3D Printing Industry News Sliced: nTopology, Meltio, Ark Invest, Filamentive, MX3D, Velo3D and more

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest business developments and partnerships in the 3D printing sector.

Today’s edition includes several 3D printing partnerships and business deals, eight new high-performance 3D printing resins, an additive manufacturing materials report, and 3D printed lunar lander propulsion systems.

Read on for the most recent updates from Measurement Solutions Limited, Admasys International, Midatech Pharma, Janssen, Shimoda Iron Works, ALTANA, Agile Space Industries, Doosan Heavy Industries, 3Dwiser, FreeDee and more.

nTopology’s topology optimization software in action. Image via nTopology

New partnerships and investments in 3D printing

Kicking off with the latest business deals in additive manufacturing, 3D scanner supplier Measurement Solutions Limited (MSL) has announced a new distribution partnership with software developer nTopology. Under the deal, MSL will become nTopology’s first UK-based reseller, supplying the firm’s topology optimization software. The design software enables users to lightweight and optimize their parts for 3D printing, shaving off unnecessary material while improving mechanical performance.

Andrew Tagg, Managing Director at MSL, said, “With over 24 years’ experience supplying the UK industry with measuring equipment and Creaform scanning solutions, we see a natural customer fit for the addition of the nTopology software across many sectors, from heavy industry, aerospace, automotive and energy through to motorsport and Formula 1.”

Elsewhere, metal 3D printing technology developer Meltio has announced Admasys International Group as its new official sales partner in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Admasys International will work to build an extensive distribution network for Meltio’s wire-based DED 3D printing technology throughout the European region, creating business opportunities with manufacturers and research institutions alike.

Admasys International will have a national team for each of the three countries: 3Dwiser (CR), FreeDee (Hungary), and ADMASYS SK (Slovakia).

UK-based drug delivery technology company Midatech Pharma is extending its existing R&D partnership with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit to include a second module. The collaboration, originally announced in July 2020, focused on using Midatech’s Q-Sphera technology to 3D print bioresorbable polymer microspheres around medicines. The resulting encapsulated, long-acting injectables are able to deliver experimental medicines over extended periods of time.

Midatech states that the upcoming second module of the work “will concentrate on maximizing drug loading and optimizing in vitro duration of release.”

In the investment world, Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management recently increased its stake in Silicon Valley-based 3D printer manufacturer Velo3D, buying another 10,000 shares for an estimated $70,300. Before the latest purchase, the investment fund’s Ark Space Exploration & Innovation (ARKX) and Ark Autonomous Technology & Robotics (ARKQ) ETFs together held 7.39 million Velo3D shares, which was at the time worth around $52 million. Wood has been slowly buying up shares in Velo3D since its market debut in October via a merger with blank-check firm Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corp.

The Meltio Engine 3D printing module. Photo via Meltio.
The Meltio Engine 3D printing module. Photo via Meltio.

Filamentive latest filament trends report

3D printing filament manufacturer Filamentive has released its latest filament trends report comparing 2020 to 2021.

The two most popular materials from 2020 – PLA and PETG – are once again the top two for 2021. Carbon ASA, CF-PETG, and Wood PLA saw significant production increases while ABS, ePLA, Cosmic PLA, and PLA Matte saw notable production decreases.

Filamentive attributes both the decline in ABS and the success of Tough PLA to 3D printer users becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, replacing petroleum-based polymers for biobased alternatives.  

Additionally, the growth of CF-PETG and ASA might suggest that 3D printing is moving beyond just prototyping and being used for end-use applications more and more.

A Rolls Royce jet engine model 3D printed in PLA Tough. Photo via Filamentive.
A Rolls Royce jet engine model 3D printed in PLA Tough. Photo via Filamentive.

ALTANA launches eight new industrial 3D printing resins

Chemicals firm ALTANA has expanded its materials portfolio with two new Cubic Ink 3D printing material families, each of which features four new industrial-grade resins. The two new groups are named ‘High Performance’ and ‘Prototyping’.

The former is predominantly intended for end-use applications, offering properties such as high heat resistance, toughness, and flexibility. On the other hand, the Prototyping range delivers a combination of good chemical stability, rigidity, dental compatibility, and high transparency.

“Industrial 3D printing has the potential to change entire industries. This requires forward-looking products, such as our resin-based Cubic Ink printing materials, which enable high-resolution and productive printing,” says Dr. Petra Severit, CTO of ALTANA. “Our customers benefit from our great solution expertise in the development of innovative resilient high-performance materials and our experience in the formulation of high-performance inkjet inks.”

MX3D ships M1 3D printer to Japan for the first time

MX3D, a developer of wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology, has shipped its M1 metal 3D printer to Japan for the first time. The system is set to be installed at the Shimoda Iron Works factory in Aioi-City, Hyogo, and was sold as part of a collaboration agreement between the two companies.

Shimoda will use its new M1 machine to 3D print stainless steel structural connectors, as well as large parts for windmills.

Shinji Shimoda, president of Shimoda Iron Works, said, “The M1 Metal AM Sytem allows us to start printing optimized parts for various industries including wind power industry immediately. We were impressed by the ease of use and the quality of the materials. Moreover, this new process is much attractive for us because it will contribute to SDGs by minimizing both material and energy loss. MX3D’s M1 makes Shimoda the nr. 1 expert in robotic WAAM in Japan, a technology that we believe will see a bright future.”

The MX3D M1 Metal AM System. Photo via MX3D.
The MX3D M1 Metal AM System. Photo via MX3D.

Agile Space Industries to develop new 3D printed propulsion systems

In the aerospace sector, propulsion specialist Agile Space Industries has been selected to develop new 3D printed propulsion systems for use on the commercial lunar lander platforms being created by Astrobotic, ispace Technologies, and Masten.

The three aerospace firms are among a pool of companies that have been chosen to develop lander services as part of the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. They’ve all contracted Agile to provide them with thrusters in a bid to be more competitive on the costs and schedules laid out in the NASA program objectives. Agile will use its in-house technology to 3D print, assemble, and test the thrusters in a matter of days.

“We’re seeing a surge of interest from lunar lander providers needing propulsion solutions that are lower in mass and higher in performance than legacy products,” said Jeff Max, Agile CEO and co-founder. “Our modular thruster technologies achieve this thanks to proprietary 3D printing of metal alloys that make mission-optimized propulsion systems a practical reality.”

Doosan Heavy Industries changes name to Doosan Enerbility

Finally, Heavy industrial firm Doosan Heavy Industries is set to change its name to Doosan Enerbility, provided the company can get approval from shareholders on March 29. The new name is a combination of energy and sustainability, referring to the firm’s future plans.

Doosan is currently undergoing an expansion into several new business areas, including 3D printing, hydrogen, gas turbines, offshore wind, and waste management.

A Doosan spokesperson said, “We have decided to adopt a new name that meets the changing business environment and presents the company’s future directions.”

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Featured image shows the Sliced logo on the MX3D M1 3D printer. Photo via MX3D.

3D Printing Industry News Sliced: nTopology, Meltio, Ark Invest, Filamentive, MX3D, Velo3D and more

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