At Beamler, we always focus on being up to date with all the innovations and novelties happening on the 3D printing market. Therefore, we like being as close as possible to researchers and innovators who work on cutting-edge developments within additive manufacturing.
Recently our engineers participated in the Printed Conference – the largest 3D printing event in Eastern Europe, happening yearly in Poland.
On the 17th of October 2018 more than 300 researchers, business representatives and 3D printing enthusiast gathered together in prestigious ICE Congress Center in Kraków to discuss the possibilities of 3D printing technology.
The event was combined with the machines and materials fair, as well as the Innovator Zone.
When it comes to the conference, the specialists from various industrial backgrounds spoke about how 3D printing help them at work. Another broad topic was what is the direction in which the developments of additive manufacturing are going in their fields.
How does 3D printing market look today?
The conference started with the speech about current trends in 3D printing, such as shifting from prototyping to small-scale production. It was clear that a range of applications of incremental technologies is constantly evolving.
Adam Przepolski from the company CadXpert spoke about where is 3D printing going – both in terms of new technologies and optimization of current solutions. According to presented data, the rates of the value of 3DP market grow yearly by as much as 30 to 40%!
The audience was left with the important questions. Where are we heading now? Can we talk about the professionalization of the market or rather about the development of the do-it-yourself trend?
The next lecture concerned the importance of prototyping in business and industry. Dominik Wyszyński, a Ph.D. graduate with a dissertation on laser sintering, spoke about the benefits of prototypes produced on 3D printers versus the ones made with other techniques.
Among – in our opinion – the most interesting business cases mentioned by the two speakers were:
- Casings for mobile speed cameras used by the traffic police.
They were printed with ASA material, which has high resistance to UV light and therefore can be exposed long-term to the sunlight.
- Tips of robotic arm developed by company Akar.
Usage of 3D printing allowed to instantly reproduce worn-off elements of the robots and keep the work of the production line smooth. It resulted in shortening significantly the turnaround time of the machines.
- Production of tooling elements made of composite materials at Swift Engineering.
The company claims that implementation of 3D printing substantially improved the lead time. Design-to-production can be reduced from a couple of months to even one day. Besides, the final product has fewer seams and requires less post-production. What is more, the engineers have more control of the inner surfaces of the part and can achieve more complex geometries.
- Molds and casts produced out of Digital ABS material by Stratasys
3D printed elements for the injection molding process, made of the ABS plastic of improved impact resistance and shock absorption. Molds developed in this technology can stand up to 200-300 injection cycles.
- PVC window profile systems produced by Decco Extrusion.
Implementation of 3D printing allowed the company to develop more innovative solutions. The designs got more unique and the prototyping and development of the final product became more effective.
- Security devices of Chinese company Nuctech at its newly-opened R&D and production facility near Warsaw.
Some elements of the advanced security control systems for customs officers, airports or harbors are being prototyped with 3D printing. It allows making the process of product improvement and development more innovative and feasible.
The first session at the conference, regarding the additive manufacturing market, was closed by Karolina Furyk-Grabowska. The CEO of 3DFly spoke about the market needs in terms of the desired skills and qualified labor, for which demand is constantly growing.
3D printing technologies in a nutshell
The next set of speeches at the Printed Conference was dedicated to additive technologies. In my opinion, the choice of this topic was an own goal of the Program Board of the event. The conference was organized for the third time and since the past 3 years, almost everyone in the audience was deeply acknowledged or at least familiar with the topic. Instead of warming the basics of FDM or SLS over, I would rather get a deeper insight into what novelties and hybrid technologies are currently developed by the machine manufacturers.
Nevertheless, the presentation of Jacek Krzyżanowski, the Key Account Manager at Omni3D was very compelling. It concerned the practical application of 3D printing in the production of a supercar Arrinera Hussarya.
Utilization of additive technologies allowed the manufacturers to:
- produce a small series of functional side mirrors, reflectors and air inlets of a car
- reduce a unit cost of a reflector from 300 EUR to 95 EUR
- decrease production time of a reflector from 3 weeks to 13 hours
- 53% weight reduction (from 525 g to 247 g) of a side-view mirror
The speech about the topological optimization of the parts involving additive technologies in serial production was the most captivating presentation of the event. Jakub Trzyna, the Sales Engineer at Bibus Menos, gave a great presentation and many inspiring examples.
After the lunch break full of networking, the next set of presentations concerned spatial computer-aided design.
Digital design is getting more and more advanced
The application of 3D modeling softwares for medicine, industry, and archeology was discussed by Marcin Dębski from the company SmartTech 3D – producer of top-notch 3D scanners.
Next, Marek Wyleżoł from the Silesian University of Technology talked the audience through the modeling methods, design-supporting tools and good practices in designing for 3D printing.
I was mostly impressed by the haptic manipulator used for CAD modeling as an alternative to the popular softwares, such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD or Fusion360. Haptic technology recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user, allowing for better material simulation. It makes modeling smoother and closer to analog shape creation (e.g. clay modeling). This device – operated by an engineer with a good combination of practical experience and a set of manual skills – may be a very beneficial tool allowing for inventive designs and creative product development.
This series was closed by the case study by Paweł Ozga, the Head of 3D Printing Lab on Kraków Academy of Fine Arts. He showed the creation of a digital 3D model of a human heart based on MRI medical images. The laboratory cooperates with a number of hospitals and clinics in Poland, facilitating the preparation of the operations performed on patients of difficult medical cases.
Where is the business around 3D printing?
The last part of the Printed Conference concerned the practical applications of 3D printing in technology in business.
For us at Beamler, the lecture given by Włodzimierz Adamski, the Head of ProCAx Association and long-time advisor at Polish Aviation Association Mielec A. Sikorsky & Lockheed Martin company, was a very inspiring market overview. 3D printing is widely used in the aerospace industry, providing fully functional elements of reduced weight, fine details and improved complex designs of parts used by Airbus, Dassault or Boeing, certified and implemented in real-life airplanes.
Karolina Przybyszewska presented the results of her scientific work concerning the development of optimal conditions for the production of natural biomaterials intended for printing medical devices using the 3D technique. At this point, it is worth to mention the significant difference between 3D printing of biomaterials and 3D bioprinting. The former one is already widely used, for example for printing patient-specific dental implants out of biocompatible plastics or titanium bone replacements. Bioprinting is another scenario – 3D structures are created from the mix of substance building a scaffold and actual living cells. Provided optimal living conditions (temperature, humidity, nutrition etc.), the cells grow around the scaffold and form a tissue. This technique is still in the research phase at most of the worldwide institutes working with biomaterials. Since the first successful trials such as 3D printed skin or corneas were already announced, it gives a perspective of 3D printing fully functional organs for transplantation.
In the end, Jan Witowski from MedApp presented how his company implements 3D imaging and additive manufacturing in cardiology and how their software and solutions are implemented to practical use in hospitals.
Daniel Zieliński presented with a great sense of humor how 3D printing may be used for the creation of art exhibitions, performances, and sculptures.
Beamler stays always in the swim of things
Printed Conference was a place where you could get to know the market, gain a general overview of incremental technologies and its capabilities. You could also learn how business uses these techniques.
Nevertheless, for us it was just a warm-up before the biggest 3D printing fair in the world – Formnext in Frankfurt am Main, which will take place on the 13th – 16th of November 2018. Our whole team will be there to discuss how to implement additive technologies into the industrial manufacturing processes and how can we, together, follow up with Industry 4.0. Feel free to book a meeting during the event via this link.