“New space” Industry is heating up, thanks to 3D Printing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #116)

The “new space” industry is a hotbed for innovation. A lot of venture capital is being poured into companies promising to reach for the stars and open the doors to the new frontier of exploration, and market opportunities. 3D printing is the slogan behind many of these endeavors, and for good reason. Setting up shop in space one needs to take into account the many limitations therein. The price per Kg to launch stuff to space is in the thousands, but it’s being reduced by lighter crafts (thanks 3D printing!) and reusable rockets. At this point, one can imagine that exploiting local resources must be a top priority. In-situ resource utilization is the best hope for self-supporting habitats from the Moon to Mars and beyond, and NASA has been hosting design competitions based on 3D printing to make these concepts a reality. The industry has been gathering funds for years now and is starting to see real traction with companies signing multi-year contracts with satellite companies, complete rocket re-design and more. It’s a great time to be alive for space nerds!

 

ESA’s New 3D Printer Will Defy Build Volume Restraints As Well As Gravity

Crew working inside the International Space Station. Photo via NatGeo/ISS: 24/7 ON A SPACE STATION

In January 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) and German technology group OHB SE launched a consortium to develop a large-scale 3D printer for use in zero-gravity conditions. […] One of the biggest revelations is that the 3D printer in development will reportedly be able to produce objects larger than itself – unconstrained by the size of the print bed.

Read the full story here.

 

NASA Announces $100,000 Winners of Virtual 3D-Printed Mars Habitats

One of the winning teams of a NASA competition to make a full-scale Mars habitat using modeling software, Team SEArch+/Apis Cor, designed this Martian abode, which is built from the upper part of a Hercules Single-Stage Reusable Vehicle.

NASA picked three teams to share a $100,000 prize from a competition to make virtual Martian habitats. The 11 participating groups were tasked with making a full-scale habitat using modeling software, building on an earlier stage of the competition that required partial virtual modeling. The teams were graded on their layout, programming, use of interior space, and their habitat’s ability to be scaled to full size for construction, according to a NASA statement announcing the winners.

Read the rest here.

 

Relativity, the 3D-printed-rocket manufacturer, inks a multi-year contract with Telesat

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Relativity, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of 3D-printed rockets, has signed its first public commercial contract with Telesat, the longtime vendor of satellite services for telecommunications and business information. The deal marks the first agreement between a major satellite operator and an entirely venture-backed company in the “New Space” industry and is a huge win for Relativity’s low-cost rocket manufacturing platform.

Read the rest of the article at Techcrunch.

 

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What is the future of AM going to look like? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #106)

With AM, as with any other exponential technologies, it’s very hard to make a sound prediction on its future development, even in the next 5 years. However, there are clear indications that certain roadblocks will most likely be surpassed. Industrial settings will see reliable and large-scale AM technologies being pushed to the high standards required to being widely adopted. New materials with exciting properties will enable new, unthought of applications and provide sustainable new ways to drive AM production forward. All the while, new engines with record number of AM parts will keep being produced and new crucial precedents will be set for future developments to build upon.

HUST Researchers Iron Out Cracks Of 3D Printed Bulk Metallic Glass

SEM imaging of micro-cracks that form inside a BMG when 3D printed by SLM. Image via Materials & Design

A team of researchers led by Professor Ning Li at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), China, have discovered a way to scale-up 3D printing of bulk metallic glass (BMG). With a unique atomic structure, BMG alloys are highly resistant to wear and corrosion while maintaining the melted malleability of glass. However, micro-cracks that occur during 3D printing present a severe disadvantage to BMG utility. At HUST, Professor Li, Jianji Zhang, Wei Xing, Di Ouyang and Lin Liu have developed composite iron and iron-nickle BMG alloys that suppress these deal-breaking micro-cracks, with findings that provide general guidelines for processing BMGs via selective laser melting (SLM).

Read more about the study here.

Empa Cellulose 3D Printing Advances Yield Guidelines For Composite Material Tuning

Illustrations of the direct ink writing 3D printing process (left) and in situ polarization rheology (right) used in the Empa study. Image via ACS Nano

A group at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, is investigating ways to 3D print cellulose. As the most abundant organic polymer in the world, the material is sustainable, and biocompatible, presenting great potential for medical research. Recent progress made at Empa demonstrates how to 3D print cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) as a material reinforcement. Experimentation also shows how to tune the orientations of these CNC “building blocks” to achieve different properties in a finished object.

Read the full article here.

Sunconomy To Develop 3D Printed Concrete Homes in Texas


Sunconomy, a U.S. construction company, has received permits to build its first 3D printed geopolymer additively manufactured house in Lago Vista, Texas.

Larry Haines, the founder of Sunconomy, stated, “We will be able to build the structure for a single family house in a day with virtually no waste, and built super strong and providing very low utility costs. Now that’s Sustainable!”

Read more here.

 

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Where are our 3D printed homes? Progress within the building industry (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #104)

It seems that after the initial outpour of hype for the construction building to adopt 3D printing in pretty much every application, the buzz has died down. We got so excited by the MX3D bridge in Amsterdam and the impressive print times of the homes by WinSun or ApisCor. Where’s our building industry boom? In truth, much of this sector still needs much R&D to be of widespread use: material sciences for printable and reliable cement, building design for printability, construction-grounds automation, even simple order-of-operations. But progress is happening that makes us hopeful. For one, the industry is seeing new players enter the fray, with a Long Island startup boasting to print a house in just 30h. Internationally, we see more projects coming to a close, with China inaugurating a new 3D printed bridge. Permits are being granted and laws are being brought up to speed for new buildings to finally start rolling out, which might make the dream closer than one might think.

Can this startup 3D-print a home in 30 hours?

A group of friends on the south shore of Long Island, New York, working under the name S-Squared, think they can revolutionize the way that homes are built, using a self-made 3D printing rig that they claim can lay down a home in a little more than 30 hours. The promised sale price—under $200,000, due to the reduction in manpower and labor costs—would be a game-changer for an expensive market such as Long Island. It would also be a new entry into the wide field of firms seeking to perfect and commercialize the process of mass-producing homes using 3D printing.

“This will be the first time a real house is going to be built with 3D printing,” says Bob Smith, an S-Squared co-founder. “Everyone else has put up sheds.”

Read the full story at Curbed.

China’s first 3D-printed footbridge opens in Shanghai

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The span, which opened for business on Friday, was created by Shanghai Machinery Construction Group using materials made by Polymaker, the state-run China News Service reported. On its website, the Shanghai government described the new bridge as an “innovative way to promote 3D printing technology and popularise it in urban construction”.

“It’s both an everyday, practical application and an interactive one that involves people touching and even relying upon … a 3D printed thing,” Polymaker said on its website.

Keep reading here.

Sunconomy To Develop 3D Printed Concrete Homes


Sunconomy, a U.S. construction company, has received permits to build its first 3D printed geopolymer additively manufactured house in Lago Vista, Texas. These homes will include three bedrooms, and two bathrooms with a detached garage, solar, wind, battery backup, and a rainwater catchment system, at an estimated cost of $289,000.

Larry Haines, the founder of Sunconomy, stated, “We will be able to build the structure for a single family house in a day with virtually no waste, and built super strong and providing very low utility costs. Now that’s Sustainable!”

Read more here.

 

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Finding the new limits of AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 88)

If you think that AM is sitting comfortably into its allotted seat, that it has already found its target market, you’d be wrong. AM’s flexibility enables us to find numerous potential fields to disrupt. This flexibility is made possible by its assortment of technologies, hardware, software and everything in between, that change the rules year by year. Advances in robotics and AI enable groups of autonomous, mobile units to step up the construction process. After the 3D printed pills and surgical models and implants, we are now beginning to use AM in the development of new future-proof antibiotics. Strong of its success of sending the first 3D printer to the ISS, Made in Space is aiming to produce higher quality fiber optics in space, creating a new business case for manufacturing in and outside Earth’s orbit.

Mobile Robots Cooperate to 3D Print Large Structures

A team of robot arms on mobile bases can 3D print large structures quickly

Roboticists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have, for the first time (as far as they know), performed “the actual printing of a single-piece concrete structure by two mobile robots operating concurrently.” The big advantage of this system is that you can use it to build structures that are more or less arbitrary in size without having to change the system all that much, since the robots themselves can define their own build volume by moving around.

Read more at IEEE Spectrum.

HP Partners With CDC To Test And Bioprint Antibiotics

The HP D300e Digital Dispenser BioPrinter. Photo via HP.

HP has announced its participation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pilot program that aims to develop new antibiotics designed to fight antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. With HP’s bioprinting technology, microbiologists are able to print antibiotics samples for testing directed at halting the spread of such bacteria.

Read the full article here.

Optical fibre made in orbit should be better than the terrestrial sort

Made in Space and FOMS (Fiber Optic Manufacturing in Space) are both proposing to manufacture optical fibre of the highest quality in the free-falling conditions of the International Space Station. At $1m a kilogram, this is a material that is well worth the trip to and from orbit.

Read more on The Economist.

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AUTHENTISE will be exhibiting, through a partnership with America Makes, the power of smart digital tools within the AM production thread. Showcasing our 3Diax modular platform and MES for AM, you’ll be able to witness how our machine learning algorithms and automation tools can boost operational performance through the roof for each role within the pipeline.

WHERE: additive ETC, located on Level 3 of the West Building at McCormick Center.

How to fund Digital Manufacturing? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 80)

Funds like Atomico are already forming a portfolio of startups poised to disrupt many verticals through IIoT, robotics and AI, and they are showing excitement for the future as well. There is tremendous value to be created through digital startups, many of which take on daunting challenges. The aptly named Automation Everywhere wants to bring, you guessed it, automation to any mundane human task, both physically and digitally, and has just raised $1.8 billion valuation. Similarly, company Katerra wants to reinvent how the construction industry is structured and has already raised $865 million in venture capital. But is Venture Capital really the right way to fund a B2B industry with slow sales? The fact that Automation Everywhere waited 15 years to raise its first funding, and Katerra is backed with $865m from Softbank indicates maybe not. Maybe more patient private capital, or even public markets – with their more limited growth objectives – are the right source of funding. Foxconn backing Andrew Ng, while Flex has backed ex-Autodesk CEO Carl Bass with $200m indicates it may be so. Our prediction: We’ll see a lot more interesting funding mechanisms in this industry going forward.

Data, AI & Robots: Atomico’s Take on Industry 4.0

Inexpensive sensors, cheap wireless communications infrastructure, highly scalable cloud-based data processing and novel machine learning methods have converged to a point where the building blocks are in place for a new Machine Age. Venture capital investment in internet-of-things in Industry (the decidedly ugly-sounding “IIoT”) is at an all time high, according to a CB Insights report on the topic, with over $1bn invested in Q4 2017 alone.

Read the full article at Medium.

Silicon Valley company that automates ‘mundane’ tasks with robots gets nearly $2 billion valuation

A Silicon Valley company that uses bots to automate certain tasks previously done by human workers has reached a $1.8 billion valuation with a new fundraising from several companies, including Goldman Sachs. San Jose, California-headquartered Automation Anywhere this week announced a $250 million round of fundraising — its first round of outside funding despite being in business for 15 years.

Read the rest here.

Can Silicon Valley Disrupt How We Build?

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Katerra announced that it had acquired Michael Green Architecture, a 25-person architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 12, the company revealed that it had bought another, larger architecture firm, Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent. This comes five months after Katerra raised $865 million in venture capital from funders led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has also invested heavily in the co-working startup WeWork. “The construction industry is ripe for digital disruption,” said co-founder and chairman Michael Marks in a press release. “This new round of funding will enable us to further invest in R&D and continue to scale the business.”

Read the full article here.

 

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New design thinking is helping AM reach new heights (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 75)

AM is a fantastic piece of technology, but sometimes it can only go as far as the design behind it. That’s why, following the rise and promise of 3D printing techniques, new ways of designing by means of CAD and reasoning have been born, and they help boost the capabilities of AM in a number of ways. Take General Motors for example: through a technique called generative design, they are able to procedurally build the volume of a part to better address its functions and operational stresses, while at the same time saving precious weight. In other cases, new materials and design possibilities come together to enable unprecedented applications like, for example, a customized inflatable for future car interiors. With this kind of thinking, we start to see how this new wave of design methodologies is enabling AM processes to actually work. The 3D printed bridges and houses that we often hear about wouldn’t be much of a revolution by 3D printing alone, if not for a smart and optimized design that can make it work and excel.

GM and Autodesk Using Additive Manufacturing for Lighter Vehicles

GM is using Autodesk’s generative design technology and additive manufacturing to fabricate lighter automotive parts; this seat bracket is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its predecessor. […] It uses cloud computing and AI-based algorithms to rapidly explore multiple permutations of a part design; it can generate hundreds of high-performance, often organic-looking geometric design options based on goals and parameters set by the user.

Read the full article here.

MIT’s 3D-printed inflatables could shape the interiors of cars in the future

Car interiors could morph into different configurations at the flick of a switch, using 3D-printed inflatable structures developed by researchers at the MIT. The Self-Assembly Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) worked with BMW on the project, called Liquid Printed Pneumatics. The German auto brand wanted to see how the lab’s experimental engineering techniques could help it realize some of the shapeshifting features imagined in its futuristic concept cars.

Keep reading at Dezeen.

Additive Construction: From the 3D-Printed House to the 3D-Printed High-Rise

AM has begun to affect nearly every industry, from healthcare to aerospace, making it possible to create unique geometries with unique properties. One industry where 3D printing’s impact is at an even more nascent stage in construction. There are firms and research groups exploring the use of 3D printing as a building technology, but additive construction is still so young that its exact purpose and benefits remain speculative and unclear. Why, other than for sheer novelty, squeeze concrete out of a nozzle to fabricate a building when you can rely on traditional methods?

Read the full article here.

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Manufacturing agility: on-demand printing through AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 57)

The manufacturing model that has characterized the last two centuries was one of irrepressible rush to satisfy the demands of the market. Factories constantly spewed products and parts, even when all orders were satisfied, trusting on times when these might be requested again. Needless to say, this model is very wasteful and contains surplus expenses for stocking and unneeded manufacturing, the infamous “bullwhip effect”, that partake in a feeling of gambling on the market’s ups and downs. Both customers and companies are left unsatisfied. Zara, which makes 50% of its inventory close to the point of use, only sells 10% of its inventory at a discount. Its competitors, 30%.

Additive manufacturing provides the means for a more agile manufacturing framework, one that is capable of flexibly addressing new, and sudden, needs without falling back on warehouse stock. The concept can be applied to every industry on the planet: pharma companies can 3D print drugs on the fly and locally to address an urgent outbreak, constructions can be tailored to local requirements without shipping prefabs. To realize the potential of AM in addressing these demands, the pipeline must be enabled by software capable to provide a holistic overview of operations to nimbly set about whatever request it might face. That’s what we’re focused on at Authentise. Talk to us if you want to know more.

New ‘Reactionware’ 3D Printing System Spits Out Pharmaceuticals On-Demand

Philip Kitson and colleagues at the University of Glasgow have developed a new framework for 3D printing drug manufacturing devices on-site on an as-needed basis. All it requires is a $2,000 3D printer and a drug specification (the manufacturing processes required to produce it). Given such a specification, software created by Kitson’s group dictates to the printer exactly what sort of manufacturing hardware it needs to print that is then capable of producing a particular drug.

Read the rest of the article on Motherboard.

World’s First 3D Printed Toilets Coming to India With Singapore’s Hamilton Labs

Hamilton Labs' 3D printed toilet design complete with energy genertaing solar panel roof. Image via Hamilton Labs

In a new agreement with India’s Center for Rural Information and Action (CRIA) Hamilton Labs will be providing a robot operated 3D printer to “build fast, beautiful and comfortable toilets,” for the Madhubani district in Bihar which sprawls Eastern and Northern India.

Read more about it here.

Mass Production – Is 3D Printing Up To The Supply-Chain Challenge?

Custom designs of 3D printable model cups, from One Coffee Cup a Day | 30 days, 30 cups challenge by Bernat Cuni of Cunicode Design Studio

The Bullwhip Effect describes a phenomenon in which manufacturers build a huge inventory of products based on a forecast of customer demand. From the assumed position high on the supply chain, a manufacturer can misinterpret consumer purchasing behavior at retail level – resulting in a mass of unsaleable stock. Mass customization, i.e. making products to exact customer specifications, low-labor demands and product consolidation, gives 3D printing the potential to break free of the Bullwhip Effect, therefore leading to the question:

“If the Bullwhip Effect is a critical problem in any supply chain, would 3D printing be a solution?”

Read the full article here.

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Decentrailized manufacturing: how AM disrupts logistics (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 44)

Much of the activities surrounding an industrial operation require a lot of logistical effort to work efficiently. Just think about the amount of planning required beforehand to build a house and during construction to make every step slide into place. These activities take up a big chunk of the overall cost of operations but AM is poised to change things up. What this technology allows is to decentralize the manufacturing power, enabling its redistribution where and when it is needed. Going back to the building example, a 3D printer can be set up to take care of pretty much all the chores of constructing the essential structure: eliminating the need to organize bricks shipping and handling and much more, effectively working with raw materials that could even be sourced locally. Automotive businesses are already eyeing AM as a solution to its replacement parts stock problem. A 3D printer can manufacture any component a customer may need (even if it’s obsolete), taking away the need to maintain massive inventories, dislocating these factories so that shipping may not even be an issue. Closer to the production plant, the capabilities of AM render many of the steps included in the traditional pipeline redundant, essentially shrinking it and reducing costs and time.

 

World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens to cyclists in Netherlands

Dutch officials have toasted the opening of what is being called the world’s first 3D-printed concrete bridge, which is primarily meant to be used by cyclists. “The bridge is not very big, but it was rolled out by a printer, which makes it unique,” Theo Salet, from the Eindhoven University of Technology, told Dutch broadcaster NOS. Work on printing the bridge, which has some 800 layers, took about three months after starting in June and it is made of reinforced, pre-stressed concrete, according to the university.

Read the full article here.

 

Electrolux Trials 3D Printed Spare Parts On Demand With Spare Parts 3D

A spare parts warehouse, which Electolux looks to replace using 3D printing. Photo via Spare Parts 3D.

Electrolux, a Swedish domestic appliance manufacturer, is performing a series of tests and analyses ahead of producing on-demand 3D printed spare parts to its customers. […] Electrolux is attempting to address problems affecting both the manufacturer and consumer. For the manufacturer the problem is high production, inventory and maintenance costs for spare parts after the production of the actual appliances has stopped, yet they are still in use. For the consumer, costs of replacement increase after the product is no longer sold, and it often takes a substantial amount of time to process and ship replacement parts.

Read the full article here.

 

Ricoh To Replace Metal Tooling With Stratasys 3D Printed Equivalents

A 3D printed fixture in use on the workbench. Screenshot via Stratasys on YouTube

Electronics and imaging company Ricoh Japan has announced that it is replacing its traditional metal tooling with 3D printed jigs and fixtures made on a Stratasys Fortus 900mc system. By integrating 3D printed tools at the Production Technology Center in Miyagi prefecture, Japan, Ricoh is boosting operational yield, and creating a more cost-effective, streamlined assembly line.

Keep reading here.

 

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We’ll be at Formnext 2017 between the 14th-17th of November! Come check us out at booth Booth # 3.1-A33.