the growing team had to develop their own electric powertrain, as off-the-shelf offerings were not equal to the task.

According to Edward West, green is hot. “We recognized that electric motorcycle racing was at the intersection of motorsports and green technology, and we wanted to be there first.” The second prototype evolved into the Mission One Premier Limited Edition, one of the highest performing electric vehicles in the world, with an AMA record-setting top speed of 150 mph and a range of 150 miles on a single charge.

Rapid Manufacturing
“The ability to produce prototype parts through rapid manufacturing is a revelation to us. It enables us to create parts that we know will fit together, with extremely rapid design cycles. In this fast-paced industry, there is no substitute for rapid prototype iterations. Cutting out the long lead times for production tooling for injection molding or CNC machining enables us to focus on core technology development,” West said.

When it comes to creating rapid manufactured components for their all-new racing motorcycle, Mission relies on Solid Concepts Inc. The front sub-frame and dashboard was created as a single part made out of SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) glass-filled nylon. “The dash had several really complex design elements that would have been almost impossible to replicate through any other method of production, including machining the part out of metal or plastic,” West said. The component is used on the final bike, as a fully functional SLS component. It was delivered with all the attachment features from the original drawing and “within days of releasing the CAD file, we received the sub-frame in the mail, and it fit perfectly.”

The component was designed in solid modeling CAD software, and went through several iterations before the engineers at Mission Motors were satisfied with the design. The CAD data was then ported into an STL file for use with Solid Concepts’ SLS system. The final software design was the one that was produced. The part was put through Solid Concept’s ColorTek process to color the SLS part black. No additional finishing work was required when the part was delivered to the Mission Motors team. The part was also delivered with threaded brass inserts already in place so that it could be dropped right in. Edward responded by saying, “This is how far the available technology has come. We’re making high precision parts, one-off, for the final bike. In fact, what we designed was more than just the dash, it was the whole front sub-frame, which holds up the LCD dash display, the data acquisition unit, and is a mount for the front fairing used to reduce drag.”

Mission Motors has learned to rely on Solid Concepts for more than just production parts for their high-performance motorcycles. The engineers also take advantage of other services the company offers, including creating prototypes for fit, form, and functional analysis as well as for creating one-off prototypes used for testing and trials. Solid Concepts has become an integral part of the Mission Motors supply chain.

Moving Forward from Here
For 2011, The Mission One R race bike features an advanced electric powertrain, an integrated custom-built chassis with suspension elements and controls selected for race handling and performance, and a liquid cooled AC induction motor with 130 lb-ft of torque for speeds up to 160+ mile per hour. The motor runs at over 6500 rpm, and it takes eight revolutions of the motor for one of the rear wheel. The bike has a fixed ratio (no transmission), but there is a gear reduction as well as a chain drive employed in the system.

The advanced electric powertrain that lies at the core of the Mission One motorcycle pushes the boundaries of electric vehicle technology to achieve higher density, higher performance, and greater control. This technology has also found an OEM vehicle market eager to electrify their vehicle offerings. Because of this Mission began creating electric powertrain systems and components for OEM applications. The company launched the Mission Electric Performance Technology (MissionEVT), a division of the company dedicated to creating software, components, and integrated electric drive systems for OEM applications.

For more information, visit: www.ridemission.com or www.SolidConcepts.com

Published in Solid Concepts

Innovative tailor-made seats will be used for the first time by Paralympics GB for the wheelchair basketball events this summer. Using cutting-edge research the seats are individually moulded for each player to provide the best possible support. They will help the athletes to improve their speed, acceleration and manoeuvrability around the court. The seats have been developed with UK Sport funding at Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute, which is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The new seats are revolutionary because they take the individual’s size, shape and particular disability into account. For example, a player with a spinal cord injury will have a seat that provides additional support around their lower back.

Harnessing a range of cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques and developed in close consultation with the British men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams, these customised seats consist of a foam interior and a plastic shell. They are simply clamped onto the current wheelchair design in which the frames are already made to measure for the players. Team members initially underwent 3D scans to capture their bodies’ biomechanical movements and their positions in their existing wheelchairs. A moulding bag containing small polystyrene balls (similar to a bean bag style seat), was used to capture the shape of the player when seated. The seat was then made up by hand.

Computer-aided design (CAD) capabilities were then used to refine the shape of the outer layer of the seat to suit each individual player and help position the seat onto the frame. Using this prototype the next stage involved quickly producing copies of each individual seat so that they could be further tested and amended if necessary following feedback. For this speedy production an additive manufacturing technique called selective laser sintering (otherwise known as 3D printing) was used to build up each seat layer by layer. This resulted in a final product that exactly replicated what was on the computer screen. This is the first time anywhere in the world that these existing techniques have been harnessed together to produce a sports wheelchair seat.

For more information, visit: www.epsrc.ac.uk

Published in EPSRC

Bayer MaterialScience and Solid Composites GmbH are partnering to develop thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powders for selective laser sintering. This innovative method for fabricating three-dimensional structures is based on the use of a laser beam to sinter powdered starting materials. The start-up company based in Voerde, on the Lower Rhine, will be awarded a brand license to market the new high-tech materials under the name Desmosint. This opens the door to numerous potential applications, for instance in the automotive industry, in sports goods, robotics or aerospace engineering. Solid Composites is a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT).

“Solid Composites has made a name for itself as a creative developer and supplier of thermoplastic powders for laser sintering and electrostatic coating, among other things, and is therefore the partner of choice for us when it comes to successfully marketing our TPU innovation,” explains Jürgen Hättig, TPU marketing specialist at Bayer MaterialScience.

No molds necessary

Selective laser sintering is becoming a firmly established digital manufacturing method in the additive manufacturing of plastic parts. A part is made from a thermoplastic powder based on the part’s structural design data. Guided by CAD software, a laser fuses successive layers of a powder bed at selected points where the part is to emerge. In other words, the part “grows” layer by layer. “The method eliminates the use of molds, and that cuts costs considerably. Furthermore, in contrast to injection molding, even parts having complex geometries with cavities and undercuts can be rendered,” explains Marcus Rechberger, general manager of Solid Composites.

Material gap closed

Until now, primarily soft, elastic materials and rigid thermoplastics, such as polyamide, were commercially available for selective laser sintering. “Our TPU products, with their high toughness, elasticity and strength, have now closed the gap between these material classes. And that opens the door to good application opportunities,” Hättig says. The first representative of the new class of TPUs is Desmosint X 92 A-1. One of its advantages is that the space in which the TPU is processed layer by layer must be maintained at a temperature of only 80 °C, in contrast to polyamide, for instance, which is processed at slightly below its melting temperature. “Because heating the processing space generates most of the total energy cost, this method results in significant savings on energy. And our TPU has only a very low tendency to warp, meaning the sintering process runs very stably. Lastly, the non-sintered powder does not age inside the processing space and therefore can be used for the next job, an enormous cost advantage compared to the classical laser sintering material PA12,” Hättig explains.

Potential use even in high-volume production

Selective laser sintering typically offers great design freedom and is particularly suited to the additive manufacturing of short to extremely short runs, for instance in the production of components like housing parts, bellows and hoses for full-size and luxury sedans. When used with the TPU products, the method also is ideal for producing custom components, such as orthopedic shoe inlays, athletic shoes, helmets and prosthetic devices. “Beyond that, the technology may prove suitable in high-volume production, too, particularly in those cases where part geometries are very intricate and the cost of injection molds high. In these scenarios, the use of several sintering machines can be more cost efficient,” Rechberger explains. At the end of the part’s service life, the plastic is fully recyclable.

For more information, visit: www.materialscience.bayer.com or www.solidcomposites.de

Published in Bayer MaterialScience

What are the architectural implications for the future of organic structures? That’s a question that Sunil Kumar has considered for some time now. It’s a long ranging concern that he’s been researching not through the weight of his school’s assignments, but on his own. “I’m curious about understanding and experimenting with complex geometries that border on the organic, while still offering structural integrity,” Sunil said.

To proceed on his ideas, Sunil produced some designs using Rhino, then tried to expand on those designs using 3D max. “Originally, I was interested in increasing my knowledge of a different software system,” he said. “What I realized though was how difficult it is to maintain the integrity of a complex structure in some programs. Especially structures like my Twisted Tower design.”

Maintaining the integrity in CAD is one thing, but producing an actual model is another. Sunil realized that he’d need to produce a prototype to really see how the structure worked out. For example, was he sure that all connections were accurate, or that they provided the proper thickness. He also wanted to investigate outside sources for his designs. The school has its own rapid prototyping equipment, but there are many other pieces of equipment to work with, and many other services available. He ran across ZoomRP on the Internet. The company offers the lowest costs and the fastest turnaround in the industry.

“I contacted ZoomRP to try out one of my first 3D max designs,” Sunil said. “I thought I had all the geometry straightened out but wanted some solid proof. The software appeared to make the geometry fairly straight forward, although it took some work going over it to be sure.”

The final product was uploaded to the ZoomRP website to go through the fabrication process then overnight delivery. Sunil had no plans or need for post prep work like sanding or painting because the whole idea was to see how well the structure could be produced the first time out.

According to Sunil, ZoomRP worked out extremely well overall for the trial. The accuracy of the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) white prototype allowed even the most fragile sections to turn out well. “Some areas were a little on the thin side, but that was due to the geometries put into 3D max,” he said. The structure did prove to be very strong, which is what he was looking for. “The CAD geometry needs to be tightened up, but I have to do that myself,” he said.

SLS is an additive rapid manufacturing process that builds 3D parts by using a laser to fuse a powdered material. Once a CAD file is uploaded to the ZoomRP site it is mathematically sliced into 2D cross-sections. The part is then built layer-by-layer until it is complete. These parts can be created from a range of powder materials, including Nylon-11 and Nylon-12 polyamides, or nylons with fillers such as glass beads, aramid or carbon fibers, and metals such as tool steel, stainless steel, and cobalt chromoloy, as well as other alloys.

The strength of the material, as well as the accuracy of the SLS machine allows complex structures to be tested for their strength and functionality. SLS prototyping and manufacturing equipment can be used for shapes that are too complex for machining. Internally complicated structures can easily be built using additive technologies where other methods cannot compete.

Sunil plans to continue his research on producing a cleaner CAD file to eliminate some of the thin areas, and plans to produce other prototypes in the future.

For more information, visit: www.zoomrp.com

Published in Solid Concepts

Cideas, Inc., leading Rapid Prototyping, Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) and 3D Printing company announced its acquisition of 3D Systems sPRO™ 60 HD HS. The purchase comes in response to growing demand for high definition prototypes and parts for aerospace, consumer products and medical industries.

"The sPRO™ 60 HD HS allows us to manufacture high-definition, durable plastic parts from a broad range of available thermoplastics," said Cideas President Mike Littrell. "What makes this a significant machine, is the digital scanning feature, a fairly new technology that is currently unavailable to the sPRO™ 140 and sPRO™ 230. "The part quality is extremely impressive; it enables us to create complex assemblies, as well as, production quantities with ease."

Cideas is the world's largest independently owned service provider of the Fused Deposition Modeling™ technology. Within months of relocating to their new state-of-the-art Chicago-land based facility, Cideas has installed two large frame Fortus Fused Deposition Modeling™ systems and one Selective Laser Sintering® system.

Cideas will display 3D printing technology, prototypes and parts at RAPID 2012, May 23-24, 2012. RAPID is North America's definitive additive manufacturing conference and exposition for design, prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing technologies.

Founded in 1998, Cideas is the largest independently owned service provider of the Fused Deposition Modeling™ technology. Their new state of the art Chicago-land based facility was specifically designed to house their 16+ FDM™ systems, as well as; Selective Laser Sintering®, Polyjet™ systems, Urethane casting and Stereolithography® services. The new facility also boasts "in house" paint, polishing and pattern finishing services. Cideas supports over 10 different FDM materials such as: ABS-M30, M30i, ABS-ESD7, PC-ABS, PC-ISO, PC, ULTEM 9085, PPSF / PPSU, P400, and ABS F1. In addition to FDM™, the company offers an additional 15+ materials with Polyjet™, Selective Laser Sintering® (SLS®), Stereolithography® (SLA®), Urethane Casting, CAD Engineering and full model finishing services. Cideas is a member of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

For more information, visit: www.buildparts.com or www.production3dprinters.com/sls/spro-60-hd-sls-production-printer

Published in Cideas

Racing can be a very personal event, especially when you do it for fun. And that’s what Club Racing is all about. The riders who race at Willow Springs International Raceway (Rosamond, CA) have a once-a-month (for eleven months) opportunity to race. The race track is over fifty years old, and is a challenging 2.5 miles long. According to Donnie Belansky, “There can be anywhere from five to fifteen motorcycles racing in his class at a time over a weekend.

Donnie races in the Formula Twin Heavyweight class on his Aprilia Mille R, 1000 V-Twin 2002 motorcycle. “I’m racing an old bike against a lot of newer bikes out there,” he explains. Nonetheless, Donnie came in Second Place at this past year’s Championship Races. And this, after missing two of the meets. “I have the heaviest bike out there,” he said, “so I have to make up time with high corner speeds.”

To help inch his speeds up, Donnie has begun to lighten his bike a little at a time. He has swapped out some components for standard plastic parts he’s been able to find, but now he’s begun to change out some of the components using fabricated components from Solid Concepts, Inc. (Valencia, CA).

The first thing Donnie replaced was the bottom belly pan. He replaced the pan with a part that was manufactured using a fiberglass layup process by Solid Concepts. This is a process where sheets of fiberglass are skillfully cut and laminated with proprietary epoxies. Panels are created from a one-sided layup tool where the A side geometry is accurately reproduced. The back, or B side, of the geometry often requires brackets, hinges, boss clusters, and/or other hardware. The use of proprietary fixtures allows Solid Concepts to precision locate B-side hardware, providing a much tighter fitting assembly with consistent and level reveals.

The fiberglass panels have exceptional surface finish, ideal for single sided cosmetic purposes. Additionally, the process allows for faster production of large parts when compared to the pricier alternative, RIM (Reaction Injection Molding). Although typical application for this process includes large cosmetic prototype panels for automotive, agricultural, construction and medical industries, the 2009 introduction of UL 94 V0 Fire retardant materials has enticed other industries, like motorsports, to turn to fiberglass. The components created are light and very tough.

“Using the fiberglass process to provide the belly pan took about 3.25 pounds off the bike. The next item Donnie plans to replace using Solid Concepts’ Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process is the air box system. Then, he plans to modify the tail section using either Fused Deposition Modeling or SLS. This will take even more weight off the bike, which will help Donnie increase his corner speeds from his already 150 mph plus speeds.

Rather than spending additional time and energy performing post processing for the parts, Donnie depends on another of his sponsors, one11inc, who provides body wraps for all the new parts. Other sponsors include Silkolene Oil, and Bill Belansky, Donnie’s brother, at PCEC Racing.

Due to the combination of high corner speeds and a lighter-weight bike, Donnie has been able to compete with newer and lighter motorcycles and still hold his own.

For more information, visit: www.SolidConcepts.com

Published in Solid Concepts

Following the recent expansion of SLS production capabilities, Laser Prototypes are pleased to announce the addition of three functional new materials to their SLS range.

PrimeCast 101 - combines high accuracy, fine surface quality and good strength making it ideally suited for the production of casting patterns. A low melting point and minimum ash residue have proven popular for use in the production of lost patterns for investment castings.

PrimePart FR - Ideally suited to the electronic, aerospace and automotive industries. Primepart FR is flame retardant offers high temperature resistance with a melting point of 176 degrees C.

Alumide - Metallic in appearance and offering exceptional surface finishing properties. Alumide has high strength and high heat capacity and is suitable for the production of tools for wind tunnel testing. High stiffness and part quality make Alumide popular for small series production of tools and fixtures.

Speaking on the recent expansion of SLS capabilities at Laser Prototypes, Sales Director, Campbell Evans stated "We have noticed an increased level of interest in SLS for production over the past year, in order to keep pace with this growing demand we felt the addition of the Formiga Machine was the next logical step as it allowed us to increase not only our production capacity but also our SLS materials range"

For more information, visit: www.laserproto.com

Published in Laser Prototypes

German industrial control and automation company, Festo, a world leading supplier of pneumatically- and electrically-actuated automation systems, is using additive manufacturing (AM) to produce a bionic gripper that can pick up and put down objects flexibly, reliably, gently and safely. Fast and economical batch production of the complex components at the company's Esslingen factory is achieved using a FORMIGA P 100 plastic laser-sintering machine from EOS.

The advantages over conventional manufacturing practices are many. Due to the design freedom afforded by layer-by-layer AM, the number of individual parts has been reduced, making assembly less costly. As injection mould tools are not needed, further time and cost savings result. The weight of the gripper is lower, as it can be made from polyamide instead of metal, which is an advantage in some applications.

The so-called Bionic Handling Assistant was awarded the 2010 Deutscher Zukunftspreis, a technology and innovation award endowed annually by the German Federal President. Unlike conventional industrial robots, the pneumatically controlled unit has the particular benefit that direct contact with people is not hazardous, as in the event of a collision the system yields immediately. The design allows for smooth movement, with 11 degrees of freedom and an unparalleled weight / payload ratio.

Festo has been gathering experience with AM since 1995. What began with concept models and functional prototypes has developed into the manufacture of several thousands of parts per year.

Products derived from nature are often of complex design. The flexible bionic handling assistance system is based on an elephant's trunk and consists of three elements for spatial movement. At the end is a 'hand', called a DHDG adaptive gripper, modelled on a fish fin.

Klaus Müller-Lohmeier, head of advanced prototyping technology at Festo AG, said, "The gripper's functionality and structure, incorporating components of complex geometry, makes it impossible to produce the product by any means other than AM.

"Just four components produced in a FORMIGA P100 are sufficient to make a complete Bionic Handling Assistant.

"Thanks to the design freedom that laser-sintering gives us, we can manufacture movable, flexible but also specifically rigid shapes, just as they occur in nature.

"Our designers can operate independently of the restrictions of conventional manufacturing techniques and concentrate fully on the implementation of the natural principles they have analysed.

"We are using laser-sintering more and more for projects in which limited annual quantities of a complex part are required. In these cases, the process is a real alternative to existing, often tool-based methods."

The fish fin-inspired DHDG adaptive gripper is now integrated into Festo's product range and is already used by customers all over the world. Its structure may be adapted for a user's specific application. The gripper fingers adjust precisely to the contour of a workpiece and even sensitive objects or those of complex shape can be gripped and moved safely.

Noteworthy is that the gripper elements have their final functionality immediately after laser-sintering, without the need for expensive assembly. Accordingly, laser-sintering is a manufacturing precondition. Festo says that there is no practical alternative.

Moreover, the DHDG adaptive gripper is 80 per cent lighter than conventional grippers made of metal. The fact that plastic is able to replace metal is due to the ability of the laser-sintering process to produce lightweight, elastic yet very strong structures. Studies have shown that the gripper elements can withstand more than five million bending cycles.

Müller-Lohmeier concluded by mentioning that tool-less production with AM is especially cost-efficient. In an unrelated customer project, Festo manufactured 12,000 components by laser-sintering as an alternative technology, saving 40 per cent of the unit cost compared with injection moulding.

All parts were finished within one week in just four build cycles, whereas conventional production would have taken two months. The company was therefore able to launch the product much faster.

EOS was founded in 1989 and is today the world's leading manufacturer of laser-sintering systems. Laser-sintering is the key technology for e-Manufacturing, the fast, flexible and cost effective production of products, patterns and tools. The technology manufactures parts for every phase of the product life cycle, directly from electronic data. Laser-sintering accelerates product development and optimises production processes. EOS completed its business year 2009/2010 with revenues of 64 million Euros. The company employs 300 people worldwide, 250 of them in Krailling near Munich, Germany.

For more information, visit: www.eos.info or www.festo.com



Published in EOS

3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD) announced today the introduction of a powerful new Rapid-Manufacturing design guide created expressly for designers and engineers that are driving end-use manufacturing applications using SLS® 3D Production Printers for selective laser sintering applications. The guide delivers a compelling collection of high value SLS® 3D printing applications.

3D Systems worked closely with industry leading companies and their digital designers to amass this collection of stunning and functional designs along with the invaluable tools and instruction that illustrate how to achieve the full potential of SLS® 3D printing.

“We are pleased to share this powerful collection of 3D content-to-print knowledge reflecting the cumulative wisdom and experience of our innovative customers the world over,” said Kevin McAlea, Vice President and General Manager, 3D Production Printers, 3D Systems. “We are deeply grateful to all of the pioneers, creators and contributors on this exciting publication and look forward to continued collaboration and updates as we expand and share this body of expertise.”

The design guide is available at: www.production3dprinters.com/resources/sls-plastics-design-guide

Published in 3D Systems

Paramount Industries, Inc., a world-class product development / rapid deployment and manufacturing services company, participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard on August 27, 2011. The press conference included remarks from Mayor Michael Nutter, Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart, US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, as well as other dignitaries and program managers. Jim Williams, Paramount Industries’ President and CEO, presented a commemorative award to CNO Admiral Roughead - a 3D printed replica of the USS United States frigate created using laser sintering.

“Today we are pleased to focus our attention to the history of the US Navy, STEM education programs and the next generation of America’s workforce,” said Williams. “It is an honor to support military leaders, government officials, academia and young students in this capacity.”

USS United States was a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy constructed by the Naval Act of 1794. It was larger and more heavily armed than standard frigates of the period. Built at Humphrey's shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the USS United States was launched in 1797 and immediately began duties with the newly formed Navy.

The 3D model was manufactured at Paramount Industries facility for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing using 3D digital scanning and selective laser sintering, an advanced 3D printing technology. These technologies are currently used to deliver prototypes and customized production-ready parts for the medical device, electronics and consumer products industries. Paramount has rapidly manufactured and deployed critical components to high profile aerospace and defense programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Wolfhound Handheld Threat Warning System and the Honeywell T-Hawk.

The ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the launch of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program, a new STEM initiative at Temple University. MESA is an academic preparation program that serves pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. During the event, Mayor Nutter spoke about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Research studies show a strong correlation between STEM education and competitiveness and economic prosperity. Science, technology, engineering and math graduates and undergraduates are the highly-skilled and professional workers who make future contributions to society and the workforce.

“It is critical for business leaders and government officials to support education programs that promote innovation, encourage young students and move professionals into the technology-driven future,” said Williams. “Breakthrough technologies, such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing, allow for smarter engineering and manufacturing of products designed to protect the nation’s military on the front lines where it’s needed the most. In addition to helping those who protect our liberties and freedoms, additive manufacturing offers significant advantages: it returns the competitive edge to American-based manufacturers, allows businesses to create new jobs and strengthens the US economy.”

Founded in 1966, Paramount Industries, Inc. is among the world's most experienced providers of product development services, including design engineering, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, direct digital manufacturing, rapid manufacturing, tooling, urethane casting, injection molding and contract manufacturing. Paramount is AS9100 and ISO 9001:2008 certified and ITAR registered. Paramount holds active memberships with the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG), Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Keystone Chapter AUVSI, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials). Paramount Industries employs nearly 50 engineers, technicians, program and business managers at its Langhorne, Pennsylvania-based research, development and manufacturing facility.

For more information, visit: www.paramountind.com

Published in Paramount Industries

OPM is very pleased to announce it has secured funding for the purchase of an EOSINT P 800 SLS machine for the production of the firm’s OsteoFab™ medical implants. The funding was provided by the Connecticut Innovations, Inc.’s BioScience Facilities Fund. Financing is in the form of special debt instrument. The equipment is part of a multi-million dollar project to produce medical implants through additive fabrication with the firm’s proprietary OXPEKK® products which have properties comparable to human bone. The facility will be certified to ISO 13485, ISO 9001 and AS9100 and be equipped with clean rooms and world-class design and inspection capabilities. The project is expected to be completed by September 2011.

“We are very pleased that CI has provided the funding via their BioScience Facilities Fund for this extremely important project. We have had a long, successful relationship with CI that has resulted in positive financial return on their previous investment and the growth of jobs and world class technologies in the state,” said Scott DeFelice, President of OPM. “We are exceedingly confident that this particular undertaking will further position our firm and the state on the leading edge of biomedical and manufacturing technologies.”

OPM currently sells its biomedical polymeric OXPEKK® products on a global basis with regulatory approvals from the FDA, KFDA, ANVISA, COFEPRIS, and several CE Marks. It has traditionally sold these products as raw materials. With the addition of the EOSINT P 800, however, it will now be able to provide value-added manufacturing in-house. The P 800 allows for direct digital additive manufacturing through selective laser sintering (SLS), which means nearly anything that can be designed can be built with the firm’s implantable polymer. This enhanced capability positions the firm to lead innovation in biomedical technologies and the polymer market. The initial focus of the firm’s efforts will be the production of custom cranial and maxillofacial implants which are anatomically identical implants derived directly from a CT scan or MRI.

For more information, visit: www.oxfordpm.com

.MGX by Materialise is thrilled to announce that the One_Shot.MGX stool by Patrick Jouin now forms part of the permanent collection at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The stool, now considered an icon of modern design, has been displayed at numerous museums internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Manufactured in a single piece via 3D printing, the stool transforms via gravity and a simple twist, from a foldable state into a strong, elegant seat.

The One_Shot.MGX is a foldable stool which is manufactured by selective laser sintering as one complete piece; the stool emerges from the machine in its final form, complete with hinges that are concealed by the graceful structure of the stool itself. By virtue of gravity combined with a simple twist, an array of rods transforms, in one flowing movement, into a small, useful, strong seat.

For more information visit: www.mgxbymaterialise.com/component/one/mgxmodel/detail/detail/45

Published in Materialise

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