The formnext 2016 show is not a large show (it is contained within one Hall of the Frankfurt Messe complex) but all the biggest companies are present and they are making plenty of high profile announcements. Some are materializations of ideas and concepts presented last year, such as Concept Laser’s Factory of Tomorrow, and most are straight up new machines, larger, faster, more complete and able to work with more materials than ever. These are the most interesting ones we saw on day 1 (not in any specific order).
Concept Laser’s Quad Laser Factory of Tomorrow
Last year they presented a vision, this year they presented a real, functional, quad 400 watt laser machine built to fit into a Factory of Tomorrow with its automated finishing station, post-processing stations and dozens more machines like it all managed through an iPad during the entire production process (see full press release for more information)
Roboze’s New One +400 Machine and High Performance Materials
Many were skeptical but Roboze’s PEEK (even medical grade), PEI and composite materials are the real thing, even on complex, large ultra strong parts. The company announced an upcoming partnership with a Formula 1 team and is soon going to announce new partnership in the medical and aerospace sectors.
Roland’s New Ceramic Binder Jetting Industrial 3D Printer
Nobody saw this one coming: the newly formed (one year ago) Ink, Industrial Business Development Unit presented a brand new prototype for a binder jetting system working specifcally on ceramics. Considering ceramics is one of the materials most asked for on 3D Systems’ machines it may just be a good idea.
XJet’s Fully Functional NanoParticle Jetting 3D Printer with Metal and Ceramics
Last year they were not even at the show, now the most technologically advanced 3D printer in the world is here and printing reliably multiple metal parts using nanoparticle jetting technology. Not content they now also presented ceramics but the point is that nanoparticle jetting can print with any nano material.
3ntr’s New Ultra Affordable nPower PEEK Substitute
Not many company’s can actually compete with the big guns of AM at formnext but 3ntr’s is one of these and one of the reasons is its material knowledge and capabilities. The latest is the white nPower filament which is an easy to print, affordable PEEK-level material, capable of up to 200° continued heat resistance, high chemical resistance and low water absorption.
3D Systems Robotic Serial Manufacturing System
AM robots are all the craze lately and 3D Systems just had to bring its own take on multi-axes robotic 3D printing to formnext this year. The system is build for serial manufacturing and uses a photpolymerization process with a large selection of compatible photopolymer resins, including rubber like materials. The company also presented the new 3DXpert software with which it wants to take on Materialise’s Magix dominance in AM.
Sisma’s New Mysint 300 Laser Metal Fusion System
Last year’s stylish stand hinted at the new, larger, metal 3D printing system from Sisma. This year the stand was built to welcome the new machine, real and fully functional. The new build platform is launching the company from jewelry and dentistry into the world of industrial manufacturing.
EOS’s Push for Serial Manufacturing of Thousands of Parts
Maybe it’s because it feels HP’s and GE’s intentions are less then friendly, now EOS is starting to really push its systems into production. It’s doing it by simply making its systems work more. The question is, since they can do it and they are very likely the best at it still, why did they not do it earlier? More info on EOS’s many news in the press release.
BigRep’s Two New Systems
Here is another company that many – myself included – were skeptical about and yet the Berlin-based startup not only continues to sell machines but it also became leader of a segment of AM (medium cost – large size systems) that has already gathered a good following. So the company diversified and just launched two new systems: an enclosed, large size cartesian 3D printer and a very large size, heated chamber delta. More info in the press release.
HP’s Huge Stand
We’ve already told you everything about HP’s technology. Now it’s time to see it deliver. The company has a disruptive technology between its hands and now it has to build a global business. If the business is going to be proportional to the size of the stand at formnext they are going in the right direction.
Additive Industries MetalFab 1 Is Here
Another system that last year was tucked away inside the factory and this year has made it to the show floor. It’s big but it could make its way into many more factories soon. Actually it IS a full, stand alone factory.
Ultimaker’s New Double Extrusion System
The system was launched over the summer but the this is the first big show that it is present at. Demand appears strong, especially among professional users, so formnext is good place for it. After all there is a market for machines that cost millions and another market for those that cost a few thousand. And both of those markets are represented at formnext.