Additive Manufacturing at AVALON AIR SHOW 2017 (Victoria Australia)

This year at Australias International Airshow was the debut of the F35 JSF to the Australian public.

But beside of many more military as civil aircraft, there was also quite a few additive manufactured components on display.


AMAERO Engineering Pty Ltd had two large  Aluminium parts on their booth. A turbine housing which demonstrated the current state direct metal AM technologies. The second part was a large bracket for a Chinese aerospace manufacturer.
This part was manufactured on AMAEROs CONCEPT LASER X-Line 2000R system. But it takes even a dual laser system still about a week to produce a part of this size.

CONFLUX Technology

At the booth of DEAKIN University, several Selective Laser Melting parts were on show. This heat exchanger from CONFLUX TECHNOLOGIES for example. The complexity of the part is certainly hidden inside.



On this INSITU PACIFIC ScanEagle®  several Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) parts could be spotted. SLS has proven to be ideal when it comes to manufacturing of small to medium-sized drone components. Through SLS, complex shapes can be manufactured, in durable materials with full flexibility regarding customisation and design iterations. All this at a very competitive price level.


DSTG (Defence Science and Technology Group)

DSTG (previously known as DSTO) had several Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) parts on display. This process, belonging to the group of direct energy deposition technologies, is oftentimes also referred to with ‘cladding’.

Terminology aside, the first parts where fatigue specimens to assess the possibility of a novel repair method for a housing of a landing gear.

Fatigue Specimen: 1. weakened – 1. rebuilt – 2. machined for testing

So these specimens were used for lab testing to qualify the repair process. The specimen in the middle shows how it looks directly after the LMF process. Whilst tested, the specimens were subject to swelling stress and compression loadings and actually outperformed the ‘as new’ properties.

This image shows a weapon carrier which was damaged through vibrations of the payload. LMF was used rebuilt the damaged sections on both sides.

rebuilt surface / LMF tracks on weapon carrier
Weapon carrier

Once qualified, such repair techniques can offer significant cost savings potentials. Especially if the current method is simply replacing the parts. Another reason to repair and reconditioning such components is to avoid the, sometimes significant, lead times. So if cost saving through repairing comes together with increased up-time of the weapon system it makes it an easy decision to go for the repair process.

Read more about Additive Manufacturing in Aero-Industry



There was also a new player in metal AM exhibiting at the show.
TITOMIC offers industrial solutions for cold-gas dynamic spraying, commonly known as ‘Coldspray’.
TITOMIC is calling the process Titomic Kinetic Fusion TKF
On display was an ABB robot, handling a cold spray-gun for building up near net shape components with titanium.


The bike frame shown had a total weight of 1,20 kg and the total material usage was only 1,35 kg. The build time and robotic finishing were both under 20 mins each.

Titomic is currently building a demonstrator facility with a build-envelope of 7m x 3m x 1,5, / 23′ x 9’10” x 5′,
claiming it will be the largest metal additive production envelope globally.

Cold gas dynamic spraying – Cold spray
Cold spray uses the bonding effect of fast accelerated metal particles hitting a target.
No heat is required for the bonding, resulting in parts without internal residual stress.
The fact that lower cost powders can be utilised combined with high deposition rates (≤60kg/hr)
making the process very economical.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

Additive Manufacturing in medical applications in Switzerland 2/2

3D-Print Lab at University-Hospital Basel


I was visiting Dr. med. et med. dent. Florian Thieringer, senior CMF consultant and Head of the Medical Additive Manufacturing Research Group (MAM).

Dr. med. et med. dent. Florian Thieringer has a clear passion for Additive Manufacturing.
As a surgeon, Florian realized the benefits of applying AM for medical applications.
Using 3D printing enables the surgeon to see and feel the bone structure, prior surgery or checking the fit of implants and guides. All these possibilities are significant advantages for the surgeon preparing the surgery. But the models are not only useful in the theater. Florian explained to me how valuable the models are when it comes to explaining procedures to the patients. A physical model in hand makes patients more easily understand what the problem is and how the surgery will be conducted. Again, saving time and avoiding misunderstandings.

Florian partnered up with his colleagues from the radiology department. These colleagues are providing the 3D-imaging, the input data for the 3D printers. Together they started a 3D-Print Lab in the University Hospital of Basel.
Now, medical models can be ordered internally, instead of sourcing these externally at high cost from service bureaus. Lower costs and shorter lead times making the technology way more easily accessible for the surgeons. To ease the process, Florian and his colleagues from the 3D-Print Lab created a direct link in the hospital IT-system. So every colleague at the hospital can easily inquire about 3D printed models directly.

The machines used are in the consumer and prosumer level. Combined with professional software (FDA approved), precision and quality requirements can be met while keeping costs low. Larger models can be printed in sections on several machines overnight, think of ‘distributed manufacturing’. Florian showed me their gallery with collected models of their work.
Interesting was a skull section, used for pre-bending of a standard plate to fix an orbital-floor-fracture. This surgery requires high precision as the orbital floor is the fragile bone wall which is supporting the eyeball. Even small inaccuracies would result in a misalignment of the eye.

The plate in the photo is an implant made by MIMEDIS AG using SLM technology

So it is possible to use a (comparable cheap) polymer extrusion printer to create medical models. But with a geometrical accuracy high enough to use as a jig to pre-bend a standard implant into the shape needed, matching the patient’s physiology.
The implant is then sterilized and taken to the theater. Florian pointed out the other option is to simply sterilize the model take it into the theater and form the plate right there.

The results speak for themselves, improving outcomes of operations by higher accuracy, the reduction of the stress of the surgeon, time saved in the theater and through all that a reducing of costs.

The success of the team has also impressed the hospital management, who will now provide a more space and more funding for the 3D Print Lab.

Dr. med. et med. dent. Florian Thieringer also head of  ‘Medical Additive Manufacturing research group’ short MAM. The organisation connects experts in Medical Additive Manufacturing and helps to spread the word of using AM in medical applications.
Check it out:


Written by Matthias Bringezu

Additive Manufacturing in medical applications in Switzerland 1/2

At FHNW I was meeting Ralf Schumacher, a scientist and lecturer.
Ralf Schumacher is also the CEO of MIMEDIS AG, a company which is providing patient specific medical solutions.

Ralf Schumacher has been applying and developing Additive Manufacturing technologies for many years. So he is a senior expert when it comes to medical modeling and Selective Laser Melting.
The laboratory at FHNW campus in Basel is equipped with two laser-based powder bed fusion / SLM systems. A Realizer SLM100 installed in 2006 and an MTT Technologies / SLM Solutions SLM250HL from 2010. The SLM250HL running on medical grade titanium and the system is certified for the production of medical devices. Certainly, a process not many universities would take on. Ralf explained to me how much effort it took to certify machine and process and showed me the documentation. In 2017 another SLM machine will be added to the set-up to have a second machine solely for research purposes. Further, the lab is equipped with poly-jet machines and powder bed infusion systems. A bioprinter is used in another department.
So Ralf and his team are working on better solutions and outcomes for patients through the use of AM technologies. From studies on scaffold sizes for bone in-grows in implants to the development of SLM-alloys for implants to the processing of bio-absorbable materials with AM.
Important to mention is the variety of very specialised testing equipment to assess the results in-house at FHNW.  Close ties to medical industry, surgeons and hospitals making the work at FHNW everything but blue-sky research. 

Ralf is also CEO of the MIMEDIS AG a company specialised on custom implants, surgical-guides, and preoperative planning models. With turn-around times of typically 3-5 days, MIMEDIS delivers patient-specific medical devices when off-the-shelf solutions simply wouldn’t do the job. So it was very interesting to hear about the current work and getting a glimpse of the future of the company.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

FORMNEXT 2016 DAY 4 _ What is news in software for Additive Manufacturing?

Day four of FORMNEXT 2016, the catch-up of Additive Manufacturing & 3D-printing industry



SIEMENS announced a ‘build processor’ for laser based powder bed fusion systems and a bit more.
Shown at FORMNEXT was only a demonstrator software but SIEMENS will launch a plug-in for the NX™ PLM-software. The plug-in will be an end-to-end solution, eliminating the need for data handover/conversion to create machine-data.
SIMENS partnered up with MATERIALISE using Magics in the background, allowing the entire build preparation. This means a seamless process from the first sketch to the machine data. The data generated will be an all-in-one format, containing the entire design process (including optimization) support structure generation and layer/scan information. A 2D nesting software will be onboard and later also 3D-nesting. Further, there will be no data handover to use Optimization and FEA packages as such are already optional in NX™.
The first reactions were very positive as the STL. is still the quasi-standard which simply nobody likes but has to deal with.
SIEMENS also partnered up with TRUMPF, offering the capabilities of the MATERIALISE Build Processor in TRUMPFs TruTops Print with NX software. TRUMPF was the first company to offer access to their machines and has collaborated with SIEMENS on the development. Read SIEMENS press releases here.
Further SIEMENS announced a partnership with STRATASYS.


Alexander Oster (Director Additive Manufacturing at AUTODESK) talking about Generative Design and the AIRBUS Partitioning- project

AUTODESK has invested heavily in AM over the last years.
Alexander Oster (Director for Additive Manufacturing at AUTODESK) explained in his presentation on the TCT-Stage how AUTODESK has strategically invested in additive manufacturing since 2008. The acquisition of NETFAB and WITHIN TECHNOLOGIES, two key players in AM software, but also the earlier acquisitions like Moldflow fit nicely into the portfolio. More recently Autodesk invested in hardware companies like FIT TECHNOLOGY GROUP, OPTOMEC, Carbon3D and XJET to drive Additive Manufacturing.


Process Simulation software

They idea of process simulation is not new at all, looking at injection molding or laser welding industry which have been using simulation for years and years.
But more and more vendors are taking on this technology to improve geometric accuracy of additively manufactured metal parts. High-temperature gradients in the laser based powder bed fusion process (SLM / DMLS)  are leading to residual stress. Temperature gradients over the build height are leading to further deformations of the parts. After a heat treatment for stress-relief, the parts simply deform. Simulating this distortion enables to digitally invert the deformation on the nominal models. So the parts are built on purpose deformed, allowing them to bend back into the shape of the nominal model during the annealing. Further, build-up orientation of parts can be optimised.
Looking at components which can take up to hundreds of hours to be built and parts which have to be first-time-right, this software solutions can mitigate risks and ensure higher part quality. It will be interesting to see when these tools will fit seamlessly into the data preparation process.

“Software is key”

Watch this interview with Sean Keith, Machine Technology Integration Leader at GE Additive was recorded at FORMNEXT. Sean is pointing out how important the software is for the future of Additive Manufacturing.
Interview link:

Written by Matthias Bringezu

FORMNEXT 2016 DAY 3 _ New AM / 3D printing Technologies

Day three of FORMNEXT 2016, the catch-up of Additive Manufacturing & 3D-printing industry

Xjet  presented it’s new NanoParticleJetting™ technology.

The Material (metal or ceramics) is jetted in a liquid with a poly-jet but at temperatures up to 300 degrees.
The sub-micron / nano-particles allowing layer thicknesses as low as 3 microns, that’s 0,000118811 inches.
So far there have been very few technologies around to reach this high level of detail and accuracy. A second material is deposited, acting as support material, allowing overhanging sections. No details on materials, post processing or price of the system have been disclosed.

Parts created with NanoParticleJetting™ technology

HP presented it’s Multi Jet Fusion™ 3D printing technology. The actual launch was earlier this year already.
At FORMNEXT HP had a huge booth with a movie theater and multiple systems plus auxiliary systems on show.
So it was interesting to have a closer look at the machines and parts. The specs can be found here but it is all about speed and cost of materials. HP states an up to 10 times higher build speed to comparable technologies and affordable materials. The HP Jet Fusion 3D Processing Station with Fast Cooling unit doubles production/output speed as two jobs can be processed instead of one within 24 hrs. Several large material suppliers are developing and producing  materials for the system. Currently, only PA12 is available but more, especially flexible, materials are in the pipeline. Pricing starts at around EUR 150k for the 3200 machine. But for the 4200 with all auxiliary-systems it will go over EUR 1 Mio.

HP Jet Fusion 3D ™
HP Jet Fusion 3D ™

Fraunhofer ILT

ILT Aachen presented a low-cost SLM (Selective laser Melting) system.
The system was developed in a cooperation with the GoetheLab at FH Aachen.

The energy source is a 140 Watt laser diode with a spot diameter of 250 µm. The diode is mounted in a simple gantry system to move it over the work field. The build-envelope has a diameter of 80 mm and a z-axis of 90 mm. The overall dimensions with 1,3 m x 0,8 m x 1,4 m are also very compact. Using the laser diode saves expensive optical components such as a scanner system and a fiber-laser. Most of the components are standard profiles and some 3D printed connectors and chassis parts. Despite this very simplistic approach, the workpieces  presented had a very high level of geometric detail and complexity. Densities measured reached up to 99,5 % in 1.4404 stainless steel.  Outstanding facts, considering at a projected market price of EUR 30k. So the concept is aiming at SMEs not having the resources to invest six figures.

low-cost SLM Fraunhofer ILT
low-cost SLM
Fraunhofer ILT



Written by Matthias Bringezu


Day two of FORMNEXT 2016, the catch-up of Additive Manufacturing 3D-printing industry


So what are the big players in metal additive manufacturing doing?

Looking at the big players for laser based powder bed fusion systems there is a clear trend for automation.
The aim is a reduction of labor and an increase in productivity. Electro Optical Systems (EOS) as CONCEPT LASER
were both presenting robot solutions for autonomous operation of large machine set-ups with multiple machines.

At EOS a handling device is providing fresh build envelopes from the IPM M SETUP STATION L to the M400 system.
When the build is finished the robot returns to collect the build and overflow material, transporting it to the
IPM UNPACK STATION L. The entire build envelope is rotated in the horizontal axis to remove excess material.
This system had been presented initially at EUROMOLD 2014 already. But that times it was connected directly to the machine, but the solution with the automated handling system will allow a higher utilisation of the unpacking station
in a multi-machine setup.




EOS M400-4
EOS M400-4


Further presented was the IPM M POWDERSTATION L and automated sieving and conveying module to handle the large amounts of material in an acceptable time frame.



GeorgFischer / AgieCharmillers Machining Solutions

Also worth to mention is cooperation between EOS and GeorgFischer / AgieCharmillers Machining Solutions.
AgieCharmilles will take care of the tooling sector for EOS. AgieChamilles had an own exhibition booth, promoting the
AM S 290 Tooling. The system is an EOS M290 equipped with a zero-point-clamping system, further modifications are in the pipeline. Through the cooperation, AgieCharmillers Machining Solutions will be able to offer a holistic solution regarding tooling for injection molding including process validation combining different technologies.



(important to know: GE recently acquired a 75% stake in Concept Laser)

Concept Laser unveiled it’s new M LINE FACTORY machine. The quad laser system was also presented with an autonomously operating handling device. The robot is providing the machine(s) with build envelopes, powder and overflow containers. After the build process, the build envelope and the powder overflow containers are collected from
the machine and brought to an automated unpacking station.

The key advantage is that multiple machines can be connected turning them into a conveyor belt like production-line.
This architecture should allow a significant smaller production footprint compared to other machine concepts.


The automated unpacking station is equipped with a vacuum nozzle mounted on a small industrial robot to extract excess material from the build envelopes. Further, a semi-manual version of an unpacking station with gloves for save manual powder extraction was presented.

To complete the holistic manufacturing approach, Concept Laser presented it’s CL WRX 3.0 Software Suite for the production management.

CL WRX 3.0 Software Suite
CL WRX 3.0
Software Suite


But it wasn’t only the machine manufacturers thinking big and about production and material management.

img_3996_002As a material supplier, LPW Technology also has an idea of the factory of the future. LPW is offering a powder hopper system to handle, control and measure materials. The hoppers or kegs are equipped with sensors to measure temperature, oxygen content, humidity, pressure, impacts and weight. Together with PowderWare software, this solution is aiming to ensure correct powder quantity and quality at any time of the production process.


Additive Industries

Additive ndustries MetalFab1

Last year Additive Industries presented their MetalFAB1system via a virtual reality experience. This year Additive Industries brought the full-scale hardware. The two chamber system with one optical bench, which is serving both chambers, a heat treatment furnace as a complete powder recovery unit, a build tray magazine and the loading unit. All combined in one housing. The highest level of automation is aiming of this for a continuous production with a minimum of manual interaction. The highly customisable system is currently in a beta-testing phase with AIRBUS APWORKS.

SLM Solutions AG
SLM Solutions presented the full product range from the SLM125 HL via the SLM280HL to the SLM500HL quad laser system.
So no real news in the portfolio but an animation showed how the future may look like. In the planning is an SLM800HL.
A multilaser system based on the SML500HL but with an extended z-axis to 800 mm. The machine(s) would be embedded a highly automated production system. See the video-animation of the SLM 500/800 HL here.



3D Systems Inc had its flagship model ProX®DMP 320 machine and the smaller ProX®DMP 200 on show.
The 320 is equipped with a single laser source and has a 275 mm x 275 mm by 420 mm build envelope.
The massive build chamber of the 320 can be evacuated for lowering the gas consumption whilst generating
an inert atmosphere.  The entire powder feeding and build space unit can be removed from the machine, once the build job is finished. However, this machine design with its manual material handling does lead to oxidation of material and higher risks, not only when handling reactive materials.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

FORMNEXT 2016 Frankfurt DAY 1

Day one of FORMNEXT 2016, the catch-up of Additive Manufacturing & 3D-printing industry

After last year’s debut of FORMNEXT EXPO FORMNEXT-EXPO 2016 started the second time in Frankfurt GERMANY today.


So what is news in metal additive manufacturing ?

Important to know is the fact that key technology patents for bed fusion are about to expire. So this is leading to
more and more new players entering the market.

OR Laser
 surprised  with a complete new powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing system.


The  ORLAS CREATOR is a Powder bed fusion metal system with a build envelope of 100 mm in diameter and a z-axis
of 110 mm. The system is equipped with a 250 Watt fiber laser and will hit the market for about 80k EUR in Q2’17.
This is a little revolutionary, lowering the bar for direct metal AM below EUR 100k.


TRUMPF also presented new hardware after last year’s presentation of the TruPrint 1000 and the prototype of the TruPrint 3000. But beside the TRUMPF 3000 system TRUMPF also presented the new TRUMPF TruPrint 5000 system.

TruPrint 5000The TruPrint 5000, is a multi-laser machine, equipped with three 500 W lasers which are able to work overlapping in the entire build envelope. This concept differs significantly from the machine concepts of the competitors. This architecture allows constant productivity in each layer with a possible more homogeneous distribution of energy in each layer. The heating system capable of reaching 500° C will be very welcomed by multiple industries. Also interesting is the cooperation between SIEMENS and TRUMPF for the software. TruTops Print is the name of the software offering similar capabilities like the MATERIALISE Build Processor.
More about this later…


Parallel with TRUMPF also SISMA launched their larger laser based powder bed fusion systems.
The SISMA mysint300 is similar to the TruPrint3000 as the machines are manufactured in TRUMPF and SISMAs joint venture in Italy.img_3735

So, same specs as the TRUMPF TruPrint3000 as it is simply the same machine with a different label.



This new player in laser based powder bed fusion metal is AddUp from France.
The company is a joint venture from fives and MICHELIN.
Presented was the FormUP™350 system has a build envelope size of  350 x 350 x 350 mm and is equipped with a  500W Yb fibre laser, a second laser is optional. Also interesting is the optional 500 degrees centigrade heating system, a heater up to 250 degrees is standard. Recoating is bi-directional and the process chamber has incubator-gloves for safe material handling. Further, AddUp is offering the AddUp Flex Care ™ a portable unit for safe material handling. Interesting were also the announced software solutions offered. The AddUp Manager™ 2017 allowing part numbering in line, Layer temperature deviations after melting / Simulation and representation of stress levels.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

21. Fachtagung Rapid Prototyping at HS -OWL [Lemgo, Germany]

On the 4th of November, Professor Franz-Josef Villmer and H & H corporation welcomed to the 21. Fachtagung Rapid Prototyping / the 21. Expert conference Rapid Prototyping at the University of Applied Sciences in Lemgo Germany.
With about 400 registrations the lecture-theatre was filled to the last seat. The audience from industry as academia gathered to hear the latest news on rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, mass customization and the future of products and their production from selected industry experts.


img_3230Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Langefeld from Roland Berger gave a keynote on ‘Additive Manufacturing – Next Generation’.
Highlighted were the needs for better software integration and documentation, the potential of new materials such as metallic glasses and new technology concepts like multi-laser spot arrays. Further, a topic which usually doesn’t get much attention was the health risks of laser based metal AM.
Most of the data presented was from the second Roland Berger study on Additive Manufacturing which can be requested for download here.

Interesting to hear was a huge push for applying AM in orthopedics and custom tailored shoes realized with AM. Dr. Marcus Rechberger from Lehmann & Voss & Co. KG, a material supplier, used the 3D printed sport shoe from Under Armor as an example application. Mr.Rechenberger mentioned that the materials won’t be a problem.
Christoph Lindner from Hewlett Packard 3D Printing, picked up the topic shoes too.  HP will be offering it’s Jet Fusion technology as an open platform regarding materials. However, even though the machine architecture of the Jet Fusion system is looking progressive, regarding job handling and a design for high machine utilization, it is still not a system for mass production.

Volker Junior phoenix GmbH & Co. KGVolker Junior from PHOENIX highlighted the disruptive potential of AM technologies for orthopedic shoe makers.
Mr. Junior used the tangent of digital photography and what has happened to KODAK.
So what if perfect fitting, custom tailored shoe becomes ‘the normal’?
But looking at a market potential of hundreds of millions, new/industrial manufacturing systems will be needed. Batch processing techniques, capable of producing a few hundred units a day, won’t be able to satisfy the market demand. According to Volker Junior initial manufacturing requests from industry does exceed 10 000 units already. Requests for annual production batches are exceeding 100 000 units. And this is just the beginning. But to get there, the hardware infrastructure for digitizing the customer’s feet has to be put in place.
– So again, the market enabler will be the input data.-
Design for Additive Manufacturing is the key enabler to utilize AM technologies and to create business cases.
It was mentioned more than once that it is not about screening the product portfolio where AM could be applied but about changing entirely the design thinking for future products.

img_3415Also very interesting was the presentation of Johannes Lohn from DMRC / PHOENIX Contact GmbH.
Mr. Lohn presented details of a custom tailored polymer powder bed fusion system, capable of processing non-standard materials. The material was called ‘PA6 like’ as it still needed some additives making it possible to be processed. The prototype machine has a 12 zone heating system allowing a maximum pre-heating temperature of 350 degrees centigrade.
Pyrometric sensors and thermo-vision cameras are used for process monitoring. The system is developed by DMRC and PHOENIX-Contact GmbH a manufacturer of industrial automation, interconnection, and interface solutions. PHOENIXs aim is to be capable of processing production materials for series parts of up to 500 units in the future. PHOENIX Contact GmbH is currently turning it’s rapid technology department into an own company called PROTIQ.
When Dr. Erik Klemp from VoestAlpine (former CEO of DMRC) asked if any patents have been issued for this new system, Mr. Lohn answered: “Of course not. Our aim is to push things forward”.

There were plenty of interesting presentations over the whole day but just too much to summarize here.
Please see below and check this link for downloading the presentation from the HS-OWL website.


The program


Welcome words 

∙ Prof. Dr. Ing. Stefan Witte, Vice-president of University of Applied Sciences, Lemgo


Der digitale Wandel in der Hausgeräteindustrie
Digital change in the whitegood-Industry

∙ Dr. Eduard Sailer, CTO Miele & Cie. KG, Gütersloh


Inhaltliche Einführung in die Fachtagung – Die RP-Fachtagungen von 1996 bis Heute
Introduction to the expert conference – The RP-Expert Conference from 1996 til today

∙ Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Villmer, Hochschule OWL, Lemgo

∙ Raphael Hoffmann, Vincador Holding GmbH, Hamburg

H & H GmbH, Leopoldshöhe


Keynote – Additive Manufacturing – Next Generation

∙ Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Langefeld
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH, Frankfurt


Funktionales Design für die Additive Fertigung
Functional Design for Additive Production

∙ Dr.-Ing. Guido Adam, DMRC, Universität Paderborn


Selektives Laserstrahlschmelzen – Chancen und Herausforderungen
Selective Lasersbeam melting     – Chances and Challenges

∙ Peter Koppa from the DMRC was presenting on behalf of Dr.-Ing. Volker Grienitz,
BENTELER Automobiltechnik GmbH, Paderborn


Keynote – Bionic Smart Factory 4.0 – Fabrikstruktur zum industriellen 3D-Druck
Keynote – Bionic Smart Factory 4.0 – Company design for industrial 3D-printing

∙ Markus Möhrle (Roland Berger / LZN) was presenting on behalf of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Claus Emmelmann,
Laserzentrum Nord LZN , TUHH, Hamburg


Additive Fertigung und Topologieoptimierung – eine perfekte Symbiose?
Additive Manufacturing and Topology Optimization – a perfect symbiosis?

∙ Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eva Scheideler, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Villmer
∙ Dr.-Ing. Guido Adam, Marc Timmer, Hochschule OWL; H&H, Leopoldshöhe; DMRC, Paderborn


Neue Polymer-Werkstoffe für den industriellen 3D-Druck
New Polymer-aterials for industrial 3D-printing

∙ Dr. Marcus Rechberger, Lehmann & Voss & Co. KG


HP Multi Jet Fusion

∙ Christoph Lindner, Hewlett Packard 3D Printing, Barcelona


Design-Futures: Innovative Lichtgestaltung durch 3D-Drucktechniken
Design-Futures: Innovative Light-Desing through 3D-Printing Technologies

∙ Mary-Anne Kyriakou, Detmolder Schule für Architektur und

Innenarchitektur, Hochschule Ostwestfalen Lippe / School for architecture and interior design
University of Applied Sciences Detmold


Keynote – Direct Photonic Production – Ansätze für die (Additive) Fertigung der Zukunft
Keynote – Direct Photonic Production – Approaches for (Additive) Manufacturing of the Future

∙ Uni-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.Wirt.-Ing. ∙Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum,
RWTH Aachen University – Digital Additive Production
Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT, Aachen


QM in der Additiven Fertigung
QM in Addivie Manufacturing

∙ Andrea Huxol, Hochschule OWL, Lemgo


Verarbeitung neuer Materialien im Polymer-Lasersinterprozess
Processing of new materials in polymer laser sintering  

∙ Johannes Lohn,
DMRC, Universität Paderborn, Phoenix Contact, Blomberg


Automatische Konstruktion und digitale Ketten in der Orthopädietechnik
Automated construction in digital design processes in orthodaedic technology

∙ Junior, phoenix GmbH & Co. KG, Gröbenzell


Herausforderungen beim Einsatz von AM
Challenges in applying AM

∙ Dr.-Ing. Eric Klemp
voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center GmbH


Ende des Vortragsprogramms – Zusammenfassung durch den Vorsitzenden
End of the presentation program and summary by the chairman

∙ Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Villmer, Hochschule OWL, Lemgo


Further many companies of the additive manufacturing industry andorganisations were exhibiting:

Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Lemgo

H & H Gesellschaft für Engineering und Prototypenbau mbH , Leopoldshöhe

Forschungsschwerpunkt DiMan (Direkte Digitale Fertigung im Kontext

Industrie 4.0 /Fachbereich Produktion und Wirtschaft der Hochschule

Ostwestfalen, Lemgo

Detmolder Schule für Architektur und Innenarchitektur, HS OWL, Detmold

Technologie Transferstelle der Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Lemgo

Institut für wirtschaftliche und technologische Unternehmensführung der

Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe e. V.

BZT Maschinenbau GmbH, Leopoldshöhe

Material 4 Print GmbH & Co. KG, Paderborn

EOS GmbH, Krailling bei München

Alphacam, Schorndorf

OWL Maschinenbau, Bielefeld

OWL ViProSim, Paderborn

OWL Racing Team

phoenix GmbH & Co. KG, Gröbenzell

SLM Solutions AG, Lübeck

DMRC, Paderborn

Realizer GmbH, Borchen

Altair Engineering GmbH, Hannover


Written by Matthias Bringezu

SIEMENS invests multi-millions in metal Additive Manufacturing

AM workshop at Siemens in Finspång
source: SIEMENS

Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB invests 200 million Swedish crowns, about 24 million USD
or 21,4 million Euros, in metal Additive manufacturing.
The new workshop in Finspång Sweden with about 20 employees will increase Siemens existing
metal AM manufacturing capabilities.

In 2015 Siemens showed in this video their activities on metal AM to refurbish industrial turbomachinery components at the Finspång facility. According to this Swedish news article, Hans Holmström, CEO of Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery,  said:
“Siemens is at the forefront in Sweden and the world of additive manufacturing in the development and production of advanced components in the metal to the power industry. This is a step in a long-term investment in this area, where we have not yet seen all the possibilities. Through this investment, we are building up the skills and experience that can lead to new ideas and developments in the field.”

Thorbjörn Fors, global business director for Distributed Generation at Siemens added:
“With this investment, we can develop new and improved components and repairs, for example fuel burners to serve our industrial gas turbine SGT-800, significantly faster. Using this innovative approach, we will shorten repair times from months to weeks. It is an important step in our ability to respond to the needs of our customers. “


Video on metal AM at Siemens Finspång facility:


Topology optimised AM part

A summary on trends in metal Additive Manufacturing

The FORMMEXT trade show is focusing
on Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing
took place in Frankfurt from the 17th to the 20th November.


What’s news in metal Additive Manufacturing?

Trumpf GmbH+Co. KG is a privately held company for manufacturing solutions from Ditzingen Germany.

The industry has waited a long time for TRUMPFs come-back in powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing since the production of the TRUMAFORM machines were stopped.
So Trumpf is back with new machines and a process called 3D LASER METAL FUSION.

Trumpf presented two machines, the TruPrint 1000 and the TruPrint 3000


The TruPrint 1000 was developed in a joint venture with Italian company SISMA S.P.A.
Since 2014 SISMA is selling a very similar system called mysint100.

The TruPrint 1000 is a compact machine with a build-envelope
of 100 mm / 3.937 Inch diameter and with a z-axis of 100 mm / 3.937 Inch. The build plates are clamped from
underneath so the entire surface area can utilize. Build space reductions for processing smaller quantities is optional.
The system is equipped with a 200 W fiber laser, and it is capable of processing reactive materials such as Aluminum and Titanium. Interesting is the optional 500  degrees Celsius / 932 Fahrenheit pre-heating option vs. the 200 degrees Celsius / 392 Fahrenheit standard heater.

The TruPrint 1000 will be available in four versions:

  • Jewelry
    The jewelry package offers a laser spot size of 30-micron compared to the standard of 55 micron,
    It also comes with a 50 by 50 millimeter / 1.9685 by 1.9685 Inch build space reduction
    for processing precious metals.
  • Industry
    The industrial version can be perched down to an Oxygen level of 50ppm
    and it comes with a glove box.
  • Dental
    The dental version comes with a license to produce dental parts.
  • Lab
    The Lab can be perched down to an Oxygen level of 50 ppm further,
    it comes with a glove box and build space reduction

Click here to see a video of the TruPrint 1000 in operation.

The TruPrint 3000 presented was still a prototype but operational.

TRUMPF TruPrint 3000

TruPrint300 in action
TruPrint300 in operation

The final system will be equipped with a single 500 W fiber laser, offering a build-envelope
with dimensions of 300 mm / 11.811 Inch in diameter and a z-axis of 400 mm / 15.748 Inch.
The build space can be heated up to 200 degrees Celsius / 392 degrees Fahrenheit,
but a 500 degree Celsius / 932 degrees Fahrenheit preheating will be optional. 

An interesting feature is that the build-envelope as the powder feeding cylinders can be
completely removed for a faster external part and material handling and thus higher productivity.

Both machines can be monitored and controlled via an app. The TRUMPF Visual Online Support is also available.


REALIZER GmbH is a privately held company from Paderborn/Borchen, Germany.
The company is producing Selective Laser Melting equipment since 2004.


REALIZER  unveiled their new SLM300i system and also presented their new SLM125 system.
New is the closed loop powder recycling, fully integrated, in the compact mono-chassis-cabinets.

The SLM300i offers a build-envelope of 300 mm / 11.811 Inch cube.
The system is standard equipped with a single fiber laser between 400 and 1000 W.
A dual scanner version will also be available, but the two lasers will have separate work fields
and won’t be able to interact to ’realize’ one part, yet.

RDesigner software
REALIZER recently renewed their software architecture for a more streamlined data preparation.

The new software allows to generate very intricate support structures which can make it obsolete
to use third party software for this task.


Also on show was the SLM50 desktop system, which is still the most compact system in the market.
Italien company ProGold S.p.A. showcased high-end jewelry produced using ReaLizer SLM technology.



Electro Optical Systems
Electro Optical Systems GmbH / EOS is a privately held company from Krailling, Germany.
EOS is providing powder bed fusion systems for polymers as metals since the mid 1990s.

EOS presented their new Direct Metal Sintering (DMLS) system  M100
It is a slightly up-scaled PRECIOUS M080.
The M080 was also on show and in operation at the booth from Cookson Gold.

EOS M100
EOS M100 

EOS was also presenting their new EOSTATE MELT POOL MONITORING, a real-time process monitoring system.
The way the system works makes it most suitable for serial production as it is based on a historic data which
has to be created in the first place. So it is not a solution to assess one-off parts but a tool to reduce expensive
non-destructive assessment methods like tomography in serial production.

EOSTATE MeltPool Monitoring
According to EOS the EOSTATE MELT POOL MONITORING can retrofit only to the EOS M290 machine generation.

Build plate M 400 – 4

Last but not least EOS announced their M400 with four 400 Watt laser and four scanner systems.
The optics are based on the current EOS M290 system to enable an easy transfer of process parameters.
So far the four laser are serving four separate fields to increase productivity to build
small to medium sized parts. But EOS is working on qualifying process parameters for conjoined fields,
so that the four lasers can work simultaneously on one component to increase productivity.



Renishaw plc is a stock listed engineering company with its headquarter inGloucestershire, UK.

In 2011 RENISHAW acquired MTT TECHNOLOGIES Ltd and invested into its Additive Manufacturing division.

At FORMNEXT RENISHAW unveiled the RenAM 500M



The 500 stands for a single 500 W fiber laser.
The  dimensions of the build-envelope are still of 250 by 250 mm in XY like the AM250.
New ist the high-resolution ball screw with an absolute encoding system on the z-axis.
Further has the machine a cartridge based filter system with two filters which can be exchanged during operation.
The filters are pre-perched with Argon prior use. A powder recycling system is integrated in the mono cabinet chassis,
easy to operate with the glove box door.
The new software package offers features for very easy process parameter development. It also allows the creation of simple support structures.

SLM Solutions
SLM Solutions Group AG is a stock listed company (AM3D.DE) from Lübeck Germany
SLM Solutions was previously known as MCP HEK/Group & MTT Technologies GmbH and
is a manufacturer of Selective Laser Melting equipment since 2009.


SLM Solutions presented their entire product portfolio.
The SLM125HL , the SLM280HL dual laser and the SLM500HL quad laser system.
New was the announcement of a melt pool monitoring system with a sample rate of several hundred kHZ.

Additive Industries BV
Additive Industries was founded in 2012 and is based in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

The company is developing an industrial grade metal AM system and has just sold
its first system to AIRBUS AP WORKS

Instead of shipping an entire MetalFAB1 production line to Frankfurt,
Additive Industries highlighted the functionalities in a 3D animation via virtual reality goggles.IMG_5396
Mark Vaes Technology Manager of  Additive Industries explained to me the details of the MetalFAB1.
The key focus is clear on full-automation and productivity.

But the MetalFAB1 is more than just a powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing system.
The system is built of separate units. The core is the production unit with two process chambers. The two powder beds are served by only one multi-laser scanner unit. After fusing the powder in
process chamber A 
the unit slides over process chamber B, boosting productivity by utilizing optics and lasers while the new powder layer is deposited. There will be different options regarding laser and scanner configuration.
The next unit is a powder extraction and powder recycling enabling a fully automated part and material handling.
The last unit is the heat treatment furnace to release residual stress.

It is interesting to see a relatively new player in the market taking on not only the metal AM process but also
the challenge of creating a highly automated system for industrial applications.

Concept Laser is a privately held company is producing powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing systems.
The company was founded in 2000 and has its headquarter in Lichtenfels, Germany.

CONCEPT LASER presented their understanding r metal Additive Manufacturing solution for industry applications.
The machine concept presented had a couple of very innovative features.
The recoater-arm is depositing powder layers only in one direction. ButbInstead of repositioning the arm prior or
after the exposure by the laser the arm is repositioned whilst the laser is scanning.
The trick is that, after depositing the powder layer the arm slides 
into the inner of the machine.
This technique
 saves valuable time every single layer. 

Another interesting feature is the material and part handling in the center of the machine.
A handling system like a 
conveyor belt is running through the system.  A built space with a finished job
can be moved to one 
side of the machine and loading  new material and a build plate from the other side.
The idea is that several machines can be connected in a lined, extending the conveyor belt. Loading all machines
from the left and unloading them from the right. This
 new approach is interesting as it is very different to the
X-Line machines with it’s rotating double chamber design.

CONCEPT also had their M2 dual laser system as well the Mlab system on show. Further CONCEPT LASER presented
a variety of applications of their technology. Topology optimized components from automotive to aerospace applications.




Materialise is a public listed company (MTLS) and a provider of software solutions for Additive Manufacturing.
Further the company offers services and solutions from automotive to the medical sector.
The company was founded in 1990 and has its headquarter in Leuven, Belgium.



MATERIALISE presented the AMCP
AMCP stand for ‘Additive Manufacturing Control Platform‘ and is a piece of hardware.
With a sampling rate of 600 kHz its processing speed is higher to common industry PCs and PLCs.
The unit is designed for real-time process monitoring and according to MATERIALISE for closed-loop control. Inputs through process monitoring such as thermal imaging
and melt pool monitoring will be processed to adjust output for heating and laser power. MATERIALISE is in discussion with several OEMs to offer the AMCP as an option directly with the machine purchase.



Written by Matthias Bringezu




People in 3D [Melbourne]

Last Thursday afternoon The People in 3D met again.

People in 3D is a workshop on Additive Manufacturing, CAD software and digitisation.
Everyone interested can join, network, share the latest news and learn from the others.

The participants of this session were a good mix from companies from different backgrounds:
TASMAN 3D Printers, 3DMedical, Thinglab, WRAYS, VCAMM and X-Product. (see links below)

Dominic Parsonson from Tasman 3D Printers held a very interesting presentation on
different AM technologies and their applications. Two months earlier I met Dominic when
he was speaking at a Melbourne business event. Dominic’s presentations are driven by
his passion for Additive Manufacturing technologies and clearly not by sales- pitch.

Though we learned about new applications and business cases, from the possibility to repair
car headlights with custom tailored 3D-printed clips, injection moulding of small batch
series in AM moulds and that jigs & fixtures are more and more created through AM technologies.

I took the chance to share the news from the ATSE workshop on Implementing Additive Manufacturing.
Though I began with the motivation of Michael Heard from ATSE to organising the workshop.
Michaels aim was to bring people from industry and politic together to demonstrate the opportunities
through applying additive and advanced manufacturing. Further, I shared the highlights of  the presentation
of Eric Klemp from Direct Manufacturing Research Center in Germany. Though DMRCs the concept of companies
conducting collaborate research on Additive Manufacturing technologies. I also highlighted the similarities
of the DMRC and the structure and activities of CSIRO Lab22.
Last but not least I summed up the presentation of Warwick Downing from TiDA and RAM  in New Zealand.
TiDA/RAM is a great example for what equipment it takes to fully access direct metal AM processes.
[See also my blog entry on my visit at TiDA/RAM].

So we started discussing what’s the difference about the businesses in Australia and New Zealand and why the
‘Kiwis’ are so progressive in the AM market. A higher level of collaboration between higher education and
business and more private investment/venture capital. On the other-hand, the property market in Australia
is generating a low risk taking mentality but also the very low-level collaboration between higher education
and industry were some of the issues mentioned.
We agreed that it is to a certain extent an educational question. So what we discussed that afternoon
needs to become more common knowledge in the industry. People need to know about the capabilities of the
technology to be able to identify the potential for optimisation and cost savings in their current manufacturing set-ups.
Investing into additive manufacturing equipment seems to be a hurdle but it is an investment into the future.
However, Ian Bridger from VCAMM shared some good news with us. So it was interesting to hear that there
are three local manufacturers of metal powders in Australia already. Certainly an interesting development.

Are you interested to join the People in 3D?
Just contact us and you will get an invite to the next.


‘Implementing Additive Manufacturing’ ATSE workshop [Adelaide – South Australia]

Two weeks ago I was attending a workshop in in Adelaide.
The event on ‘Implementing Additive Manufacturing’ was organized by 
The Australian Academy of Technology Sciences and Engineering


Michael Heard
from ATSE

was the MC and ‘the driving force’ in organizing the event. I had the great pleasure to meet and talk with Michael the evening before the workshop began. Michael explained to me his aim to educate industry leaders and politicians
about the great potential of Advanced and Additive Manufacturing and the many opportunities for collaboration between industry and institutions of higher education.
Michael is well aware of how important it is to collaborate in order to implement new technologies efficiently.
I was glad to have the opportunity to talk with someone with his level of experience and to also be on the same page
about what is urgently needed to safely and efficiently regrow manufacturing in Australia. 00049

Michael opened the workshop stating numbers that do not look promising: 

When it comes to engagement between Australian Businesses and Academia, Australia currently ranks 23 out of 26 OECD countries. Only 3,5 percent of larger businesses and 4,1 percent of SMEs currently collaborate with institutions of higher education.

Bearing this numbers in mind, Michael introduced the speakers; a great mix of experts in Additive Manufacturing from Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

Eric Klemp from Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC)
part of University of Paderborn in Germany,

provided an overview on the structure and activities of the DMRC.
DMRC is a technology and research hub dedicated to industry collaboration. The founding members were BOEING, EOS, EVONIK. SLM Solutions GmbH and University of Paderborn. Over the last 6 years, DMRC has gained more and more knowledge and got new partners from industry leaders all over the world. Meanwhile there are 18 industrial partner in the consortium, e.g. Siemens, Stratasys, Baker Hughes, John Deere, The LEGO Group, Liebherr, Phoenix Contact and many more, show the global attractiveness of DMRC. The research is being performed by 9 institutes of the University where 11 professors together with 28 fulltime researchers are active only in the field of AM.

The concept of DMRC is to perform collaborate research on AM on a pre-competitive level. Results of all projects are shared between all stakeholders. Board meetings take place every quarter a year, in which IP are discussed, the steering the DMRC is fixed and all general decisions are taken. The influence of each party depends on the type of company membership.

Tier I partners are contributing EUR 100 000 annually and have full exclusivity to the IP of their R&D projects. Further they have a full vote when it comes to making decisions every quarter in the steering committee.

Tier II partners contribute EUR 50 000, have to share one vote with the other Tier II partners and have to make additional contributions when it comes to IPRs.

Tier III partners can become a member with just EUR 5 000 annual contribution and are able to collaborate at DMRC on a general basis.

Eric Klemp only briefly touched generally on the AM technologies, their equipment and testing capabilities DMRC has in house and which is able to access all over the campus of the University.

Rather more he explained why it is a good strategy to collaborate inside and between the different kinds of shareholders. Some of the companies partnered at DMRC don’t have anything in common with each other regarding their products, services and the markets they are in. But some of them are in a competitive field. Fortunately this is not much of a concern as the DMRC is providing a platform to perform fundamental research where each company can build on. Pre-competitive research may sound very theoretical but it isn’t. The companies ensure scope and that the results will drive their developments.

These companies are aware of how many disciplines needs to be covered to apply Additive Manufacturing technologies successfully. Machine capabilities, build strategies, powder qualification and the ageing of materials and their products, needs to be fully understood. Eric mentioned that most critical is the design for Additive Manufacturing. It was also pointed in the other presentation that ‘Design is key’ to a business case involving any Additive Manufacturing technologies.

Eric finished on the note that Henry Ford wasn’t after faster horses – he wanted cars! A nice analogy!
He pointed out: Your own imagination is the key to success!

More information about the DMRC partners, the model and research projects can be found here


Chad Henry from CSIRO

was the second speaker.
Chad’s talk was focusing on the activities of the LAB22.
The Lab22 is a state of the art facility is located in Clayton, Victoria.
Lab22 has a lot in common with the DMRC in Germany. But Lab22 has actually more Additive Manufacturing technologies in house. In addition to the laser based direct metal technology (CONCEPTLASER M2), CSIRO is operating an ARCAM A2 Electron Beam System (EBM) and a binder infusion system VX1000 from Voxeljet. This system is predominantly used to create molds for traditional casting systems. Furthermore, Lab22 has the by CSIRO developed Cold Spray Plasma Giken technology and laser based blown powder system from Optomec LENS MR-7. Chad highlighted that this system allows depositing different alloys during the process. He used the example of body armor, where a hard surface needs to break up a incoming projectile and a more ductile alloy like Ti64 has to absorb the impact. So the LENS system can create near net shape parts with gradient properties. Chad explained the pros & cons of the different technologies and pointed out that the aim of LAB22 is to help Australian businesses to learn about AM processes in order to ease their implementation. Businesses can partner with Lab22 to do research in projects and train their staff on machinery before acquiring own equipment. Chad also highlighted some of CSIROs showcases and industry projects done at CSIRO so far.
Since the Lab22 was founded in 2012, the lab has worked together with over 75 entities, 54 percent from industry,
21 in R&D and 25 percent of the projects have been in marketing, media, and education.

Pierse Lincoln
and Luis Lima-Marques from The University of Adelaide

presented on how Additive Manufacturing is applied at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) at The University of AdelaideIn.
2014 the University implemented a PHENIX SYSTEM PSM200. This is a laser based, powder bed metal AM system.
I had the pleasure to visit Luis the day before  at the lab the conference. I was impressed with the work performed there. Initially, the system was acquired to manufacture dyes for the extrusion of preforms of glass fibers. Aside from this application the system is used for university and industry projects. People from industry come to The University of Adelaide to learn in workshops about the technology. Pierse and Luis highlighted a project with industry about a design modification of a part. During the redesign, it became obvious that it would be easier building the entire part additively
and not just one component of it. Less surfaces to finish, less joints weakening the overall structure. It is always about understanding the capabilities of AM and taking advantage of it. There are also student projects realized at the IPAS.  Pierse and Luis showed a miniature gas turbine what was printed for a student. A design impossible to manufacture at
that scale in any other way.

Bert Wilson
from OCEANIA DEFENCE (New Zealand)

was the next speaker.
OCEANIA DEFNCE produces suppressors for firearms using direct metal Additive Manufacturing.
First of all, Bert talked about stigmas of firearms & suppressors and explained that these devices
are commonly not used like in James Bond movies. Bert said the suppressors are usually applied
for shoot training to protect hearing. Bert explained that it was the design that drove him to use
metal additive manufacturing. The internals have complex design features certainly impossible to
produce in any other way. The suppressors are made of Titanium or Inconel alloys, built whole in
one with no need for assembly. Threads have to be created in the process, as they could not
be machined afterwards. Bert explained getting the products to this full-production stage took very
many trials and test builds. Building just sections of the part with intricate features and overhanging
sections which are usually considered impossible to be created by direct metal AM.
Bert said he actually doesn’t know how many design iterations have been done so far but in the end
it doesn’t really matter it means just a different 3D CAD file that has to be prepared and send to the machine.

Warwick Downing
from TiDA Limited and
Rapid Advanced Manufacturing Limited – RAM

In May this year I had the pleasure to visit TiDA / RAM in Tauranga.
Check out the blog post on a visit at TiDA/RAM

Warwick started with the history of TiDA and what it took to form this private research organization. TiDA/RAM has all the technical capabilities usually found in way larger organizations. All the analytical equipment required to understand direct laser metal AM processes from the powder to the final component.
All powder batches are checked with particle analyzers. Cross sections can be cut and polished and assessed under a SEM. Tensile bars are added to every build for quality assurances. For years, these bars are tested on TiDAs tensile testing machine. This procedure has created a very comprehensive data archive. Warwick pointed out that none of the tensile test specimens are machined prior testing. This is usual practice as the surface roughness of the as-built specimens are crack initiators. At TiDA / RAM most of the parts built have features which cannot be post machined. Though the specimens are not post machined to get ‘real life data’.
Parts are built on three different machine platforms, just on the one which suits best the job. TiDA/RAM is operating an EOS M270, a SLM280HL and two RENISHAW AM250. Warwick added that at least another two RENISHAW machines are currently on their way. (Financed through private investments.) Aside from this fact, he explained that TiDA / RAMs success is predominantly based on close collaboration of local industry. Warwick mentioned a metal powder manufacturer and a PVD (physical vapor deposition) plant near by.

In addition to the ‘geeky facts’ Warwick also explained how a component made of Titanium can be cheaper than being made from stainless steel.
I appreciated Warwicks analogy of ‘Swiss-Cheese’ and laser based metal fusion, meaning that adding complexity in form
of holes reduces volume and process time, making parts cheaper. He added that sometimes this is hard for the customers to understand as they are so used to pay more for additional geometrical features.

My favourite statement of the day was, that he wouldn’t have bought the first machine they got.
This is really rare to hear that someone officially states that the machine chosen was not the best.
I think the whole AM industry and academia should be more open and sharing of not only their highlights and successes but of areas for improvement and failures as well. To me, this is also a way of collaboration as it could save a lot of time and money.

Andrew J. Sysouphat
Aerospace Engineer at BAE Systems


Andrew is the lead for Additive Technologies at BAE Systems Australia. He hadn’t had much time for his speech but he was able to provide the audience with a broad overview on BAE Systems activities in Additive Manufacturing. Andrew explained that BAE Systems had been looking into AM technologies since 2006 already. BAE has been applying multiple additive technologies for several years for rapid tooling applications and making jigs. Direct metal additive manufacturing is certainly on BAEs agenda but this has to be a very holistic approach. In aero industry it is a long way from the first design sketches to a post-machined component ready for takeoff.
This video recording of John Dunstan (Head of BAE Systems Agile Product Development Center) speaking at AM 2014 TCT conference provided a very detailed summary on BAEs future plans on:

BAE Systems Australia

Directly following these presenters was a panel session
to give the audience an opportunity to ask questions.

People wanted to know how AM is applied for tooling applications. It was explained that Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is commonly applied for making tools & jigs in manufacturing. FDM is even to produce tools for sheet metal forming. Direct metal technologies such as SLM & DMLS are used to create injection-molding tools with con-formal cooling features to reduces cycle times and increase output. It was added that polyjet-technologies are applied to create injection-molding tools for production of small series of 20 – 40 parts in the real end use materials. Furthermore, one audience member asked if students in Universities do get the right access to hard and software. The panel agreed that there are the right tools, in form of equipment and software, at the Universities, and the students do get the required qualifications. But it is up to the CEOs to identify the potential of these technologies and show the will to make the investments needed.

Last but not least Michael Heard welcomed Minister Kyam Maher

Member of the Legislative Council
Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation
Minister for Automotive Transformation
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Minister Maher confirmed the challenges ahead, having a rapidly decreasing manufacturing sector in South Australia.
He pointed out the importance of Advanced Manufacturing and the need for collaboration.
Concluding it was a great event on Additive Manufacturing technologies.
There was certainly a common understanding that these technologies can be utilized to push Innovation and revive Australian manufacturing. But it will require a joined push from industry, academia and the the government to make this happen.

From left to right:
Eric KlempAndrew J. SysouphatHenry, Warwick Downing, Bert Wilson and Michael Heard




Peter Sander [AIRBUS Operations GmbH] Keynote at RapidTech 2015 Erfurt [Germany]


Peter Sander Manager ‘Emerging Technologies & Concepts’ at AIRBUS Operations GmbH Germany
gave a keynote presentation on Additive Manufacturing at AIRBUS at this years (2015) RapidTech in Erfurt Germany.
The presentation was recorded and uploaded to Youtube.
Unfortunately this presentation was held in German .

So I took the time on a long flight to write this translation. I have translated the presentation as close as possible to the spoken word but as I am not a professional translator there is no guarantee for correctness or completeness of the translation.

This is second keynote on Opportunities and Challenges of Additive Manufacturing for industrial production. We like to welcome Peter Sander from the Airbus Operation GmbH in Hamburg. As the vice president he manages the area ‘Emerging Technologies and Concepts’. He has been in aero space industry for 33 years. Industrial engineering, tool design, manufacturing engineering is his expertise. He was involved in the A380 project and also shares his expertise frequently in many workshops and presentations about Additive Manufacturing in aero industry.

Peter Sander will inform about 3D-printing in aeronautical industry and will provide a prognosis and demand analysis in business and production.” ….Read more



Visit at SLM Solutions GmbH [Lübeck Germany]

IMG_2722It has been only one year since my last visit at SLM Solutions GmbH in Lübeck.
But within this time staff and size of the company has almost doubled, from 120ish last year in June
to just over 200 employees in July this year SLM Solutions GmbH is meeting the growth predictions of
the Additive Manufacturing industry. But Stefan Ritt (Head of Global Marketing and Communications) told me
that it is hard keeping track learning names of new staff.

It’s certainly impressive to see the progress the company has made since their IPO in 2014.
The new customer training and application center with 7 machines for material parameter development
and for benchmark builds on site is looking simply great. Further there is sufficient space for companies to
perform machine acceptance tests in this new facility.

Stefan Ritt took the time to walk me through tall the new parts of the company. The assembly line for the
SLM500HL had been moved to a separate facility to streamline the production. This highlights the strong demand
in the market for the large format systems. But SLM Solutions GmbH is currently about to relaunch the SLM500HL.

Like for all the other machine manufacturers the market for metal AM systems is also changing for SLM Solutions GmbH.
It is changing from customers being predominantly universities, research institutes and R&D departments ordering only one system to global players in industry ordering multiple machines at a time. This new 
customer profile has a complete different attitude and procedures to acquire new equipment. The expectations of the management of such companies are on the level of industry standards for substractive CNC-systems regarding reliability/up-time, repeat-ability and machine build quality. But this applies to all direct metal machine OEMs and it will help to make this technology move forward.
SLM Solutions GmbH has certainly chosen a strategy and this is ‘

I couldn’t get any sneak preview but it will be interesting to see what SLM Solutions will present the formnext trade show in Frankfurt in November.  Regarding productivity of laser powder bed based direct metal systems SLM Solutions is currently leading with their SLM500HL quad laser system but improvements regarding process monitoring can be expected.


Visit at Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technik (ILT) [Aachen – Germany]

Two weeks ago I visited the Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technik (ILT) in Aachen.
The ILT is located directly next to the RWTH Aachen University, making it a massive complex which is still growing rapidly.
About 400 researchers are developing lasers and laser applications like laser cutting, laser drilling, laser ablation, laser welding, laser cladding and laser Additive Manufacturing at the ILT.

A special focus is set on Selective Laser Melting technology where research has started on middle of the 90s already.
Some ILT customers from industry place research packages at ILTs state of the art research labs to develop process parameters but also technical improvements and technical upgrades on machinery and accessories. Direct metal AM machines are modified with different laser sources up to several kilowatts in continuous  wave (CW) and pulsed mode.
Spot sizes and shapes are modified, also during the process, to gain higher accuracy and higher productivity.
Process monitoring and control are further areas of ILTs research.
This project  was presented at EUROMOLD 2014 and highlighted that ILT is developing their own visions of the next generation direct metal AM machines.
I also met the guys from Acomity3D who I met earlier on my trip at the Laser World of Photonics Munich.
As a spin off ACOMITY3D is incorporated in the research labs at ILT but a separate entity. So I got the chance to see
the other two machine models ACONITY3D is offering. Beside the machine development ACONITY3D is also offering training an consulting for Additive Manufacturing.

Currently there is a new center for Direct Digital Photonic Production being build next to the current facilities of ILT
and RWTH Aachen University.
The project supported with 60 Mio. in government grants highlights the need and will to invest into R&D. Additional investments are coming from over 20 companies who have partnered with the cluster to perform their research in Aachen. The “Digital Photonic Production” research cluster will focus on „Light as a Tool in Production“  to push applications of laser in production and Additive Manufacturing will play a key role.
This renderings show how the future of research on laser technology
will look like in Aachen in the future.



Visit at Additive Manufacturing Research UG [Duisburg Germany]

Last week I stopped by at Additive Manufacturing Research / AMR UG in Duisburg.

Bernd Reinarz, research fellow at University Duisburg-Essen, has founded AMR in 2014. AMR specialize in research and development rather than just as a service bureau for AM-parts. AMR has positioned itself ideally in between OEMs of metal AM-machinery manufacturers, users of AM technology and academia. So AMR is functioning as an independent cross-link in between these parties. AMR offers project specific research on metal Additive Manufacturing but also seminars on design for Additive Manufacturing. CEO Bernd Reinarz explained that AMR is validating soft- and hardware upgrades for OEMs, performs material parameter development for customers and is developing their own upgrades for the AM- systems. But also focusses on process strategies of AM systems.
We discussed how important it is to develop the right build strategy to be able to realize certain parts. Finding the best trade-off between build orientation, support and post machining is the key to a business case. With access to several machines from EOS and SLM Solutions, AMR has an in-depth understanding of state of the art machinery. On-site AMR is operating an SLM280HL dual beam, equipped with two 400 Watt fiber lasers. This highly productive system is predominantly used to develop and validate technical improvements to increase performance and ease of operation. Even if the technology has come a long way already it is still a long way to smooth operating machines which are building parts as reliable and easy most people would like them to already. AMR is there to help to close this gap faster.


Electro Optical Systems GmbH / EOS

SLM Solutions GmbH

Visit at RENISHAW GmbH [Stuttgart – Germany]

Coming from Switzerland heading up North I stopped by at RENISHAW GmbH,
located in Pliezhausen right on the outskirts of Stuttgart.
Jan-Peter Derrer (Produkt- & Salesmanager Additive Manufacturing) welcomed me.
Jan-Peter explained to me that RENISHAW GmbH has just moved into a further facility
to integrate the Laser Bearbeitungs Zentrum GmbH (LBC) an AM service bureau acquired by RENISHAW GmbH in 2013.
LBC’s core business is direct metal AM parts and predominantly tools for injection molding with conformal cooling. Now the company is fully integrated as a department within RENISHAW. LBC is producing parts as a service and also benchmark parts. Further RENISHAW GmbH has machines for overflow production from it’s customers.
With about 120 staff the German devision of RENISHAW serves the traditional business of metrology solutions but I was told the Additive Manufacturing sector is growing fast. I was told that one of RENISHAWs top priorities is the customer service. Even if most R&D activity happens in the UK (Stone Gloucestershire) the German division is enhancing it’s capabilities by outfitting a brand new laser laboratory.
After constant improvements on the AM250, resulting in thePlusPac™ upgrade everyone is waiting for the long shot, the Evo-Project. This new machine will focus on the requirements of industrial customers will most likely be unveiled at formnext expo in November 2015 in Frankfurt….it stays exciting.




Visit at Protoshape [Switzerland]

Protoshape GmbH is a service bureau for metal Additive Manufacturing in Klingnau (Switzerland).
CEO Felix Reinert showed me around and highlighted that Protoshape is not just a job-shop for metal
additive manufacturing.
Embedded in a larger CNC-shop, a company called Max Horlacher AG, Protoshape combines the strength
of metal additive manufacturing / Selective Laser Melting technology with expertise in CNC-machining.
So it’s an one-stop job shop for direct metal parts with CNC-post machining.
Protoshape spezialise in processing nickel base alloys such as Hastelloy-X and Haines230. This materials are predominantly applied for high temperature applications. Due to it’s mechanical properties this materials are
very tough to machine. Using metal AM opens up complete new opportunities regarding the design as wall sections
can be build way more thin compare to design realized by forging or casting.
With in house capabilities to check microstructure Protoshape is also working on material qualification and process parameter development.


Laser World of PHOTONICS [Munich] Day 2

The Tuesday morning started with a panel session on Industrial Laser Applications / Laser Additive Manufacturing

The presentation of Dr.Thomas Ebert from IQ evolution GmbH was a good summary on the SLM. Dr. Ebert was explaining the challenges which can occur with powder bed  baser laser additive manufacturing. He described what
it takes to make a component manufacture able and pointed out that tweaking of just one parameter and focusing on one feature of a part won’t lead to an overall good result.
Especially with a part having very small and intricate design features it always comes down to the right scan strategy and special process parameters to achieve geometric accurate parts.

But Laser World of PHOTONICS is not just about laser based machines and processes but also about the components they are made of. Lasers, lenses, gantry systems, control and measuring devices, beam expander, beam shaper and scanners. SCANLAB is one of the suppliers of devices for laser beam deflection and positioning systems.
Scanlab was presenting an interesting new product relevant for laser based additive manufacturing. So it’s a new range of air cooled scanners. Sending hundreds of watts of laser power through a scanner lets the system warm up.
Nothing you want as this can lead to deviations and lower positioning accuracy. So most systems are water cooled but this always comes at the risk of damage through leakage. In the past systems have been destroyed during transport as they got to cold and the ice bursted all internals of the cooling path. A further disadvantage is thatthe chiller is usually a huge power consumer. The new systems build quite large compared to water cooled scanners but they certainly could be accommodated in direct-metal systems to mitigates this risks and  turn a machine in a 400V system into 240V device.



Laser World of PHOTONICS [Munich] Day 1

Every second year the Laser World of PHOTONICS is in Munich. Every even year the event takes place in Shanghai.


Bigger than the LASYS expo the Laser World of PHOTONICS is the most important trade fair and conference on laser technology.
So it is a fair showing new developments in laser technology. This time they had a special on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing.

Machines from Concept Laser, SLM Solutions, SIMSA and ReaLizer were on display together with many applications in various materials.

I met a few familiar faces from Laser Zentrum Hannover, iwb / TU Munich, Fraunhofer ILT and Uni Erlangen places where Additive Manufacturing and new applications are researched and developed in close corporation with industry.

Next to the Fraunhofer ILT booth was a new player in the field of laser-based direct metal powder bed systems.
is based in Aachen within the Fraunhofer ILT next to the RWTH Aachen University. ARCONITY is offering open architecture laser-based direct metal machines. The term ‘open architecture’ does apply in two ways as the machine is fully customizable and all parameters can be adjusted. Further, the machine and it’s optical path between scanner system and laser window is open. A laser protective barrier can be used for protection but in general, this is a real laser class 4 device. The design allows to move the scanner head aside to lift heavy parts with a crane out of the 400 mm in diameter and 300 mm deep build envelope. Beside this system for R&D purposes Aconity3D offers also more closed solutions for production.

Written by Matthias Bringezu




The Bright World of Metals [Düsseldorf]

The Bright World of Metals at Messe Düsseldorf is a trade fair combining four trade fairs.IMG_1904

The GIFA, METEC, The Therm Process and the NEWCAST all focus on metal casting industry and related technologies.
So I stopped by to get an up-date on traditional casting processes and Additive Manufacturing applied in casting.
Master parts for casting with intricate features are oftentimes generated additively by SLA technology for example.
But also complex hulls and cores of casting molds can be created additively. So it was not much of an wonder to see
Voxeljet and EX One exhibiting. I heard that their expo booths were at some stage so packed that people were blocking
the way through the exhibition hall.  The huge interest confirmed to me that additive manufacturing is also moving
further into traditional technologies to improve cost efficiency. Or being able to keep manufacturing in high labor countries.

EX One was presenting their new EXERIAL ™ system. A large scale production system with a very impressive footprint.
The machine of the size like a double car park contains to build envelopes so caled “job boxes” each 1,5 times larger
than the single job box of the so far largest system S-Max.  The total build platform with over 3150 liters volume will
accomodate even large scale components. The machine was shown in dry operation mode simulating binder infiltration and recoating.
IMG_1875Unfortunately it was not permitted to take photos  so please check  this link: Exerial ™


The Bright World of Metals


Nanyang Polytechnic AMIC [SINGAPORE]

Last week I visited the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre Nanyang / AMIC at Polytechnic (NYP) in Singapore.

A walk through the I got showed the CNC-machine park seemed to be like a visit at the  DMG– Mori demo center close to my hometown back in Germany. Though, a very impressive set-up of machinery for all kind of applications.
However, the more exciting part and the actual reason for my visit was the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre.
The lab is equipped with multiple polymer and three powder bed based laser direct metal systems.
Two systems from Concept Laser (M2 &M1) and as well an EOS M270 systems. I got assured there will be more equipment installed soon. Dawid Wong who gave me the tour explained to me that the focus of AMIC is industry projects  rather than blue sky research. So enabling or AM-abling, how Dawid likes to say, industry to do things faster and more efficient through Additive Manufacturing.

The Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre also focuses on to up-skill industry for the use of Additive Manufacturing technologies.
The part time Specialist Diploma for precision Engineering [Additive Manufacturing] is designed to enable people who are working in industry to catch up with these technologies. Participants of the course will be equipped with skills to take an idea from the concept, through the design phase to the ready product manufactured using AM technologies. What a great program.




People in 3D [Melbourne]

CONSULT3D organises frequently a networking event called People in 3D.
The focus of this network sessions is to bring people in the field of 3D design
and Additive Manufacturing together. Our aim is an exchange of news and knowledge
to stay up to date and learn more about the capabilities of the others.

This time David Chin and Andrew Butler from WRAYS joined us. David is a lawyer in IP and
his colleague Andrew is a patent attorney. David and Andrew shared interesting insides on
protecting IP in 2 and 3Dimensions. Especially in the context of Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing.
I think I can speak for all of us when I say we really enjoyed this session. Thanks again.

I also took the chance to share the latest news from my trip to the SME Rapid in Long Beach and
the attendance of the Inside 3D Printing in Melbourne.

The date for the next session of People in 3D is not set yet.
Please contact us if you like to be on the list.


INSIDE 3D PRINTING [Melbourne Australia]

Just back from SME Rapid in Long Beach the INSIDE3D PRINTING Conference and Expo took place in Melbourne.
The Inside 3D Printing was part of the AUSTECH, Australias largest trade fair on manufacturing,
hosted in Melbournes Conference and Exhibition Center from the 26th to the 29th of May.
The event started with good news from the Federal Government in Australia as
the Innovative Manufacturing CRC grant got finally approved. This grant will provide AUD 40 Mio.
to push R&D on innovative manufacturing technologies over the next seven years.

Some of the speakers of the conference also just flew in from the Rapid / Long Beach.
Terry Wohlers keynote was a good start into the presentation series.

The exhibition

The exhibition was a good mix of machine OEMs and service providers, showing the potential for the Australian market.

RENISHAW presented one of their three additively manufactured Titanium mountain bikes.


The frame is an assembly of 5 segments built using laser based powder bed fusion on a RENISHAW AM250 system (with extended z-axis).

The swing arm was cast and machined. Certainly a great demonstrator to highlight the technologies capabilities.
Mike Brown from RENISHAW explained to me their strategy for the Australian and New Zealand market. Looking forward to see more
RENISHAW machines in the ANZ market.

SLM Solutions flew in one of their SLM 280HL systems. Even the machine was not in operation it created a lot of interest.
Stefan Ritt from SLM Solutions  presented SLM Solutions latest developments on Selective Laser Melting  technology and applications.
A video showing a repair process for aero turbine / jet engine shrouds demonstrated the benefits of direct metal AM processes.
The SLM system on the stand actually stayed with a customer in Australia.

Nicholas Hardman from HardMarque Future Factories showed me an interesting piston of a combustion engine.
Nicholas specialises in Topology Optimisation and 3D modelling for Additive Manufacturing.
In this case study Nicholas simulating the load cases on the part. Than he re-designing the piston accordingly, slimming the part down.
Finally the part was built it in Titanium using Electron Beam Melting (EBM).

The result is a weight saving of over 23 %, what’s actually a world on an oscillating part. This case study demonstrates clearly the benefits of the combination of Topology Optimisation and Additive Manufacturing.






Day 4 at SME Rapid [Long Beach – USA]


The 4th and last day at SME Rapid started with the keynote of Terry Wohlers on the State of Industry. Terry’s talk focused on the
market growth and the new big players like HP re-entering it with new technologies. Terry also stated that the AM market has
quadrupled in the last five years and the predictions scope the same growths for the next five years.
Terry mentioned the big steps made in aeronautical industry, heavily pushed by GE and AIRBUS. Terry showed good footage.
AIRBUS is applying direct metal technologies to build free-form sheet metal parts, an application I only knew from prototyping in
automotive industry.

The conference
The sessions on Thursday were the following:

– Medical Manufacturing Innovations V
– Aerospace Applications
– Advances in Additive Manufacturing Post Processing
– Materials for for Additive Manufacturing Applications III
– Design Considerations for Additive Manufacturing III

I chose to attend the following presentations:

“Support Optimisation for Metal Laser Sintering”
“High Performance Production Line for Small Series Metal Parts”
“Deployment of Additive Manufacturing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company”

The exhibition floor
I took the chance to browse a bit the exhibition floor for a last time.
I met Peter Boettner from CITIM AM Inc. a service bureau for metal AM. CITIM AM is part of the CITIM Group from Germany, operating the biggest metal AM machine fleet in Germany. CITIM is running systems from SLM Solutions and EOS.
So we discussed the growing demand for AM metal parts and differences in direct metal AM systems.

Nice parts from AIRBUS were on display at the booth of RTI International Metals.
RTI was recently acquired by industry giant ALCOA to expand the product range in high tech materials. According to RTI the company is operating 9 laser based direct metal systems. The parts demonstrated clearly where Aero industry is heading:
Topology optimised parts built in Titanium using laser based direct metal AM



It has been a very interesting and educational trip to the SME Rapid in Long Beach, worth every minute of the 18 hour flight.
It was great to hear and to see how fast Additive Manufacturing is growing and being applied for more and more applications.
Many of the presentations pointed out how much effort it takes to apply this technologies in manufacturing. Especially the direct metal technologies require in depth process and material understanding to have a solid part/ business case.
Machine reliability and repeatability is still not on a level as conventional tool-machines. However, the advantages offered by Additive Manufacturing make companies take on this challenges to push this technologies onto the next level.





One more thingImportant to know:

I had a chat to one of the organizers of the Nextform conference in Germany. Euromold exhibition used to be the biggest catch-up for the Additive Manufacturing Industry in Europe. However, this will be different from this November onwards. Euromold has moved to Duesseldorf but all the big players in Additive Manufacturing will stay in Frankfurt.
NEXTFORM 17. – 20. November in Frankfurt – Check it out Nextform

Day 3 at SME Rapid [Long Beach – USA]


The 3rd day at SME Rapid started with a keynote of William Warren on 3D Bio-printing.
The essence was that there won’t be any complex organs likes hearts or kidneys be printed very soon.
Though no real MINI-MEs in the near future but a lot hope for skin cancer patients and victims of accidents
as there are developments on tissue engineering.

The best presentation I saw on Wednesday was held by Jason Jones from Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies.
I have met Jason through work before and it was interesting to hear about HMT the latest developments.
Jasons company offers a laser deposition head (cladding head) that can be changed from the tool-mag into the
chuck of a CNC-machining center. The benefit of this hybrid-process is less handling of the workpiece through
machine changes, higher accuracy through less clamping and getting simply the best of two worlds AM & CNC.
Being familiar with the technology I really enjoyed the presentation.  Jason provided a helicopter view on the
process and it’s applications. Not just talking about the Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies products but also
shedding light on the developments of other players in the market.

The conference

The sessions for Wednesday were the following:

– Medical Manufacturing Innovations III & IV
– 3D Scanning / Imaging I&II
– Direct Write Printed Materials and Electronics I & II
– Process Applications for Additive Manufacturing I &II
– Manufacturing Applications I
– Standard & Compliance

Each of this sessions is a stream of presentations of about half an hour each.
Being interested in different streams means you have to hop from one conference
room to another and that’s what I did.

I choose the following sessions for Wednesday:
“Hybrid CNC + Additive: Two heads are better than One”
“Additive Manufacturing and Multi-Axis machining”
“3D printing Continuous Fiber Composites (Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Glass Fiber)”
“Real-time close loop control of Laser Metal Additive Manufacturing”
“Developing Quality & Safety Infrastructure for Additive Manufacturing”

The exhibition floor

I had a chat with Shannon Van Deren, the business development manager at LINEAR Mold.
LINEAR Mold is a service bureau operating currently 14 laser-based direct metal systems from different suppliers. I was mainly talking to service bureaus, machine manufacturers and powder suppliers. Cutting a long story short was that everyone agreed that business is very good.

It was the first time I had the chance to see a Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 system in operation.















This machine combines a laser based powder bed process with CNC machining. This enables to create with CNC surface finish also on internal channels of the parts built.

According to Matsuura there are currently (May 2015) about 40 systems in the market, predominantly in Japan but also two in the US.

Höganäs the Swedish metal powder specialist showed that it does not always take a laser to produce high definition metal parts. Höganäs presented a technology called DigitalMetal® a powder bed binder infusion process. Höganäs is offering the process as an in-house job shop service and is also licensing the technology except to service providers.



So far the only material available is stainless steel but materials as titanium, silver and copper are close to commercialisation.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

Day 2 at SME Rapid [Long Beach – USA]

Tuesday, the 2nd day at SME Rapid started with a keynote session of Jason Dunn from Made in Space.
Jason took us in his presentation through the whole project, from the early attempts with off-the-shelf machines
to the development and operation of a custom system. Jason explained the difficulties the team had to overcome
and the very high standards and requirements of NASA.
Did you know that an astronaut costs about USD 40k per hour. That’s what you can call high “labour costs”.
Though the requirements on this “simple machine” were: Plug & Play, fully remote operation and being absolutely safe.
Thinking about off-the-shelf entry level polymer extrusion systems the first two boxes would certainly not be ticked.
But what Jason mentioned regarding the safety was possibly the most remarkable line of his presentation. The “Made in Space” printer had to be a zero-emissions-device. Not emitting any fumes or particles to the space station’s atmosphere was essential.
According to Jason, NASA measurements unveiled significant emissions of nano-particles whilst operating
this polymer extrusion system. That’s why the system is sealed and operated only in a glove box on the ISS.
So if it’s not safe for an astronaut in space you may like to think about where you have placed your hobbiest extruder system at home.
Personally, I will be very excited to see the first direct metal system in space. Jason mentioned the concept of a wired fed metal system with an electron beam as an energy source. However, the electric energy required to operate such a system is just one of the many challenges. But the concepts are taking shape.

The conference
The hardest thing when you attend this kind of events is to choose from all the presentations
running in sessions parallel.

On Tuesday following sessions were offered at Rapid :
– Medical Manufacturing Innovation
– Casting I
– Business Economic Considerations I
– Materials for Additive Manufacturing Applications I
– Design Considerations for Additive Manufacturing I
– Industrial Applications of Additive Manufacturing

Each of this sessions is a stream of presentations of half an hour each.
Being interested in different topics means you have to hop from one conference room to another.

I choose the following sessions for Tuesday:
“Metal Additive Manufacturing Market Trends : Materials, Systems and the Future”
“Manufacturing PEEK Titanium Composite for Spinal Devices Using AM Method”
“Additive Metals: State of the Art in process Monitoring and Safety Assurance”
“Non destructive Inspection of Ti-6Al-4C produced using Electron Beam Energy Deposition”

The exhibition floor
I spent the rest of the day on the exhibition floor where all the OEMs were showing their latest developments.
With all major OEMs of direct metal technologies and hybrid-technologies (CNC plus AM) on the expo it was really
hard to choose where to go first.

My ex-colleagues from SLM Solutions showed off their top of the range SLM500 quad laser system.
It is impressive to see four laser operating simultaneously on four work pieces. This machine is representing
the laser based powder bed fusion system with the highest level of productivity turning powder into metal.
I took a little video of the system in operation.
EOS had their DMLS M290 system on display. This machine represents with its previous version M270/M280
the machine with the largest installation base. I talked to EOS about their top range systems M400 and was told
that there are currently 13 total installations of this machine.
EOS also had some nice parts from Cookson Gold on display.



















Cookson Gold specialises in processing of precious metals on EOS M080 systems.
Further EOS showed parts of 3DMicroPrint GmbH, a spin-off of EOS producing metal parts in an astonishing resolution of typically 5 microns a layer.

Concept Laser had two machines on their booth. The M2 system which has the most common build envelope size.
IMG_0735Further the Mlab system was on show. The Mlab is designed for jewellery and dental industry. The entire material/powder is in a cassette system which can be removed for secure storage. I shot a video of the machine in operation.
Concept Laser showed parts of their cooperation with Aero industry, making clear that sky won’t be the limit.

RENISHAW presented their AM250 system, the same machine I saw just 3 days earlier at my visit at TiDA / R.A.M in Tauranga.
Bob Bennett from RENISHAW took the time to take me through the latest improvements on the AM250 system. RENISHAW aim
is to provide a stable low maintenance machine and fast support when needed. With a fast growing fleet of metal AM systems
this is also growing challenge for the OEMs.
I was more curious to hear from Bob more about RENISHAWs “EVO Project”, a machine which will be unveiled later this year.
However, Bob kept quiet but told me that RENISHAW will also build all the optical components themselves. Interesting as the other OEMs are
buying the scanner units typically from just one supplier.

3D systems was showing their ProX200 system. This system is based on the PHENIX System machine. The French company
PHENIX system was acquired by 3D Systems in 2013. The specialty of the PHENIX Systems / ProX systems is the capability of
processing not only metal but also ceramic materials.

It was also interesting to see that many of the powder manufacturers were exhibiting. The metal powder industry has realized
that powders for metal AM are a market that’s growing very rapidly. According to several industry experts aircraft manufacturers
are asking for capabilities to supply hundreds of tons of material per year. Looking at current build-up rates of state of the art
direct metal AM systems this numbers translates directly to an enormous demand for AM machines.


Written by Matthias Bringezu


SLM500 Quad Laser in operation
CONCEPT LASER Mlab in operation–15253

Video of RENISHAW AM250 in operation

1st day at SME Rapid [Long Beach – USA]

IMG_0333First of all the weather in California was so much nicer than in Melbourne at this time of the year.
Even if it affects you less when you spend most of the day in conference rooms.

The first day had a little downside as the initial plan was to attend the tour to Northrop Grumman
to see the F/A-18 Line and the Composite Center. However, unfortunately attending the tour was
permitted to U.S. citizens only.
Instead, I went to the medical workshop “Regulatory & Quality Systems Considerations for
3D Printed Medical Devices”. I wouldn’t have thought that a presentation by FDA could be interesting.
However, it actually was as Dr. Matthew Di Prima explained how FDA is handling devices manufactured with AM.
To my surprise, I met Professor Xinhua Wu in a coffee break. Professor Wu from Monash University is
also from Melbourne, where she started a spin-off called AMAERO Engineering. This spin-off handles the commercial requests from aeronautical industry. AMAERO Engineering is operating equipment from EOS, TRUMPF and one only three commercial available CONCEPT LASER 1000R X-Line systems.
In the afternoon was the official kick-off session of the Rapid. The keynote presentation was held by industry
expert Todd Grimm who summed up the developments of the last 5 months. Todd certainly had to rush to
squeeze an incredible amount of news into his time slot. It was like a presentation on fast forward but he
demonstrated clearly how much is happening in the additive world.
What followed was the RTAM awards and a panel discussion on Enabling Growth of Thermoplastic Additive Manufacturing.
The conclusion was that current pricing of AM materials is way too high and that this won’t be a sustainable business model.
I liked the comparison of a CNC machine manufacturer telling his customers where they have to buy their feedstock material.
But this is what is happening regarding polymer systems. Material cartridges with RFID chips to prevent the use of third-party material, very similar to the 2D printing industry. Regarding metal AM systems we can see already a shift to more systems with
an open machine architecture. In industry is single source supply a risk, something nobody likes to add to his business case.
A perfect example of such risks was an explosion at a plant of EVONIK in 2012. This tragic event that killed two workers made headlines globally as it was affecting the supply of Nylon powders for Selective Laser Sintering industry.

The first day ended with the Materialise welcome reception with drinks at the poolside. It was a nice opportunity to network. I saw a lot of familiar faces, what showed me that the industry is still small even if it is growing its revenue at such crazy speed:

Scott Dunham, Senior Analyst SmarTech Markets Publishing, addressed this trend in his presentation. The AM industry has quadrupled in the last five years and the predictions for the next five years scopes an identical growths. The slide with the
headline “Quantifying an Explosion” pointed out the fact that the growths predictions for the sales number of metal AM machines
for 2014 were exceeded by 27% to a total growth of 89%.





Visit at TiDA Limited / R.A.M. Limited [Tauranga – New Zealand]


On my second day of my stopover in New Zealand I headed South-East about three hours out of Auckland.
Warwick Downing from TiDA Limited / Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (R.A.M.) Limited welcomed me in Tauranga.

TiDA / R.A.M. is home to Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) systems.
To my surprise I spotted a brand new RENISHAW AM250 system. I was aware of two other systems, an EOS M270 and
an SLM Solutions SLM280HL but RENISHAW’s system had just been installed a few days prior to my visit.
So it just got filled with Nickel-based Inconel material and the parameter development had started.
So I took a shaky video with my iphone, cheeck it out

Of course it is interesting to see a facility operating three laser based powder fusion systems from three different machine manufacturers.

Especially at such a remote location, where the support from the OEM is about 20 000 kilometers away.
But it is actually a common thing what can be found not only at unis and research facilities. S
ervice bureaus, as well as larger companies tend to acquire systems from different machine manufacturers. I discussed with Warwick and we agreed that every systems has it’s stronger and lets say “less stronger” points. Due to different powder feeding mechanisms, the machines do react differently to the same materials. A metal powder that is easy to process on one machine may not work on another machine.
But one machine is better to clean making material changes more easy,  another machine allows handling reactive materials more safely than the other. All these constraints point out that there is no “best machine” as it is always about “the best machine”  for a specific application. Warwick showed me parts and applications TiDA / R.A.M. is producing for their about 150 clients predominantly based in New Zealand. But there also overseas customers making use of the expertise from Tauranga. TiDA / R.A.M. has very good analytically equipment I have seen only in way larger organizations before. These capabilities contribute to an in-depth understanding of the special metallurgy created by laser based powder bed fusion technology. This understanding is essential and key for any post-treatments such as annealing or HIPing, affecting mechanical properties especially long term.
During my visit a PhD-student was undertaking parameter development for a new material. He was busy scheduling the trials for the weekend what showed me the workload and the high machine utilization.  To me it was great to see commercial activities as R&D activities so closely connected in one facility and I am looking forward to hear more about the cutting edge research from Tauranga (NZ).

Next stop => LA



Visit at Zenith Tecnica Limited [Auckland – New Zealand]

On my way to the SME Rapid conference and exhibition in Long Beach (CA) I stopped over in New Zealand.
My first stop was at Zenith Tecnica Limited a company in Auckland.
Martyn Newby, General Manager at Zenith took, the time to show me the operation.
Zenith is operating Electron Beam Melting systems from the Swedish manufacturer Arcam AB .
Electro Beam Melting offers advantages in process speed and productivity compared to laser based
powder bed fusion technologies. The metal powders being processed by EBM® technology are usually more coarse
offering further economical advantages of the process. As EBM® is a “hot-process” not having the huge temperature
gradients like SLM/DMLS the residual stress in the fabricated parts is significantly lower. The surface roughness of
EBM® parts is higher compared to Selective Laser Melting (SLM) or Direct Metal Laser Sintering  parts.
Though it always depends  the specific requirements of the application to say what’s the “better” technology.
Zenith focus is on Titanium but also Stainless and Nickel-based alloy are getting processed. But the aim is to
be more than just a high-tech machine shop building parts for race yachts, Formula One and medical industry.
Martyn explained to me projects where Zenith is contributing own designs, improving product performance and making
the production process and life cycle costs more economical.
I was highly impressed by the sophisticated machine set-up and the expansion plans. The fact that Zenith is offsetting their
entire power consumption with own photovoltaic solar panels showed me as well Zenith Tecnica focus on the future.