IMTS is a huge manufacturing show and for the first time it filled out every one of the halls in the three buildings of the Chicago McCormick Center. AM is still a small part of all this but it continues to grow and catalyze the world’s attention. Most of the focus this year was of course on HP, as the company chose IMTS to present it Metal Jet AM technology to the world. However many more recently announced systems and products were present on the show floor. Here are some of the AM highlights seen at IMTS 2018.
The International Manufacturing Technology Show set record numbers with 1,424,232 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 2,123 booths representing 2,563 exhibiting companies. Exhibitors have brought in more than 55 million lbs. of machinery on 4,465 trucks with eight machines weighing more than 100,000 lbs. As of Sept. 7th, the number of pre-registered visitors exceeded 113,000, which is also on pace for a possible record.
“IMTS 2018 is setting records because manufacturing technology has grown exponentially since last show,” said Peter R. Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS. “The rapid growth of digital technology, automation and additive manufacturing are especially driving interest. The booming manufacturing economy means visitors have capital and are ready to invest.”
Velo3D’s support-free metal PBF 3D printer and Matsuura’s 5th Gen Avance-25
Velo3D’s impressive new approach to metal laser powder bed fusion – which enables support free 3D printing and thus pushes even further the geometric capabilities of AM – was one of the biggest pre-IMTS announcements. Seein the Sapphire system in person and watching it 3D print a large part filling the entire build volume was fascinating. Too bad for the remote location of the booth in the North hall but definitely worth the walk. Too bad that the huge Avance-60 hybrid system from Matsuura was not present at the Japanese manufacturer’s booth. However the Avance-25 hybrid subtractive and additive SLM – introduced in 2002 and now in its 5th generation – is still one of the most advanced metal AM systems on the market.
Ingersoll’s new largest 3D printer in the world for composite parts
Walking through large tooling show you never know what you’re going to bump into. This time it was INGERSOLL’s new 140′ wide composite extrusion 3D printer. After CI’s BAAM and Thermwood’s WAAM, this system that can 3D print an entire wind turbine blade and even the hull of a boat take the title of world’s largest composite 3D printer. We’ll definitely have more on it soon.
HP Steven Nigro’s opening IMTS keynote and HP booth show
In what might have been his last high-profile keynote, HP 3D Printing’s former president Steven Nigro, showed how to get an audience excited about taking a new technology and transforming it into something that will affect the lives of millions of people. HP is one of the reasons why AM was so relevant at IMTS and will continue to be relevant in the 12 trillion manufacturing market even if it is still generating only a small fraction of these revenues. With the support of top execs in charge of 3D printing at Volkswagen, GKN and Wilo – as well as several printed parts at HP’s booth – Mr Nigro showed that AM for mass production is in sight.
IMTS 2018: 3D Systems FabPro 1000 and DMP 500 + EDM solution with GF Machining
3D Systems’ new DMP 500, developed in partnership with subtractive manufacturing and EDM giant GF Machining is not just extremely large – with a full 500 cubic millimeter build volume – but also very practical as it works with GF Machining’s automated EDM system for perfect part removal. The system uses electric current to precisely cut printed parts off the build plate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the new small size FabPro 1000 system brings a professional stereolithographic solution to the desktop.
Highlights from DAY ONE:
IMTS 2018: Stratasys CF 380 and Fortus F900
Stratasys’ recently announced Fortus F380 for composites was at the company’s booth and looked even tougher than in the early photos. The latest F900 systems were also working on some large ULTEM parts.
IMTS 2018: New Optomec’s and Mazak’s Hybrid systems
By integrating a Hybrid tool for additive, the gigantic Mazak subtractive systems can become metal deposition 3D printers. Optomec’s newest LENS 860 system also enables metal deposition AM at more affordable costs.
IMTS 2018: HP Metal Jet and Desktop Metal Production
The competition is effectively on for MIM-based metal binder jetting technologies for production: HP and Google/BMW powered Desktop Metal battle it out in this segment with working systems. More on HP’s Metal Jet announcements and products here and here.
IMTS 2018: EOS M300-4 and 3D Systems Figure 4
Industry leaders EOS and 3D Systems showed off some recently finalized and introduced systems such as the new mid-size M300-4 metal laser powder bed fusion (successor to the top-selling M270/280290 family) and the modular Figure 4 system for stereolithography part production.
IMTS 2018: Carbon’s stylish booth and automated production line
Carbon’s booth was particularly well designed and welcoming. The company showed off its own approach to automated digital light synthesis (DLS) for AM part production.
IMTS 2018: Markforged, Impossible Objects and 3DXTech Composites
Composites always take center stage in AM, with MarkForged still leading the segment even as it enters the bound metal AM market. The interesting new system from Impossible Objects continues to evolve, while advanced filament manufacturer 3DXTech is also experiencing exponential growth in demand due to new high-temp extrusion systems finally populating the market.
IMTS 2018: Roboze PEEK 3D printer and Hybrid polymer extruder
One of these high-temp systems is from Roboze, one of the first manufacturer of a PEEK capable extrusion 3D printer. Hybrid is another smaller company making a big impact with additive tools for CNC machines. The company presented its first polymer deposition tool.