Of all the families of materials used for additive manufacturing, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites present unique characteristics, benefits and challenges. Additive manufacturing promises to evolve the adoption of composite materials, making it more efficient, cost-effective and fast to mass produce parts that can offer an unparalleled combination of properties.

The reason why that is not the case is that traditional composite manufacturing – based on woven fiber sheets in a  thermoset (epoxy) resin matrix is among the most manual labor intensive – and costly  –  among manufacturing processes. Composites today are used to make high end automotive, sports equipment, medical and aircraft parts: products that are highly customized and not mass-produced. The ultimate goal of the firms working on additive manufacturing of composites is to make the production of composite parts scalable, without sacrificing materials properties.

Achieving this goal requires some of the most complex manufacturing engineering know-how, along with some of the most complex manufacturing hardware and software that has ever been developed. The transition towards automated, mass-produced composite parts will be a gradual one. Additive manufacturing is the core element of it but it is not the only one: new technologies are emerging that more or less seamlessly combine AM processes within an automated end-to-end workflow in order to ensure the highest level of performance. This is inextricably connected to the use of continuous fibers.

However, composites AM is not just about top part performance but also about improving the performance of polymer 3D printed parts, to make parts stronger, lighter and larger. This is where additive manufacturing of chopped fiber composites found its – rapidly growing –  niche. 3D printing with chopped fibers of differing lengths is much less complicated than 3D printing with continuous fibers and it emerged first.

  • Markforged founder Greg Mark leaves company

    Greg Mark, the inventor of the CFF (continuous filament fabrication) process and founder of Markforged is leaving the company. Back in 2013, Greg was the first to adapt filament extrusion 3D printing technology to integrate a continuous fiber reinforcement filament in order to make printed parts significantly stronger. Based on…

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  • Markforged to move into larger HQ and expand materials facility

    Extrusion 3D printer OEM Markforged (NYSE: MKFG) is relocating its global headquarters to Waltham, Massachusetts. The new Markforged HQ will unite the company’s employees who have been working from two different facilities in Watertown, also in Massachusetts, in one location at 60 Tower Road, and Markforged will nearly double its…

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  • Setforge to serially produce composite parts using 9T Labs technology

    For over a century, Setforge (part of the Farinia Group) has been forging and machining high-volume, precision metal components for demanding industries like automotive and aerospace. However, to maintain leadership and adapt to changing times, the company has invested in technology that will enable it to design and produce high-performance…

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  • Raise3D E2CF 3D printer

    Raise3D sets sights on flexible manufacturing solutions

    Among the AM industry’s key hardware manufacturers is Raise3D, a global company founded through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015. Initially focused on bringing to market 3D printers for the prosumer market, the company has in recent years increasingly turned its focus to industrial applications. Recently, this strategy has been bolstered…

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  • Camozzi welcomes you to MasterPrint, the biggest show in AM

    Not everyone associates the Camozzi name with some of the largest and most high-profile 3D printing projects ever done, from the first full-size, fully 3D printed boat to giant tools and construction components. With the opening of the Camozzi Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) center in Milan, hosting MasterPrint, the world’s largest…

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  • Raise3D announces RMF500 carbon fiber FFF printer

    Raise3D, a hardware, software and materials developer headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has announced its latest 3D printer, the RMF500. The new machine, built from hardened steel components, is a large-format FFF printer that can process carbon fiber reinforced material. It is the company’s second printer optimized for carbon fiber…

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  • ARRIS Raises $88.5 Million in Series C Funding

    ARRIS, an advanced manufacturer specializing in high-performance composites, has raised $88.5 million in Series C funding. Led by XN, the round saw participation from new and returning investors, including Modern Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Taiwania Capital, Bosch, Valo Ventures, and Alumni Ventures Group. The latest funding will be…

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  • Solvay & 9T Labs bring AM of carbon composite parts to mass production

    High-performance resin and carbon fiber-reinforced composites supplier, Solvay SA is working with advanced manufacturing solution OEM 9T Labs AG to help bring additively manufactured carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts to mass production. The joint effort will focus on the development of carbon fiber-reinforced polyetheretherketone (CF/PEEK), CF-reinforced bio-based high-performance polyamides, and CF-reinforced…

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  • Anisoprint introduces PROM IS 500 and invites beta users

    At Formnext 2021 Anisoprint will (finally) be launching the industry-scale high-temperature polymer machine for continuous fiber 3D printing. The company is also inviting the first beta testers. With the market trending toward the scalability of additive manufacturing at the highest possible level, PROM IS 500, Anisoprint’s largest industrial 3D printer…

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  • Moi Composites and Malo Clinic partner on GFR 3D for dentistry

    Moi Composites has established a partnership agreement with Malo Clinic, renowned dental experts based in Portugal. The partnership includes clinical trial cases using Hi-Fiber products, a line of efficient, effective, metal-free dental reinforcement structures designed and 3D printed from advanced materials and moi Composites’ exclusive, patented technology Continuous Fiber Manufacturing…

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