Recap of the 3D Printing Industry Highlights from October 2023

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October 2023 witnessed several innovative implementations of 3D printing in the sphere of fashion, especially with the unveiling of two unique 3D printed footwear items. Additionally, the domain of custom healthcare also experienced an upswing, predominantly with 3D Systems supplementing its assortment of 3D printed medical merchandise. 

The latest in 3D Printing Industry News from the year 2023. 

In another development, concerted attempts to escalate additive manufacturing have seen a collection of firms target bulk and serial production via 3D printing. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, now in its second year, has seen industrial additive manufacturing corporations provide 3D printers to aid the nation in its war endeavor. 

To learn about more highlights from Adidas, Carbon, HP, Stratasys, Odapt, Evolve Additive Solutions, SPEE3D, Essentium, and others, continue reading. 

3D Printing: Accelerating Innovations in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry recently became the epicenter of advancements in 3D printing. Prominent worldwide sports gear corporation Adidas has expanded its 3D printed footwear range. The company introduced the MC87 4D, a new limited-edition golf shoe with no spikes. Adidas’ MC87 4D integrates a 3D printed midsole created by Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.

The 3D printed midsole includes a network structure explicitly meant for ideal energy absorption. It returns energy to the foot by perfectly providing the necessary support, as stated by the manufacturer.

This wasn’t the only highlight for 3D printing in October. Renowned international printer manufacturer HP disclosed a collaboration with sportswear manufacturer Brooks Running. Together, they planned the development of the Exhilarate-BL running shoes, featuring 3D printing technology. This latest running shoe incorporates 3DNA, a springy, energetic 3D printed midsole.

3D printed using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technology, the company claims that the midsole outperforms 90% of other midsoles on the market. Brooks announced a limited release of the shoe to select Wear Testers and Run Club members. It is hoped that this will aid future 3DNA shoe designs using runner data like stride length and cadences.

Away from the footwear market, renowned fashion designer Jayne Pierson made an impression at London fashion week with her “Ceridwen” collection which leverages Stratsys’ 3DFashion technology. Pierson showcased a number of wearable pieces that integrate 3D printed elements into the fabric of the designs.

US-based 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems launched its new MJP 300W 3D printer and VisiJet Wax Jewel Ruby material to address the growing global jewelry market. These new offerings reportedly allow users to efficiently achieve greater design freedom and improved surface finish on their wax jewelry pieces.

Personalized healthcare

Remarkable progress continues to be made in the personalized healthcare industry. 3D Systems are advancing their point-of-care technologies, most recently with the fabrication of an individualized 3D printed cranial implant used in a surgery at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

The announcement of this event is of substantial importance as it represents the manufacturing of the first cranial implant at the point of care in compliance with the prevailing Medical Devices Regulations (MDR). Hence, 3D Systems is ideally positioned to benefit from the expanding cranial implant market, forecasted to be worth $2.1 billion by 2030.

Meanwhile, the developer of pharmaceutical customization technology, CurifyLabs, has introduced Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) produced Pharma Inks. These new 3D printable pharmaceutical inks have been designed for mobile production of patient-specific medicines in hospitals and pharmacies.

Traditional manual compound processes can be time-consuming and error prone. CurifyLabs’ new offering reportedly overcomes these challenges by automating the production of customized medications. GMP Pharma Inks provides pharmacists with direct access to a library of 3D printable inks and a 3D printer, ensuring fast and compliant drug manufacturing.  

In October, 3D Printing Industry sat down with Ivana Llobet, CEO and co-founder of Odapt, to learn more about the company’s personalized 3D printed ostomy bags. These customizable products are said to offer a superior fit and a sustainable solution to a prevalent medical need. 

According to Llobet, 3D printing offers notable advantages in the production of ostomy bags. “People could be anywhere in the world, and we could print it locally in their countries and send it to them.” Odapt is now targeting a clinical trial in Barcelona, indicating a strategic approach towards a commercial launch.

Odapt’s founders Jessica Nissen, Ivana Llobet and Patricia López continue to pioneer advancements in the field of medicare, leveraging 3D printing technology for improved solutions.

Scaling production in Additive manufacturing

Efforts to scale up 3D printing to meet serial and mass-manufacturing needs were talked about widely in October. The 3D printer manufacturer based in Minnesota, Evolve Additive Solutions, announced a strategic partnership with the German 3D printing service provider, alphacam GmbH, to meet high production demands by using 3D printing.

This strategic partnership will enable alphacam to offer parts manufactured using Evolve’s unique Thermoplastic Electrophotographic (STEP) technology to its European clientele. The STEP technology, launched in 2017, allows high-speed 3D printing of engineering-grade thermoplastics.

It is said that the STEP method is 50 times faster than SLS 3D printing, allowing for high throughput “toolless” production. alphacam has incorporated Evolve’s Scaled Volume Production (SVP) platform to deliver high quantities of fully dense, high-fidelity thermoplastic parts.

The Evolve Additive Solutions STEP manufacturing floor. Image via Evolve Additive Solutions.

Elsewhere, Austrian engineering firm and OEM Incus GmbH launched the Hammer Pro40, a Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing (LMM) 3D printer designed to meet demands in mass manufacturing. The Hammer Pro40 offers optimized production capabilities, and can be deployed directly on the factory floor. 

Incus claims that its new 3D printer combines  “unmatched cost efficiency” with high-quality 3D printing. The Hammer Pro40 offers a substantial 3D printing speed of up to 240 layers/h and up to 700 cm3/h. What’s more, the 3D printer reportedly has a cost per cm3 that is four times lower than its predecessor, the Lab35.        

“The Hammer Pro40 was strategically developed to fulfill the growing demand for mass manufacturing with AM while still delivering the unique features of our technology,” stated Incus CEO, Dr Gerald Mitteramskogler. 

The Incus Hammer Pro40. Photo via Incus GmbH.

The Incus Hammer Pro40. Photo via Incus GmbH.

Bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities with AM

Calum Stewart, Director of Defense Programs at Australian metal 3D printer manufacturer SPEE3D, spoke with 3D Printing Industry to discuss the company’s efforts to supply seven WarpSPEE3D 3D printers to Ukraine. Part of a US Department of Defence’s (DoD) Ukraine Security Assistance initiative, this project also saw the Victoria-based company train a number of Ukrainian soldiers and engineers in the use of its cold spray technology.

According to Stewart, SPEE3D’s technology enables Ukrainian troops to quickly manufacture “parts of consequence” at the point of need. The key goal for SPEE3D in Ukraine is to ensure that there is “more equipment in the fight, more of the time,” Stewart stated. “It’s nice to be a 3D printing company that’s actually doing something we think is making a difference.”

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