In Shenzhen, Formnext South China 2023 will unveil the future of 3D printing.

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3D Printing Industry recently had the opportunity to visit the city of Shenzhen, China, for the Formnext + PM South China expo, which showcased the latest innovations in 3D printing. This year’s event saw significant growth in participation, with a lineup of 275 companies, one-third of which were dedicated to 3D printing. The expo was held in conjunction with a powder metallurgy and advanced ceramics expo, creating a synergy with additive manufacturing.

One of the standout features of the event was the presence of 13,183 trade visitors, including international and local influencers. These visitors had the chance to explore the offerings of various companies, particularly those in the desktop 3D printer market, such as Anycubic. Interestingly, 3D Printing Industry was the only international media organization in attendance, providing exclusive reports from the show.

Shenzhen’s rapid development was evident in its modern and clean highways. The city’s skyline was a mix of blue plate glass skyscrapers and bamboo-scaffolded constructions, painting a picture of constant growth and evolution. The near-tropical climate allowed the pink bougainvillea to thrive along the highways, adding a touch of natural beauty to the urban landscape.

Often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen is home to major technology companies like Tencent, DJI, BYD, and Huawei. Tencent’s messaging service, WeChat, proved to be a useful tool for exchanging contact information at the expo. The city’s commitment to electric vehicles (EVs) was evident with BYD’s logo prominently displayed on cars and buses. These EVs featured minimalistic interiors focused on electronic consoles and displays. BYD, currently the world’s second-largest EV manufacturer, recently acquired Jabil’s China manufacturing business for $2.2 billion.

The expo took place at the World Exhibition Centre, which covered a vast area of 1.6 million square meters across 19 halls. The exhibition area is set to expand further, eventually reaching 500,000 square meters. In comparison, the venue for Formnext in November, Messe Frankfurt, has 10 expo halls covering 367,000 square meters.

The show floor featured a range of exciting exhibits. While many have written about the growth of Chinese firms in the desktop 3D printer markets, the Formnext + PM South China expo focused more on the industrial sector. This is not surprising, as the majority of desktop 3D printer customers are international, according to James Ouyang, VP at Anycubic.

Companies like Bambu Lab and Kexcelled showcased their latest offerings. Bambu Lab, a rising star in the desktop FDM market, exhibited their 3D printer at Kexcelled’s booth. Kexcelled also hosted a 3D fashion event with Stratasys. Shanghai Royal Electronics presented their brand, BJ-Tech 3D Solutions, which specializes in metal binding jetting and produces parts in stainless steel 316.

INTAMSYS from Shanghai shared impressive sales figures, having sold over 1,000 units of their Funmat Pro 310. The company has seen significant success in the tech education sector, driven by government support. Their focus is on FDM systems that offer a wider range of materials for users.

AMESOS Advance Manufacturing, another Shanghai-based company, showcased their Blade series of high-speed 3D printers. The company is revolutionizing traditional FDM printing with claims of a 60 percent reduction in printing times. Their Blade X system is highly customizable and adaptable for end-use applications, thanks to its direct drive technology from the semiconductor manufacturing industry.

The Formnext + PM South China expo provided an exciting glimpse into the world of 3D printing in Shenzhen. The city’s rapid development, coupled with the innovative offerings of local and international companies, makes it a hub for additive manufacturing. As the industry continues to grow, we can expect even more groundbreaking innovations to come out of Shenzhen in the future.

The latest version of 3D printing technology is making waves in the industry, with machines that can print at an incredible rate of 4 cubic inches per hour (66 cm cubed per hour). But while the speed of the printer is impressive, it’s not the only factor to consider when evaluating its capabilities. In fact, approximately 80% of the time, the printhead will not be moving at top speed. This is because the printhead is quite heavy, and moving it quickly can create instability if not properly controlled.

To address this issue, AMESOS, the company behind the latest 3D printing technology, has implemented advanced motion control systems and a sturdy 1000 kg frame. These features ensure that the printhead moves smoothly and efficiently, reducing the risk of instability and maintaining print quality.

AMESOS has also received investment from Akribis Systems, a global designer and manufacturer of direct drive motors and positioning systems. This investment speaks to the potential of AMESOS’ technology and its promising future in the industry. It’s worth noting that Mitsubishi is also an investor in Akribis, further solidifying the credibility of AMESOS’ technology.

But AMESOS is not the only company making waves in the 3D printing industry. TSC Group has showcased its LiM (Laser is Making) brand, which focuses on the aerospace and automotive sectors. Their LiM X400M printer, designed primarily for molding, has already found distribution channels in Germany. The company has produced metal parts for aero engine assembly, which are used in engines where combustion occurs at temperatures ranging from 700 to 1000 degrees Celsius. These parts are in use in both commercial and military applications.

Another company making its mark is HRG, operating under the brand name ACME 3D. They have developed a top-down laser SLA technology that is highly versatile and caters to a wide range of sectors, from beauty manufacturers in Poland to car designers in Korea. Additionally, they also manufacture LCD-based 3D printers, primarily for model making, and provide their own resins. With three operational locations in China, HRG is well-positioned to meet the diverse needs of their clients.

Farsoon, a metal AM company, is making headlines with their innovative heat exchangers for the oil and gas sector and tooling for the injection molding sector. By utilizing metal AM to create tools with inner channel cooling for injection molding, they have been able to increase productivity by 20%. Additionally, a notable revelation is that 80% of vape pens/e-cigarettes in China are now produced using 3D printed molds, demonstrating the technology’s growing industrial relevance.

BLT is another company showcasing the versatility of 3D printing, with applications ranging from dental solutions to aerospace. They specialize in metal 3D printing systems and have even used their technology to manufacture shoes. By creating 3D printed molds for shoes, the production-cycle time has been significantly reduced, with a 3D printed mold taking only 10 hours compared to two weeks for the traditional process. BLT has also collaborated with global sportswear giant Adidas, further demonstrating the potential of 3D printing in mainstream manufacturing.

Lastly, Kexcelled has unveiled their high-speed filament, designed for Bambu Labs’ 3D printer. This PLA filament promises faster printing speeds, operating at up to 500 mm/s. The filament’s improved melting point ensures optimal performance and print quality.

Overall, the advancements and innovations in 3D printing showcased at Formnext South China 2023 are testament to the growing impact and relevance of this technology in various industries. From faster printing speeds to improved motion control systems, these advancements are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with 3D printing and opening up new opportunities for manufacturers around the world.

Formnext South China 2023, held at the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center, provided a platform for companies in the additive manufacturing industry to showcase their latest innovations. Among the exhibitors were Kings 3D Printing, a Shenzhen-based company that has seen great success in China and internationally. With over 500 employees and over 10,000 machines sold, Kings 3D Printing is making waves in the industry.

One of the highlights of the event was the launch of the JS-FGF-8000 by Kings 3D Printing in July 2023. This FGF system runs on pelletized material, providing a cost-effective solution for 3D printing. Additionally, the company introduced the FGF-600 in February 2023, further expanding their range of options.

Another company making waves at the event was SoonSer, with its Mars Pro 600 SLA 3D printer. The company emphasized the potential for this printer to revolutionize tire molding processes. With a build volume of 600 x 600 x 400 mm, the Mars Pro 600 offers a large-scale printing solution for tire production. SoonSer believes that 3D printing can replace the traditional wooden mold and streamline the production process, reducing labor and time.

Vistar, operating under the ProtoFab brand, also made a significant impression at the event. In just two years, Vistar has risen from being ranked 10th to becoming China’s market leader in SLA printing. Their range of 3D printers showcased at the event demonstrated their commitment to innovation and growth.

Beyond the trade show floor, discussions about trends in the Chinese additive manufacturing market revealed the booming nature of metal 3D printing. Estimates suggest that the Chinese market uses 10 tonnes of metal powder for additive manufacturing per year. The number of companies exhibiting metal systems based on DLMS or binder jetting supports this figure.

While other metal AM systems, such as DED or Electron Beam Melting, were not as visible at the expo, a conference track dedicated to the technical use and implementation of such systems provided valuable insights.

Formnext South China 2023 was a significant event for the additive manufacturing industry in China. It showcased the latest technologies and innovations and highlighted the rapid growth of companies like Kings 3D Printing, SoonSer, and Vistar. With an increasing focus on metal 3D printing and its potential applications, the Chinese market is poised for continued growth in the additive manufacturing industry.

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Featured image: Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center.

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