Formnext 2019 is a global exhibition and conference dedicated to additive manufacturing and industrial 3D printing. This year, the fifth edition of the exhibition and conference was held at Messe Frankfurt, Germany, from 19 to 22 November 2019. It was attended by 34,532 specialists and managers, a growth of 28% over last year and 852 exhibitors with a growth of 35% over last year.
Formnext summit also saw internationally-recognized organizations, industry experts, renowned academics and market analysts from Europe, USA, and Asia provides a truly global overview of how advances in 3D technologies, design, and engineering, are impacting the manufacturing world. The exhibition was attended by world-renowned companies across aerospace, automotive, healthcare sectors like Airbus, Apple, Adidas, Bayer, Honeywell, BMW, P&G Manufacturing, Roche Diagnostics, Siemens, etc.
This year’s exhibition has been hugely successful witnessing number of technological updates and launches. Some of the launches and technology updates in areas of software, 3D printers, material and post-processing solution are discussed below.
MSC Software Corporation - MSC Apex Generative Design
MSC Apex Generative Design is a new design optimization solution. The optimization process is more straightforward and users can simply input boundary conditions and design objectives for a given part and the software will come up with design solutions. Hence, it can generate a part design that is ready to be printed within a few hours. By taking boundaries and objectives into account, the software will generate multiple lightweight design candidates while providing optimal stress distribution and minimized part weight. The software also employs an intelligent smoothing technology that ensures 3D models have a smooth, professional finish. It also offers integration of all steps into a comprehensive CAE environment, enabling users to easily navigate from design to AM preparation on a single platform.
Since the program provides a high degree of automation for design processes, it has the potential to improve productivity by up to 80% compared to more traditional topology optimization software. Smarter generative design process produces design candidates that can satisfy both engineering criteria and looks like the designer intended in 3D printing which absences in the traditional design solution.
Desktop Metal – Shop System
Desktop Metal has launched “the world’s first metal binder jetting system designed for machine shops.” called Shop System. It is a high speed and single-pass printing system built for mid-volume production runs for machine shops. This technology enables affordable, reliable and flexible batch production of complex parts for machine shops. Users can print end-use metal parts with the quality, surface finish and tolerances needed to co-exist with machining – up to 10 times faster than laser powder bed fusion and at a fraction of the cost per part. It has the highest resolution single-pass binder jetting printing system on the market. With a spot size of 16 microns per drop, 1600 native single pass DPI and the ability to distribute up to 670 million drops per second. Compared to other single-pass binder jetting systems, it has a 33% higher resolution, as per the company.
This system print fully supported in their powder bed and feature hand-removable sintering setters, users will avoid hours of labour machining or wire EDM off support structures typical of laser-based systems (traditional system). This, in turn, reduces the total number of manufacturing steps needed, increasing shop productivity and capacity without requiring additional headcount or machinist hours. Since, its world’s first metal binder jetting system for the machine shop, it has no current competition in the market.
EnvisionTEC and Sartomer-E-Aquasol
EnvisionTEC is a global developer of professional-grade 3D printing solutions with US offices in Dearborn, Michigan.
Sartomer, a global supplier of specialty chemicals and a business line of Arkema with US headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania.
E-Aquasol resin has been jointly developed by the two companies. It is based on Sartomer’s N3xtDimension UV-curable resin technology and is characterized by its high water solubility. E-Aquasol resin is ideal for printing moulds in a wide variety of industrial applications. It allows industrial manufacturers to shell-cast thin-walled parts with high feature resolution.
The material is thus a suitable and safer alternative to competitor’s resins, which are mostly soluble in more aggressive solvents like caustic. It is an optimal choice for users who seek to avoid the use of more aggressive solvents such as caustic.
AMT-DMS post-processing solution
Additive Manufacturing Technologies, a British industrial AM company focused on end to end post-processing technology solutions for Additive Manufacturing.
AMT has launched its proprietary Digital Manufacturing System (DMS). It is fully automated safe and sustainable post-processing solutions enabling industrial production of parts at scale. It covers the entire manufacturing process chain from build through to final inspection. The DMS system handles unpacking the AM machine with automatic sorting, material removal and de-powdering with the PostPro3DDP system, smoothing and/or colouring and inspection with PostPro3DMet metrology system.
The company had displayed stand with more than 6000 3D printed and post-processed parts which are light and completely modular, meaning that it can be reused in configurations that suit any future events while being easy and carbon-efficient to transport.
AMT’s solution is superior to its competitors as it combines market-leading technology, machine learning capabilities, automation and superior research and production partnerships. It unites the stages of post-processing via intelligent, digital connectivity and innovative hardware.
In the last three decades, additive manufacturing has become an integral part of the manufacturing process in healthcare, aerospace and manufacturing where customization and precision are vital. As the speed of innovation continues to increase, it will help bring this disruptive technology to the forefront.
This will aid in the production of high end and high precision products, cost reduction, a high degree of customization, reduced time lag between design and production, environmental sustainability thus overcoming the limitation of existing technology.
Continuous technological updates and innovation in 3D technologies will make the process even more efficient, safe and is expected to see adoption across industries.
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