by Industrial Print Magazine Staff
The ninth iteration of Formnext took place from November 7 to 10, 2023 in Frankfurt, Germany. Billed as the global center of innovative and sustainable production solutions focusing on additive manufacturing (AM), a record number of attendees visited the trade show. It boasted 859 exhibitors across a floor space of more than 54,000 square meters.
Here, we share highlights from the event.
Innovation on Display
3DCeram Sinto presented the C1000 FLEXMATIC, the first semi-automated line for three-dimensional (3D) printing technical ceramics. Designed to integrate the Smart Ceramic Factory, it has all the assets to print ceramic parts in a semi-automatic line. It features a build volume of 320x320x200 millimeters (mm), a removable tank that allows for inline processing of printed parts, and an uncured material and automatic cleaning step.
3D Systems introduced Accura AMX High Temp 300C, SLS 300, a new professional service for C-103, and the DMP Flex 350 Triple—engineered to enable the efficient production of high-quality end-use parts in a breadth of industries including automotive, semiconductor, consumer goods, space, energy, and medical devices. With the introduction of Accura AMX High Temp 300C, 3D Systems delivers an unfilled material with an unmatched heat deflection temperature of 300 degrees Celsius. The new chemistry of this material does not require a thermal post-cure. These properties make Accura AMX High Temp 300C ideal for high-temperature component testing and general use parts for applications including HVAC, consumer appliances, motor enclosures, and stators.
6K Additive and Metal Powder Works announced the signing of an MOU and strategic partnership to produce pure copper and copper alloys, leading to strategically important powders such as copper/nickel and bronze alloy powders for AM. The high yield production achievable with both Metal Powder Works’ DirectPowder Process and 6K Additive’s UniMelt microwave plasma ensures economic advantages, faster time to market, and sustainable production from both feedstock creation and the production of these materials.
Addiblast by FerroECOBlast presented a range of post-processing solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of AM. These include the BAM03 – Ergonomic Manual Blasting Cabinet, which is designed for the precise surface treatment of various parts and materials and offers an user-friendly interface that ensures ease of operation. TheMARS01 – Manual Depowdering Machine efficiently cleans and removes supports from 3D printed parts, while delivering precision and reliability for superior post-processing results. MARS03 – Fully Automated Depowdering Machine is customized for depowdering metal 3D printed parts. It streamlines your post-processing workflow with cutting-edge automation technology.
ALTANA AG presented over ten new resin-based Cubic Ink materials for 3D printing. Notable are the two Cubic Ink series—Mold 210 VP and 601 VP—designed for resin printing. These series offer a multitude of advantages regarding both the printing process and post-processing stages. The materials are used, for example, in the manufacture of hearing aids. Their low viscosity allows for rapid printing, and the printed molds can be effectively cleaned using common washing solvents, such as IPA. Furthermore, after approximately ten minutes of UV post-exposure, these materials are ready for filling with the corresponding molding compound.
Ansys announced a partnership with Materialise and an initial joint workflow was showcased. The partnership seamlessly integrates Ansys Additive Suite into Materialise’s data and build preparation tool, Magics. The initial solutionprovides a best-in-class workflow for managing AM industrial projects across industries, including the medical and aerospace sectors.
ARBURG presented its complete range of products for industrial AM based on granules, filaments, and liquid silicone (LSR). One highlight is the new high-temperature freeformer 750-3X, which produced geometrically sophisticated air distributors from original aerospace-certified material Ultem 9085. The temperature of the build chamber can be raised to 200 degrees Celsius, and the granules are plasticiszed at up to 450 degrees Celsius. A second freeformer 750-3X produced orthopedic insoles up to shoe size 50.
Carbon expanded its resin portfolio with the introduction of EPU 46 and launched a highly heat resistant rigid material. EPU 46 is a versatile dual-cure elastomer for high-performance consumer products such as bike saddles, midsoles, backpacks, and many other applications requiring advanced cushioning. EPU 46 is designed for full-color spectrum flexibility as well as tunable durometer. The material boasts high energy return, high elongation at break, and outstanding cyclic fatigue durability. It contains 40 percent bio-based raw materials, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the resin compared to petroleum-derived alternatives.
DyeManison, Siemens, BASF Forward AM, EOS, and HP announced the AM I Navigator Initiative. Its holistic maturity model shapes the stages of industrialization in the AM industry, increasing interoperability in AM. The model defines the stages of industrial 3D printing along the entire process chain from material to machines to automation. Moreover, creating a common understanding of the different stages helps AM users to find ways to scale and integrate AM into traditional production workflows.
Dyndrite demonstrated VIP Onboarding for Dyndrite LPBF Pro, a new application for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) professionals. This new software empowers 3D printing users with previously unattainable part printing capabilities, accelerated build rates, and cost savings. Dyndrite LPBF Pro gives users unprecedented power, freedom, and control over their LPBF process. It gives material, quality, process, and applications engineers scalable multi-threaded CPU and GPU-powered performance to solve their toughest geometry and compute challenges, while streamlining their print preparation processes.
EOS exhibited the newest member of its EOS M 300 family, the EOS M 300-4 1kW. This metal AM system boasts four powerful, one kilowatt lasers to meet the production requirements of aluminum and copper 3D printed applications, such as aluminum brackets, holders, antennas, heat exchangers; and copper or copper alloy heat exchangers, inductors, and e-mobility components. At launch, the EOS M 300-4 1kW is ideal for applications in aviation, energy, government, and defense; and mobility/transportation industries that leverage AlSi10Mg, copper, and copper alloys.
Evolve Additive Solutions commercially launched its parts production service, STEP Parts Now, as well as an expansion of its materials portfolio. Meeting production demand, along with Evolve’s drive to broaden access to its Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP) technology, spurred the creation of the new parts production service. Customers can now quote and order STEP parts directly from Evolve through the STEP Parts Now ecommerce portal. Evolve also announced the commercial availability of two new materials in its portfolio—Nylon PA-11(A) and Gray ABS.
Evonik introduced a new grade of its polyamide 12 powders, which is designed to unbound sustainable 3D printing at scale. INFINAM eCO PA12 is the world’s first PA12 powder material for industrial 3D printing that substitutes 100 percent of fossil feedstock with bio-circular raw material from waste cooking oil in a mass balancing process. The new, ready-to-use powder features a reduction of CO2 emissions of 74 percent in comparison to the castor oil-based polyamides of Evonik’s own INFINAM Terra development grade.
Farsoon showcased two production platforms—FS621M and Flight SS403P-2. FS621M, with a build cylinder size of 620x 620 mm² and height of 1100 mm, has been well accepted by aerospace and manufacturing customers. As of today, the installation base of the FS621M family is expected to reach over 60 units by October 2023 at global customer sites producing large-scale parts. Flight SS403P Series system is Farsoon’s high-temperature plastic powder bed fusion platform with over 260 units installation base globally by October 2023.
Formlabs launched Fuse Blast, a fully automated part cleaning and polishing solution. As the newest addition to the Formlabs SLS printing ecosystem, the Fuse Blast lowers labor and overhead costs, reduces post-processing time by 80 percent, and delivers consistent, customer-grade parts in as little as 15 minutes. Expanding the SLS ecosystem with the Fuse Blast and new software updates will support the fleet of Fuse printers on the market that are used across automotive, manufacturing, engineering, and other fields.
HP announced several strategic partnerships. First, with Sandvik to pioneer a new era of advanced materials for 3D printing. This strategic collaboration introduces cutting-edge materials like superalloys and high performing, competitively priced 316L, amplifying the potential of HP’s Metal Jet technology and ushering in innovative applications across various industries. Second, GKN Additive, a global leader in digital manufacturing. This collaboration encompasses the introductory qualification of a diverse range of materials for HP’s Metal Jet S100 customers, including ten different steel grades such as M2 tool steel and a dual-phase steel. Finally, Elnik’s sister business DSH Technologies is set to accelerate the capabilities of HP’s commercial S100 Metal Jet Solution, providing customers with unprecedented sintering expertise and capabilities.
Inkbit debuted new TEPU 50A elastomer. TEPU 50A is a thiol-ene polyurethane-based elastomer with a Shore 50A durometer and low compression set that offers excellent UV stability and strong chemical compatibility. TEPU 50A is the latest addition to the Inkbit Vista ecosystem, developed in response to customer requests for a Shore 45-55A elastomer that accurately produces intricate detail in a wide range of geometries with excellent surface finish and elastic resilience.
JEOL announced at the event that its JAM-5200EBM Metal 3D Printer, a production-ready electron beam powder bed fusion (EB-PBF) AM solution, demonstrated the ability to meet the rigorous AMS7032 operational qualification standards, while achieving the AMS7011 material requirements for Ti-6Al-4V alloy with post-deposition hot isostatic pressing. JEOL’s is the first EB-PBF machine known to meet the requirements of AMS7011 since they were first established on another EB-PBF manufacturer’s model.
Lithoz displayed multi-functional parts all printed using the CeraFab Multi 2M30. This powerful LCM 3D printer is capable of combining different materials, such as ceramic with metal, ceramic with polymer, or two different ceramics, in one single functional part. In just one print run, entirely opposing material properties can be flexibly and functionally combined, including for example conductive and insulating properties.
Markforged Holding Corporation unveiled its newest industrial 3D printer, the FX10. It is designed to supercharge manufacturing line productivity and profitability. The FX10 empowers users to print the right part when and where it is needed, reducing costs and cutting lead times from months to days compared to traditional manufacturing methods. It also introduced Vega, an ultra high-performance filament designed for aerospace manufacturing on Markforged’s FX20 printer. Vega not only offers exceptional strength but also is expected to bring customers substantial advantages in weight reduction, cost efficiency, and lead time savings.
MELD Manufacturing Corporation announces that FOOKE GmbH became an authorized integrator for MELD’s 3D printing for metal technology. This partnership marks a significant step forward in the advancement of metal AM and positions FOOKE as a premier provider of MELD’s technology in Europe.
Nikon SLM Solutions and Materialise unveil a collaborative venture to cultivate the ensuing generation of Materialise Build Processors tailored for Nikon SLM Solutions printers, integrating them into the Materialise CO-AM platform. As manufacturers increasingly pivot towards metal AM for end-use components, the call for enhanced part quality, competitive pricing, and swift production is paramount. This collaboration is poised to equip manufacturers with the right machine and the autonomy to customize their 3D printing processes.
Prima Additive displayed the Print Genius 150 Double Wavelength. This is a unique configuration on the market, featuring two lasers of different wavelengths within the same system—a 500 W infrared laser and a 200 W green laser. For direct energy deposition technology, the IANUS multiprocess robotic cell was exhibited, which also features an innovative laser configuration.
Prodways promoted its P1000X in SLS and MLT Next Gen in DLP, two groundbreaking solutions that aim to reshape the design-to-production process. With its industrial 3D printers, customers witnessed how 3D printing can streamline their approach, delivering unparalleled precision and efficiency.
Raise3D unveiled the DF2 Solution, marking its debut in photopolymer resin 3D printing. The DF2 Solution, based on digital light printing technology, boasts rapid printing speeds, refined surfaces, high precision, and remarkable reliability. It has been meticulously crafted for engineering prototyping, manufacturing aids, and low-volume production with a diverse selection of high-grade resins. The DF2 Solution features a traceable workflow to reduce labor time and optimize the use of resin 3D printing in production.
Replique launched a comprehensive and open material database for 3D printing. With this step, Replique is making the collective material knowledge—with support from its trusted material partners—accessible within the 3D printing community, ultimately streamlining the use of AM for businesses.
Roboze showcased its high-performance materials, specifically ToolingX CF, a carbon fiber composite that offers incredible advantages for industrial production. It is classified as ESD-safe due to its surface resistivity, reducing static electricity. Furthermore, it is self-extinguishing and is used in applications such as welding masks and electronic houses. It shows notable chemical inertness at 200 degrees Celsius and has low water absorption, maintaining properties over time. It offers reduced post-processing times thanks to the ease of removal of supports during cleaning, sanding, and milling. It is certified for use in railway environments according to EN 45545.
Solukon highlighted new products and features. The Solukon SFM-PCU is an automated powder conveying station for all common metal powders. With a container of more than 100 liters, the SFM-PCU is the ideal peripheral system for large powder volumes. The new SFM-AT350–E with piezoelectric excitation and SPR-Pathfinder software, Die SFM-AT800-S with robot integration on neighbouring booth E41 of Rivelin Robotics, Die SFM-AT1000-S with short swivel arm, and the new SFM-PCU für automated powder handling were also displayed.
Stratasys Ltd. showcased its new F3300 fused deposition modeling 3D printer. Its design and advanced features transform how AM is used in the most demanding industries such as aerospace, automotive, government/military, and service bureaus. The F3300 is expected to be available for shipment beginning 2024.
WASP presented a series of technological innovations in the world of liquid deposition modeling and fused granulate fabrication 3D printing. Among the new products presented CEREBRO, METAMORFOSI, and WASP App. CEREBRO is the integration system between robotic arms and WASP extruders. METAMORFOSI is a new multi-material pellet extrusion system. WASP App is its new parametric 3D modeling software that enables the mass production of ceramic objects, transitioning from prototyping to customized serial production.
Wibu-Systems displayed how CodeMeter empowers new AM business models with smart software licensing and tough IP protection. In cooperation with Farsoon Technologies and Daimler Buses, Wibu-Systems integrated its CodeMeter solution in a novel online store service for parts and components for Daimler and Setra brand buses—the OMNIplus service. CodeMeter enables this novel business model on two fronts—with two licenses used to secure both the preprint process and to authorize, trace, and invoice the actual purchased number of parts, there is essentially no loophole left for anyone trying to tamper with or exploit the system. CodeMeter’s smart license management capabilities and easy integration with back office systems make the entire process smooth and reliable for all parties involved.
Xaar and Lincsolution formalized a partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at Formnext 2023. Xaar’s Nitrox and Aquinox printheads will be used by Lincsolution in its latest binder jet metal 3D printers as the business focuses on delivering new machines for mold, jig, automotive, and mass-customization products.
Formnext makes an appearance in the U.S. in 2024 at IMTS or the International Manufacturing Technology Show. The Additive Manufacturing Sector Powered by Formnext will be at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL September 9 to 14, 2024.
Nov2023, Industrial Print Magazine