Apple Watch Series 10 Set to Revolutionize Manufacturing with 3D Printing

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Now that the weekend is finally here, we are once again taking a look back at the news of the week in our #3DExpress. Starting it off, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has once again predicted that the company will be using 3D printing for the Series 10 Apple Watch. Another great success for the use of additive manufacturing in consumer goods. Next, learn all about Azul 3D’s next 3D printer, Ocean, their biggest solution yet and Fizik’s optimized, 3D printed bike saddles. Wrap it up with the news about BigRep’s industrial 3D printer and the new stainless steel material from XJet for use with its NPJ solutions. Happy reading!

Apple Is Once Again Using 3D Printing for its Apple Watches

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back! After predicting in July of last year that Apple would be using 3D printing in the Apple Watch Ultra, confirmed later in 2023, he has now predicted that the Series 10 of the Apple Watch, beginning in the 2nd half of 2024, will once again use parts made using 3D printing technology. What has changed however is that the supplier, BLT (who has also been making waves this year) will be making the components directly. Also, after intensive testing that improved the production efficiency of 3D printing at Apple, mass production of 3D printed parts is expected. The watch is also expected to feature a larger screen and a thinner design. News to keep an eye on!

Azul 3D Launches OCEAN™ 3D Printer

Azul 3D, a leading 3D printing startup known for its HARP™ technology, has announced the launch of its next printer named OCEAN™. Building upon its predecessor LAKE™, the 3D printer is expected to maintain the 72um high resolution and high speed of over 300 mm per hour (while still allowing for fine features), at a significantly larger size. The build area is, at 812 mm x 812 mm, relatively large for a resin solution for what the company claims is the world’s largest and most productive area-wide 3D printing solution. “Our strategy is to empower the future of digital manufacturing,” confirmed John Hartner, CEO of Azul 3D. “The OCEAN platform is a new-to-industry capability, with the opportunity to enable new high-volume products and supply chains.”

Fizik Optimizes the Design of its Bicycle Seats

Founded in 1996, Fizik is a sports equipment company born with the mission to offer the best solutions for the world’s most demanding cyclists. In collaboration with GebioMized, a German company specializing in bicycle fit and pressure mapping data, Fizik is optimizing its bicycle saddles. Together, the companies designed a system to collect pressure mapping data from individual cyclists to then design and 3D print a customized saddle. This measurement method relies on the actual seated position on the bike to collect vital data on peak pressure identifiers, pressure points and pelvic tilt. “We know that a good, accurate fit depends on many factors: bike geometry, intended use, saddle shape, and position,” explains Giovanni Fogal, Brand Manager at Fizik. “But most importantly every cyclist is unique: experience, sensitivity, history of injuries, body shape, riding goals. All of this can affect the way we sit on the saddle. It’s clear that a traditional one-to-many saddle design can only provide an approximate solution to very specific problems. With One-to-One today we achieve what every saddle manufacturer has always dreamed of: bringing to life customized support available to every cyclist.”

BigRep Launches New Industrial FFF Printer

Just yesterday, German printer manufacturer BigRep GmbH announced the launch of a new industrial 3D printer. The Bim VIIO 250 is a highly automated FFF 3D printer that is designed to process technical and fiber-reinforced materials to produce high-resolution parts. Several tools ensure that the printing process is as automated as possible and only minimal manual intervention is required. For example, the printer is equipped with an Infinity Box for automatic filament handling and has a Relay Mode, a backup extruder functionality that enables uninterrupted production. Further highlights are the generous build chamber of 1000 x 500 x 500 mm and the open material system. With the VIIO 250, BigRep is targeting efficient production for industrial applications, such as the automotive industry. Jens Krämer, Head of Prototyping at Magirus GmbH, has already been able to test the printer as a manufacturer of fire engines and enthuses: “It’s great to see that concepts from the desktop printer sector are now also finding their way into the industrial environment. Being able to rely on the automatic calibration of the print bed, the filament throughput and the X and Y axes makes my day-to-day work much easier and ensures reliable results.” The BigRep VIIO 250 will be officially unveiled next week at RAPID + TCT and in a virtual launch event.

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XJet Adds New Stainless Steel Material

Israeli industrial 3D printer manufacturer XJet has just added a new material to its portfolio of solutions. The 17-4PH stainless steel is expected to extend the industrial applications now possible with the company’s patented NanoParticle Jetting technology. The material has high tensile strength and hardness. Andy Middleton, CBO of XJet, adds: “With the new solution for 17-4PH, support materials can be removed in down to six hours – a stark contrast to other AM processes. 17-4PH enables us to effectively collaborate with industry leaders to produce cutting-edge end-use parts at unique designs, quality and speeds that their respective industries will not have seen before.” For those heading to the RAPID + TCT show next week, you can find some parts 3D printed with this metal at the XJet booth.

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