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Formnext 2018: 10 Technologies We’re Excited to See This Year

formnext logoIn just a few days, Frankfurt will play host to one of the biggest events in the world of additive manufacturing: Formnext. From 13-16 November, the trade show will be showcasing the latest developments in AM, from new hardware systems to innovative materials and software solutions.   
 
And while the AMFG team is busy with last-minute preparations as we exhibit once again at Formnext this year, that doesn’t mean we’re not excited to witness the latest advancements the industry has to offer. So that you (and we!) don’t get lost in the wave of innovative offerings during the event, we’ve put together a top 10 list of the technologies you should keep an eye out for.  
 

Hardware

1. HP’s new Metal Jet system
 
For hardware systems, first on the list is HP, which will be presenting its new Metal Jet system in Europe for the first time.
 
What’s new: Following the launch of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) two years ago, the Metal Jet marks the company’s move towards metal 3D printing. Metal Jet is voxel-level binder jetting technology that builds off of HP’s MJF technology. We’re looking forward to seeing the system in action – particularly as it is said to be up to 50 times more productive than other 3D printing technologies and capable of producing isotropic parts that meet ASTM standards.

HP Metal Jet

 
2. Optomec’s LENS 860 Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere (CA) System
 
Continuing with the theme of metal 3D printing, we’re also looking forward to Optomec, a US-based manufacturer of metal AM systems, as it presents its Optomec LENS 860 Hybrid Controlled Atmosphere (CA) System. The new LENS system was, first launched at IMTS and offers a hybrid, more affordable approach to manufacturing metal parts by combining additive and machining capabilities.
 
What’s new: The system is the latest addition to the LENS 860 series of machines for its metal 3D printing technology. With a build envelope of 860 x 600 x 610 mm, the LENS 860 Hybrid CA system has a larger build volume and supports higher laser power (3kW fibre laser). It’s also equipped with a hermetically-sealed build chamber, making it suitable for 3D printing reactive metals, like titanium. With a price point below $250, 000, we’re excited to see how the system can offer a more affordable metal hybrid manufacturing solution in one machine.
 
3. RepRap’s Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) 3D printer
 
3. RepRap’s Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) 3D printerAfter several years of development, German manufacturer RepRap will be debuting its new LAM L280 3D printer at formnext 2018.
 
What’s new: Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) is an interesting new technique that enables the 3D printing of liquid or high viscosity materials like liquid silicone rubber. Using an FDM process, LAM works with liquid materials which are vulcanised to its final form when exposed to heat. With the build volume of 280 x 280 x 200 mm, the LAM-based L280 reportedly produces parts with equal or even superior properties to injection moulded parts.  
 
4. Essentium’s High Speed Extrusion Platform
 
High-Speed-Extrusion-from-Essentium.
Essentium plans to showcase its High Speed Extrusion Platform (HSE), said to be “10x faster and more accurate than any other extrusion platform” and capable of producing parts at scale.

 
What’s new: Essentium’s new 3D printer is based on its proprietary FlashFuse technology which notably adds strength in the Z-axis to FDM 3D prints. Scheduled for release in Q4 2018, the HSE platform features a build envelope of 740 x 510 x 650 mm and a heated chamber. The nozzle temperature of the machine can reach 600°C to process Ultrafuse series of filaments, developed in partnership with BASF 3D Printing Solutions particularly for industrial applications.
 
Bonus: Stratasys’ latest developments, including metal 3D printing
 
An additional exhibit we’re keen to check out is Stratasys, who will be showcasing its latest solutions focused on the key areas of concept modelling, prototyping, tooling and final part production.
 
What’s new: We’re looking forward to seeing Stratasys’ Fortus range of 3D printers, which will include the recently-announced Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition. And, for the first time at Formnext, Stratasys will also show the latest developments with its metal 3D printing technology.

Software

5. Sigma Labs’ upgrades its PrintRite 4.0 software suite
 
Sigma Labs, a provider of quality assurance software for 3D printing, will be unveiling some new features to its PrintRite3D 4.0 software suite, developed for quality control of metal AM processes and materials. The suite includes PrintRite3D SENSORPAK multi-sensors hardware, PrintRite3D INSPECT, CONTOUR and ANALYTICS software modules.
 
What’s new: The company will be demonstrating the newest features of its PrintRite3D suite, particularly the upgrades to PrintRite3D SENSORPAK hardware and PrintRite3D INSPECT software. We’re looking forward to seeing upgrades to its hardware, which is said to provide faster data processing and display results in real time during the printing process. Reportedly some of the new software features can also measure and report melt pool relative temperature.
 
6. Polygonica 3D Modelling Software (MachineWorks)
 
Polygonica_software logoMachineWorks, the software developer behind the Polygonica toolkit for processing polygon meshes, will be highlighting the Version 2.2 of Polygonica at Formnext this year.
 
What’s new: One of the most significant elements of the Polygonica functionality is its automatic mesh healing algorithm, which creates watertight 3D printing-ready models automatically without the need for manual intervention. At Formnext, the MachineWorks team will be showing the latest improvements to Polygonica, including upgrades to its hole-filling algorithms and a new method for offsetting.
 
7. ntopology’s design software for lattice structures
 
ntopology_Element_lattice_structuresThis year, the nTopology team will be highlighting some of the capabilities of its Element lattice design software.
 
What’s new: The Element design software can generate strong, lightweight lattice structures suitable for additive manufacturing. In contrast to topology optimisation tools, lattice design tools like Element allow users to lightweight their designs by removing parts of the volume while retaining the shape of a part. 
 
Bonus: AMFG’s post-production solutions for additive manufacturing workflows
 
AMFG Production Management for Additive Manufacturing It would be remiss of us not to include ourselves in the software category in some way! This year, we’ll be showcasing our brand new software solutions for post-production management for the very first time.
 
What’s new: From QA checks to post-processing scheduling, post-production is a vital stage of the AM workflow. At Formnext, we’ll be showcasing our post-production management tools, designed to provide greater visibility and efficiency, as well as provide a seamless flow between production stages.  Visitors to our stand will have the chance to test out our tablet-optimised solutions for yourselves.
 

Materials

8. Apium Additive Technologies Polypropylene (PP) material
 
Apium_LogoApium Additive Technologies has recently announced the addition of a polypropylene (PP) material to its AM materials portfolio and is set to make further announcements during Formnext 2018.
 
What’s new: PP is among the most widely used thermoplastics in industrial production. With the launch of this new material, Apium has significantly enhanced its offering to users of its P Series 3D printing system, designed to process high-temperature polymers.
 
9. Mitsubishi Chemical’s FDM material offerings
 
Mitsubishi Chemical logoTwo divisions of Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Chemical, have recently entered the 3D printing market. The former aims to penetrate the metal 3D printing market with a new metal AM system, while Mitsubishi Chemical is introducing a series of AM materials.
 
For the first time at Formnext, Mitsubishi Chemical will be displaying a range of new materials for 3D printing from the different companies within the Mitsubishi Chemical Group.
 
What’s new: 3D printing sustainable materials for FDM will be in the spotlight at the Mitsubishi Chemical stand. One of the highlights on the stand will be the gigantic Colossus printer, which will be printing chairs in real time during the event.
 
10. Sandvik’s AM solutions and metal materials

Sandvik metal 3D printing powders
Sandvik’s will be showcasing its metal powders for AM

Earlier this year, Sandvik, a Swedish developer and producer of gas atomised metal powders, announced it had invested $25 million into a new facility for the production of metal powders for AM. In addition to AM materials, the company provides additive manufacturing and post-processing services. At Formnext, Sandvik is set to showcase its expertise across the entire additive value chain.
 
What’s new: Sandvik will highlight different materials for metal 3D printing, AM technologies, and tailor-made post-processing methods. Visitors will have a chance to see a range of real-world AM-produced customer cases and find out more about its Osprey brand metal powders for AM.
 

Meet AMFG at Formnext 2018

This year’s Formnext trade show promises to be a thrilling event, featuring cutting-edge hardware, software, materials and more. The AMFG team is excited to be exhibiting once again – join us in Hall 3, Stand F68 as we unveil our brand new post production management solutions for additive manufacturing. We look forward to seeing you there!