Industrial 3D printing reaches new heights


In the 35 years since the commercial introduction of additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, the palette of machines, materials and methods has expanded significantly – and new sales reports confirm this. Large surface, scalable or on the spot platforms with 3D printed tools and resins with a range of mechanical properties, additive manufacturing seems to innovate on a daily basis. Even electronics giant and 2D printer maker Epson is getting into the additive game, announcing its industrial-grade 3D printer on March 7. The machine’s flat-screw extrusion method allows it to print resin or metal pellets and high-performance thermoplastics like PEEK. The printer debuted at the International Robot Exhibition 2022, which opened on March 9 in Tokyo.

Global shipments of industrial 3D printers grew 39% year-over-year in the first three quarters of 2021, according to a recent report by IT market intelligence firm CONTEXT. Business printer shipments have remained strong during the pandemic, the data shows, growing 14% year-over-year for this period and growing 13% from the same period in 2019.

This year, the spotlight should be on high-temperature material extrusion thermoplastics, composites, lean supply chain and the role of additives alongside digital manufacturing, said Chris Connery, head of of global analytics at CONTEXT.

AT Plastec West, you will have the opportunity to have a close view of the state-of-the-art additive machines and methods of the best suppliers. As part of the Informa Markets – Engineering (IME) West event at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA from April 12-14, Plastec West is co-located with Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M), WestPack, the ATX automation show and Design & Manufacturing (D&M). Exhibitors showcasing 3D printing technology include the following companies. For a glimpse into the future of 3D printing, check out the conference programwhich includes several sessions dedicated to additive manufacturing.

Image courtesy of Arburg
Image courtesy of Arburg
Arburg will showcase its Freeformer 300-3X at booth 3708.

Arburg (booth 3708): The German company will use its Freeformer 300-3X to demonstrate the mechanics of Arburg Plastic Freeforming. APF is known as an “open” system, where users can optimize their process control. The Freeformer is intended for medical applications, processing soft materials and producing hard-soft compounds, the company said.

3DEO (booth 1350): The Los Angeles-based company’s technology produces small, complex stainless steel components for medical equipment, defense, aerospace and industrial applications. 3DEO launched its Saffron printer in February during National Engineers Week.

Image courtesy of 3DEO
Image courtesy of 3DEOrudder printer
3DEO, exhibiting on stand 1350, launched its Saffron printer last month.

B9Creations (booth 3712): Originally funded on Kickstarter, the South Dakota company’s proprietary printers and processes have become popular for their speed and accuracy. The company’s B9 Core Series printers offer resolution as fine as one-third the size of a human hair, while the compact B9 Model Cure reduces resin curing times. Customers include users in jewelry and casting, model making, research, prototyping and manufacturing, and aerospace and defense.

Boston Micro Manufacturing (booth 3700): BMF’s micro-precision technology is based on projection micro-stereolithography, allowing users to print microstructures at resolutions from 2 to 50 microns. The company announced a partnership with Shree Rapid Technologies in March, marking the entry of BMF microArch 2 micron, 10 micron and 25 micron printers in India.

Dinsmore (booth 3158): This Irvine, California-based service provider helps customers bring their products to market quickly by offering a range of 3D printing technologies along with multidisciplinary design and engineering expertise. Dinsmore specializes in methodologies such as Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis, HP’s Multi Jet Fusion, Polyjet, Stereolithography, Fusion Deposition Modeling, Selective Laser Sintering, Direct Metal Laser Sintering and Polyurethane Castings.

Formlabs (booth 3323): Specializing in desktop and benchtop printers, the company offers stereolithography and selective laser sintering units as well as a portfolio of materials. Company Form 3+ and Form 3B+, announced in January, deliver 20-40% faster SLA print speeds.


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