Fira de Barcelona is one of the premier show organizers in Europe and in the World. Now in its third year, the In3Dustry show represents its bet on AM as the future of manufacturing and a window for companies to address local markets and the larger Southern European industrial area. In3Dustry 2019 offered quite a few interesting AM scenarios, products and ideas, originating from both the local Catalunya area and other European regions. These are ten reasons that made it definitely worth it to attend.
Avinent’s successful business model for medical 3D
One of Spain’s most interesting companies is Avinent. The medical service company has been making significant investments in AM, with the latest begin a brand new J750 multicolor and multi-material system from Stratasys. At In3Dustry 2019, we were able to speak with Avinent’s General Manager Albert Giralt Cadevall at the company’s booth. Mr. Cadevall explained some of the key factors behind Avivent’s success as the company is now providing 3D printing services to as many as 41 hospitals in Spain and a number of hospitals abroad as well.
These services include three segments in particular: implants (in metal), pre-surgical medical models and surgical guides. “We provide AM services on demand so that doctors and hospital managers can fully comprehend the benefits of additive manufacturing without a significant initial investment required,” Mr. Cadevall said. “We then also provide systems to install systems within the hospitals’ premises once so that they can have immediate access to the technology when they need it.”
AMable, Fraunhofer’s vision to bring AM to every SME in Europe
Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute is among the leading academic institutions in Europe for research on AM. IN fact, SLM technology was invented there, at the ILT (the Laser Institute). Wanted and run by Fraunhofer ILT’s Professor Ulrich Thombannsen, AMable (Additive Manufactur-able) is a European Horizon 2020 project to facilitate digital design for additive manufacturing in all those SME’s that cannot make the high initial investment into systems and workforce education. In order to make these companies even more comfortable in adopting AM, AMable also develops solutions for a secure digital data chain. The project also involves several other high profile institutions such as the UK’s MTC (Manufacturing Technology Center) and several other European universities.
KTM’s composite 3D printed motorcycle parts
KTM Technologies, one of the companies in the Austrian KTM group, presented a fascinating case study on the production of motorcycle levers using SLS technology. The particularity of this project is that it uses several different materials (both metal and plastic), combining – or hybridizing – them with continuous fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) to obtain excellent performance results.
The example mimics the shape of a long-style brake lever used on KTM motorbikes. It represents a future use case of an AM-polymer core combined with CFRP on a three-dimensional complex surface. The freedom that AM provides to the geometry allowed the development of a load-path oriented hybrid part, increasing the lightweight factor to 40%, compared to an AlSi10Mg reference model for the criteria of ISO 8710 (stay tuned for more in our upcoming full coverage of this story).
A rich conference and workshop program
The highlight of the In3Dustry show and conference has always been the quality of the speakers called to discuss their experience. During the first edition, the organizers were among the first to recognize the need to organize the conference program according to specific market verticals: aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer.
This year the show continued to offer high-quality talks from professionals using AM in segments ranging from aerospace to the energy segment. In addition, the show offered a rich selection of hands’on workshop, once again reflecting the overall industry trend and need for a more practical approach to the possibilities offered by AM.
Aceo’s silicone 3D printing technology continues to evolve
This company is not very good at communicating with us and the media in general, however, its technology speaks for itself. Its silicone 3D printing capabilities are unique and continue to improve, now producing even more intricate geometries and accurate resolutions capabilities.
There still is some work to do before it can truly compete with injection molded products but it’s clear that it can already meet the demand for medical requirements. Too bad they don’t seem very eager to discuss their products, which inevitably makes us ponder whether it is sufficiently reliable for commercial use.
HP teaching metal 3D printing
One of these hands-on education approaches was reflected by the HP University, a series of courses that In3Dustry developed with HP on AM, starting with presentations on its new and upcoming metal 3D printing technology. The idea was so successful that HP is now going to offer such course around Europe.
Ceramics, composites and biomaterials
Barcelona is home to both a rich experimental design community and advanced biotech research. Both these fascinating 3D printable materials – ceramics and biomaterials – were displayed on the show floor, showing the latest advances in terms of 3D printability.
The first Figure 4 in Spain, courtesy of 3DZ
At the last edition of In3Dustry, European 3D printer distributor 3DZ announced its entrance on the Spanish market through a partnership with local retailers. This year that partnership is bearing fruits and the company is consolidating. One of the key advantages is that 3DZ is the first company in Spain to offer 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology and gave a display of the systems impressive resolution capabilities.
IAM 3D Hub’s AM Factory tour
With one of the largest farms of HP Jet Fusion systems (8 printers, 4 post-processing stations, and 21 build units), IAM 3D Hub is a key meeting point for private companies, public agents and research centers who are looking to invest and venture into AM. Defined as a Digital Innovation Hub and Competence Center in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing, the Hub will provide SMEs a “One-Stop” Shop to assess, guide and address all their needs in AM.
IAM 3DHub aims to accelerate the adoption and development of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies in Europe as an alternative way to design, develop and manufacture new competitive products and services that strengthens their competitiveness. During In3Dustry, several tours were organized to visit the facility.