Year-End Recap: Review of the 3D Printing Industry in October 2023

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October 2023’s developments in 3D printing were highlighted by innovative uses in the fashion industry, most notably the introduction of two unique 3D printed footwear. Additionally, the personalized healthcare sector experienced continuous growth, particularly with 3D Systems expanding its selection of 3D printed medical goods.

You can find more about 3D Printing Industry News from 2023 here.

In other areas, numerous companies are putting efforts towards amplifying additive manufacturing, aiming for serial and bulk production using 3D printing. Additionally, as the Ukraine conflict entered its second year, industrial additive manufacturing firms provided 3D printers to the area in order to aid the nation’s war efforts.

Continue reading for additional key points from Adidas, Carbon, HP, Stratasys, Odapt, Evolve Additive Solutions, SPEE3D, Essentium, and others.

3D printing: a booming trend in Fashion industry

The fashion industry dominated 3D printing news in October. The well-known sports equipment company Adidas expanded its 3D printed shoes range with the introduction of the MC87 4D, a limited-edition, spikeless golf shoe. The MC87 4D comes with an innovative 3D printed midsole manufactured by US 3D printer OEM Carbon with their Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.

The midsole has an incorporated lattice structure designed to provide optimized energy absorption. This efficient mechanism ensures energy is returned to the foot, and crucial support is provided where it’s most needed, the company asserts.

In October, a multinational printing company, HP, also announced its collaboration with Brooks Running to create the Exhilarate-BL running shoes using 3D printing. This new running shoe features 3DNA, a 3D printed midsole that delivers a springy, propulsive sensation.

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

Recent advancements have been seen in the domain of personalized healthcare. 3D Systems’ technology for point-of-care usage experienced growth, particularly with the creation of a patient-specific 3D printed cranial implant, used during a surgery at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

The significance of this announcement rests within the fact that it was the first point of care cranial implant that meets the current Medical Devices Regulations (MDR). Owing to this, 3D Systems stands a great advantage in harnessing the rapidly growing cranial implant market, which is expected to escalate to $2.1 billion by the year 2030.

In other news, CurifyLabs, a company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical customization technology, launched Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) developed Pharma Inks. These innovative 3D printable pharmaceutical inks are designed for on-location creation of patient-tailored and individualized medications in pharmacies and hospitals.

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 co-founders Jessica Nissen, Ivana Llobet and Patricia López. Photo via Odapt.

Scaling production in Additive manufacturing

There was a significant move in October to expand 3D printing to cater for mass and serial manufacturing requirements. A strategic partnership was announced by Minnesota-based 3D printer manufacturer, Evolve Additive Solutions, and German 3D printing service provider, alphacam GmbH, aimed at answering high production demands with 3D printing.

Through this partnership, alphacam is offering parts manufactured with the use of Evolve’s Thermoplastic Electrophotographic (STEP) technology to European clients. Introduced in 2017, the STEP technology makes possible high-speed 3D printing of engineering-grade thermoplastics.

Compared to SLS 3D printing, STEP is claimed to be 50 times faster, enabling a high throughput, “toolless” production. The Scaled Volume Production (SVP) platform of Evolve was adopted by alphacam to produce 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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