Formnext, the international exhibition and conference on next generation manufacturing technologies, returns to Frankfurt next week for what promises to be another four packed days of world firsts and product debuts. Formnext has already created buzz with regards to the hardware, software and material launches by the big players. It will feature the big names in additive manufacturing showing their strength with improved technologies and new machines will some small start-ups will also debut their machines.
The exhibitors from as much as 33 nations and the global group of additive manufacturing will present their innovations and products at Formnext 2018. The proportion of international exhibitors reached the level of 55%, underscoring the importance of Formnext all over the world. The major exhibitor nations after Germany are China (13.4% of international exhibitors), USA (10.8%), Italy (8.2%), UK (7.5%), as well as France, Spain and the Netherlands (6.6% each). About 165 new exhibitors from 26 nations will take part in the exhibition for the first time.
Many other companies from all over the world are anticipated to exhibit in the Formnext 2018, alongside market leaders such in AM as 3D Systems, Keyence, Markforged, Materialise, Matsuura, BeAM, BigRep, Concept Laser, Carbon, Dassault, Desktop Metal, DMG Mori, Envisiontec, HP, EOS, ExOne, Farsoon, Formlabs, FIT, GE Additive, Sisma, SLM Solutions, Stratasys, Trumpf, Voxeljet, O.R. Laser, Prodways, Renishaw, Ricoh, Siemens, Additive Industries, Addup, Adira, Alphacam, Arburg, Arcam, BeAM, BigRep, and Xjet.
The exhibition will cover a broader range of topics along the relevant process chains, with an increase focus on key areas like material, software, and pre- and post-processing (for example, for powder removal, surface finishing, or heat treatment). At Formnext 2018, conventional companies like HC Starck, BASF, Höganäs, Böhler Edelstahl or Linde are exhibiting their new developments and their industrial application know-how. Various start-ups and young companies are also demonstrating their ground-breaking innovations, ranging from AI software to specialized additive production technologies. In this manner, Formnext 2018 is providing a unique spectrum of innovations that allow visitors from various user industries to unseal the potential of additive manufacturing in their own production processes.
What the Big players are doing?
EOS will present its new E0S M 300-4 system. It incorporates various features that make the metal printer acting as a solution for optimised part and data flow across all production steps. It has a scalable architecture. The company claims that the metal system offers 10X productivity. It has a build volume of 300 mm x 300 mm x 400 mm and features 4 lasers rated 400 W each. It has a scan speed of 7.0 m/s. The printer will find applications in automotive and aerospace sectors. Formnext will also see EOS previewing its new polymer 3D printing technology. EOS’s new polymer 3D printing technology is termed as LaserProFusion. By harnessing the powder of one million diode lasers, the process promises production at up to 10 times the rate of existing systems, pushing output toward serial manufacturing. This will enable tool free injection molding.
Sisma is launching its new resin based 3D printer under the name EVERES. Sisma is known for its printers that work on Laser based fusion. The two printers will be based on Digital light processing technology (DLP). Sisma claims that the two printers named as EVERES ZERO and EVERES UNO will offer a user experience like never before. Both printers feature patent pending technology and find application in jewelry, medical and manufacturing. Key features of the printers include
> Self-alignment of the build platform
> Non-degenerative resin vat
> High printing speed
> Self-loading and unloading of the resin
Fraunhoffer Institute of laser technology has further developed its two cure technology to the next stage. The institute will display the technology and the machine at Formnext. The two cure technology is a resin based printing method that has ability to produce plastic components at a large scale using LED projector without supports. What sets apart the new developed technology is that theentire 3D build volume will be used for printing. Upon exposure to the LED the resin in the bath hardens. The other areas of resin solidify through cooling, leaving the cured structures floating freely without supports within the total volume. The machine can carry a capacity of one litre of resin and prints at a resolution of 50 micrometres. It enables printing of components in batches of up to 1,000 pieces.
Desktop metal will be showcasing its Studio system plus and the configurable fleet. Both metal printers claim to take low volume production to a midsized one. The Live parts software will also be up for exhibit. The AI embedded modelling software provides a user with generative designs. An user only has to assign mechanical constraints and the software generates optimized designs. Preview of Desktop metal’s new software tool Fab Flow, a fully-customisable and integrated solution designed to streamline 3D model optimisation and equipment management will also be done. Fab Flow, targeting use in internal model shops, is cloud-based, hardware-agnostic, and white labelled, offering a significant amount of freedom in its deployment. Its main application is for ordering parts, with features designed to “head off problems at the pass” prior to the start of a print job.
SLM Solutions will be displaying the Divergent3D 3D printed car chassis. The product of a longstanding collaboration between the two companies, the modular frame of the Blade supercar is set to be an exhibition highlight.
The 3D printing giant has recently entered into metal printing with its Metal jet. The jet will make its European debut at Formnext. The technology employed is similar to Voxeljet’s binder jetting. The metal jet which measures 430 x 320 x 200 mm makes use of metal injection powders to print parts which are isotropic in nature. The printed parts are then sintered in a furnace.
The big guns seem to be making a lot of strides to move AM into the space of mid or large sized manufacturing. Desktop metal’s push is an example of it. HP has partnered with some major AM powder manufacturers to make strides as well. The smaller companies are not too far behind as well. It is important to note that small companies that have been manufacturing FFF based printers are giving a push to launch more industrial grade FFF printers capable of processing high performance polymers like PEEK and PEI. Roboze will also stream its advanced FFF 3D printers that are capable of processing high performance polymers, pushing the limits of industrial printing.
Ackuretta Technologies to ship FreeShape 120
Taiwan based Ackuretta Technologies will launch its professional chair side 3D printer. It is said that at Formnext the company will start accepting presale orders. According to the commercial sales director at Ackuretta “The FreeShape 120, along with Ackuretta’s affordable Qura Resin line, opens the door to the unique benefits of 3D printing to a wide range of users in the dental, jewelry, and engineering industries.”
Nanoe is not so much Nano in developments
Nanoe is a ceramic nano powder manufacturer headquartered in France. The company will launch its desktop 3D printer which is compatible with both metal and ceramic. In addition, the company plans to release a line of adapted FFF 3D printers complete with debinding vessel and furnace.
3D systems IC Projet
3D systems will showcase its Projet MJP IC suitable which will revolutionize investment casting.
Beam will exhibit its latest printer MODULO 250, which is based on the Direct deposition technology and also demonstrate its industrial applications. Modulo 250 features a build size of 400x250x300 mm making use of a 500W laser to print parts and has capability to process reactive metals. BeAM will be exhibiting jointly with AddUp to present the group’s complete range of products and services for additive manufacturing. Addup will be exhibiting its FormUp 350 LBM machine and the Flexcare HSE solution.
The GE additive family which consist of Arcam, Concept Laser and AP&C will also be present at Formnext demonstrating their AM capabilities.
The German tool manufacturer will be showcasing its latest automated innovations at the event which will be centered on the machine Truprint 5000 Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) system launched in 2017.
Renishaw had launched Renam500Q at Formnext 2017. As a follow up this time, Renishaw will enrich the visitors with insights into the potential of multi-laser technology and its impact on part quality. Marc Saunders, Director of Global Solutions Centers at the company, will also give a talk on the future of 3D printing and how technology can increase productivity.
Farsoon at Formnext will display its AM machines, materials and software capabilities. The company will demonstrate the impact AM can bring through its successful case studies.
Will advanced tools add to versatility in production?
Advanced production tools SA is launching three 3D printers. The three machines being launched are named as DT60, HT45 and ST30. DT60 and HT45 work on Fused filament fabrication and ST30 works on Laser sintering technology respectively. DT60 claims to be an advanced printer that offers versatility for industrial processes. The printer offers a build volume of 600 x 450 x 450 mm and can attain a maximum temperature of 500 ºC. It has features such as filament run out detection, print recovery and positioning control.
ST30 works on laser sintering and boasts of a build volume measuring 300 x 300 x 300 mm and prints layer thickness of 0.1mm respectively. It can attain a maximum temperature OF 200ºC to process materials and the printing process can be monitored via a webcam. It offers high precision printing owing to its optimized layer change bidirectional cylinder. The company is also bringing in few material additions by introducing. HT45 can process high performance polymers giving it the capability to print parts that meet most demanding applications.
A look into atomic vapour deposition:
Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is a vapour phase technique capable of producing thin films of a variety of materials. ALD is a key process in the fabrication of semiconductor devices to produce substrates for microelectronics. Alumina Systems GmbH has been awarded for best product they developed through ALD. They have developed a ceramic gas distribution ring with 3D-printed ceramic nozzles for Atomic Layer Deposition on wafers. The 3D-printed nozzles enable an optimized gas flow distribution and increased coating performances to the calculated optimum several times better than the conventional metal part.
ARBURG GmbH + Co KG is known for its line of injection moulding machines. The company is making further additions to the 3D domain with the launch of the Freeformer300-3X. Compared to the previous version, 300-3x offers a higher build volume and the industrial additive manufacturing of complex functional parts in resilient hard/soft combinations with support structure. The automated features such as makes it possible to easily integrate free former into a complex production line.
A look into softwares and materials
Atum 3D is known for its DLP printer. At Formnext 2018, atum 3D will be exhibiting its operator software. The software built by the company’s proprietary MAGS AI technology helps users to prepare models by selecting area of models ,so that printed part have least supports that are generated. MAGS is the short for Mark, Adjust & Generate Supports. The models are analyzed automatically and supports are added only to critical positions. Authentise develops data driven automation software for additive manufacturing. Its products are called as additive accelerator and 3diax.
At Formnext 2018, Authenthise will make additions to its software. The software tools helps companies involved in AM to reduce effort and cost, improve traceability and transparency and deliver quality. And Sigma Labs will launch its PrintRite 3D 4.0 product suite at the event – the latest in the company’s Process Quality Assurance System. Cubicure for the first time is presenting its own software solution for data processing for additive manufacturing. The CSS (Cubicure Support & Slicing) software is an extensive tool for editing STL-files, adding support geometries and creates slices for the 3D-printing process.
Parameters will launch its software update for generative designs. 3DYourmind will be showcasing its new automated planning solutions for additive manufacturing at the show. The software is said to automate the production planning process as well. Simufact will give insights into its new additive release. The new release has key features which include tools for best build orientation, integrated support structure capabilities, and the ability to predict manufacturing issues. Trinckle will be exhibiting cloud software called paramate. The software helps to automate designs and configurations by using smart algorithms to replace repetitive manual design tasks. Trinckle will show how paramate is helping Ford to create designs for jigs and fixtures automatically.
LeoLane will demonstrate how corporations can uphold brand integrity and IP protection by securely managing additive manufacturing, whenever a part is printed via it SaaS. Apium additive technologies have announced the addition of a material to its additive manufacturing portfolio. Sinterit has announced the launch of a white thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material for its SLS 3D printing. Materialise yet again promises to showcase innovations in software and services. Materialise will be showcasing its patented e-Stage for metals upgrade of Magics suite.
Mitsubishi had recently acquired Dutch filament manufacturer MCPP Netherlands. This year at Formnext Mitsubishi Chemical, a branch of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation Japan will make its debut by showcasing its materials and the large-format Colossus 3D printer, making chairs in real-time. Mitsubishi is making rapid strides into AM. Recently, it has developed a new technology called as “DOT FORMING”.
Post processing solutions
PULVERMEISTER GmbH will present its post processing machine. The machine can perform automated post processing of plastic/metal prints. The machine which has dimensions of 1.5m x 1.5m x 2m uses two steel drums for processing, each equipped with a vacuum circuit. Perfect side of AM can be reached only when it meets the required finish. Dyemansion which develops post processing solution for laser sintered parts will unveil more color options as a next step into a colorful future for 3D printed products. Solukon has teamed up with Siemens AG to launch its new post processing solution called as SFM-AT800S .The system features smart functionality for the effective removal of metal powder trapped in free designed parts containing complex internal channels. SFM-AT800S will be up for display at Formnext.
Material side of Formnext
Henkel will debut at 2018 Formnext. Henkel had recently launched a million dollar AM material facility in Ireland. Henkel debuting at Formnext can be seen as signal of it make the competition stiffer with BASF. It will be launching new resins and Loctite post-processing adhesives at the show.
Unspecified hints and exhibits
Xjet has promised about some substantial improvements and Rize (the augmented polymer deposition (APD) 3D printer company) has hinted that what’s in store from them will redefine Industrial 3D printing. RIZE is a Boston, USA-based company defining desktop additive manufacturing, it will launch its new hardware XRIZE which is the world’s first true color desktop industrial 3D printer along with new materials- RIZIUM CARBON and RIZIUM ENDURA materials and IoT functionality RIZE CONNECT cloud platform. XRIZE is the first printer of its kind enabling users to manufacture functional polymer and composite parts in full color.