Latest in 3D Printing: Flame-Retardant Advances, Scanner Upgrades, and More – News Briefs for June 8, 2024

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We’re starting with a new flame-retardant plastic powder by Siemens Mobility and the LEHVOSS Group, and then moving on to an Artec 3D scanner upgrade and an automated quality control technique out of North Carolina State University. Then, Meltio has a new sales partner in Latin America, and researchers from Sweden are 3D printing very tiny glass sensors. Finally, a 3D printed data starage device will be sent to the moon.

Siemens Mobility Cooperates with LEHVOSS Group on Flame-Retardancy

There are various risk classes for fire protection standard EN 45545 when it comes to the flame retardancy of plastic railway components, and the highest one is for underground trains. It’s already difficult to find safe enough plastics, and if these components are 3D printed, the only option so far has been expensive high-performance polymers, like PEEK, PEI, and PEKK, which are flame-retardant already due to their chemical structure. The cost goes up even more if laser sintering is used, as the necessary high temperatures up to 390°C inside the machines strains the powder. According to the LEHVOSS Group, which develops, produces, and sells specialty chemical and mineral products, inexpensive but very flame-retardant plastic powders with low smoke toxicity that are able from to be safely processed with laser sintering are what’s needed. SIEMENS Mobility developed the basics for this idea, and then cooperated with LEHVOSS to transfer them to a new laser sintering material: LUVOSINT PPS 9268 BK.

Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) is inherently flame-resistant but does not fully meet the high hazard level standards of EN 45545. However, its high flowability makes it suitable for laser sintering additive manufacturing. Additionally, PPS is chemically and thermally stable, allowing for the recycling of used powder. Siemens Mobility and LEHVOSS enhanced the material to create LUVOSINT PPS 9268 BK, which works with both fiber and CO2 lasers and is priced similarly to conventional polyamide powders for laser sintering. Siemens Mobility has certified that components made with this material comply with EN 45545-2’s requirements for R1HL3, R7HL3, and R17HL3. LUVOSINT PPS 9268 BK also meets the flame retardancy standards required for aircraft and bus parts.

Artec 3D Announces Promotional Upgrade for Eva Lite Scanners

Artec 3D, a global leader in 3D scanning technology, offers a limited-time upgrade for Artec Eva Lite 3D scanner owners. Users can upgrade to an Artec Eva at a substantial discount, paying €4,000 instead of the usual €7,000. This remote upgrade process doesn’t require any additional hardware or shipping of products. The offer is open until August 31, 2024, for scanners purchased before March 2024. Prospective upgraders should contact Artec 3D immediately to take advantage of this opportunity.

The upgrade to Artec Eva enhances scanning capabilities significantly, enabling the capture of more detailed and realistic 3D models. This improvement is aided by the advanced HD Mode, powered by AI, which delivers clean, detailed scans, even of complex textureless surfaces. Upgraded tracking improves the efficiency of data processing. Photos can be fused with scan data for more photorealistic results. To learn more, watch this informative webinar.

NC State Researchers Improve Finishing for 3D Printed Machine Parts

A new technique developed by researchers at North Carolina State University enhances the finishing process for those manufacturing 3D printed metal machine parts. This method involves continuing the finishing of these parts and includes automated measurements to ensure they meet crucial tolerances. If discrepancies are found, adjustments can be made promptly. By using an integrated system that combines 3D printing with automated machining, laser scanning, and touch-sensitive measuring technologies alongside corresponding software, this approach allows for the more efficient production of metal machine components that meet exacting standards without the need for re-machining.

“We were able to finish the part in 200 minutes using conventional techniques; we were able to finish the same part in 133 minutes using our new technique. Depending on the situation, saving 67 minutes could be incredibly important. Time is money in most professional settings. And in emergency response contexts, for example, it could be the difference between life and death,” said Brandon McConnell, an assistant research professor at NC State’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and co-corresponding author of the research paper.

“All of the hardware we used in this technique is commercially available, and we outline the necessary software clearly in the paper—so we feel that this new approach could be adopted and put into use almost immediately. And we are certainly open to working with partners who are interested in making use of this technique in their operations,” he concluded.

Meltio Releasing M600 in Latin America with New Sales Partner

Meltio is set to introduce its new M600 wire-laser metal 3D printer in Latin America, facilitated by its collaboration with new sales partners. MAS Metrology & Solutions and Molinari, integral parts of South America’s MOLGROUP, possess significant market influence in Brazil and Argentina respectively and will assist Meltio in driving industrial sales of its innovative technology. This technology is centered around a safe, clean, and cost-effective welding wire. Through partnerships with various sectors such as industry, academia, technology centers, machinery companies, and robotic integrators, these allies are positioned to propel Meltio’s expansion across the region.

“We are excited to collaborate with entities like MOLGROUP whose expertise and customer-focused strategies align perfectly with what we seek in partners within the Meltio partner ecosystem,” stated Antonio Antonaya, APAC & LATAM Sales Manager at Meltio. “Our partnership with MAS in Brazil comes at a time when there is a heightened demand within numerous local industries for our unique wire-laser metal 3D printing solutions in this substantial market. Together, we plan to meet the rising needs of the MAS Metrology and Solutions client base, facilitating metal Additive Manufacturing adoption,” added Antonaya.

3D Printing Silica Glass Sensors on Optical Fibers

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology recently published a paper about their innovative approach integrating silica glass optical devices with optical fibers. This technology could significantly improve remote sensors used in healthcare and environmental monitoring. Traditionally, high-temperature processes are required to structure optical fiber tips with silica glass, which can damage temperature-sensitive fiber coatings. However, this new technique utilizes a carbon-free base material, allowing the formation of transparent glass structures without the need for high temperatures. The researchers successfully 3D printed a miniature silica glass sensor, proving it to be more robust than traditional plastic-based sensors, even after repeated use. They also developed a method to create exceedingly small patterns, known as nanogratings, on surfaces. These nanogratings, essential for manipulating light, have potential uses in quantum communication.

“By bridging the gap between 3D printing and photonics, the implications of this research are far-reaching, with potential applications in microfluidic devices, MEMS accelerometers, and fiber-integrated quantum emitters,” stated KTH Professor Kristinn Gylfason.

3D Printed Data Storage Device Going to the Moon

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a Danish architecture studio, has collaborated with Florida-based tech company Lonestar Data Holdings Inc to develop a 1 kg 3D printed data storage unit named Freedom Payload. This device, embodying the silhouettes of NASA astronauts Charles Duke and Nicole Stott, represents the legacy of NASA’s Apollo program and the ongoing Artemis lunar program. It will be deployed to the moon to preserve data from enterprises, governments, and NGOs, ensuring safety against terrestrial catastrophes. This initiative is supported by research from institutions such as the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University. Expectations for the launch are set for later this year through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services mission. The 3D printed device, a pioneer of its kind in space, will host eight terabytes of data, operating on solar power and benefiting from natural lunar cooling.

Lonestar highlighted the integration of 3D printing techniques by BIG that harmonize design and utility, creating a structure adept at enduring the lunar environment while encouraging sustainable practices in space.

“As we evolve into a data-intensive society, establishing data centers on the moon provides a sustainable solution to fulfill Earth’s data needs while shielding our planet from the environmental impacts of conventional data centers,” noted Lonestar.

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