Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 10:41
At Richmond County Schools 3D Open house, it is all about getting students to understand the many ways 3D can be created and then used. In an amazing day of hands-on learning and tryouts on Sept 28, 2013, students showed and tried new ways to create 3D.
Capturing the real world into 3D is the starting point for many endeavors: design, engineering, movie making and game development to start. The student team at Richmond County this weekend demonstrated their expertise with 3D scanning, as students used a Kinect and 3D Systems Geomagic software to capture sculptures, figurines and even people.
These 3D shapes are processed in Geomagic Studio to enable usable 3D data for any downstream use.
The photos above show both Jeff Epps (in the blazer) and Peter Marozzi, a teacher at Richmond County’s high school, in a pose that is both dramatic and perfect for the students’ 3D gaming environments. On the right you’ll see the matching initial scan data. Using Geomagic software this data will be turned into a usable 3D model that can be printed, used, and added to designs and 3D games.
Cubify Sculpt is a newly released software tool that delivers basic voxel sculpting to consumers, students and others interested in creating both original designs as well as importing STL data for refinement and modeling. During the event, 35 students who had never used the software tried it out. A video of their progress after just 15 minutes of using the software is available by clicking here.
The GreenGrowth Toolbox is a joint effort between Richmond County Schools and North Carolina Conservation. It uses 3D data generated by students and other virtual tools in real-world conservation planning.
The photo above shows a demonstration of the GreenGrowth toolbox during the Open House event.
As Richmond County builds its 3D activity in students’ lives, it is not taking its eye off the target: exposing students to 3D so they can build skills that will be appropriate to a 3D-enabled world in the next few years.
Updated Oct 2nd 2013 11:02AM
Whether you love or hate them, you have to admit the potential for 3-D printing stocks is downright mind-boggling.
To be sure, the underlying companies behind these stocks build and sell printers that can utilize literally dozens of different materials to print almost anything you can think of, including but not limited to scale models, medical prostheses, automobile and plane parts, dishware, jewelry, shoes and, well, you name it, these guys can probably print it.
Heck, additive manufacturing stalwart 3D Systems is even working on making printable food a possibility, and fellow market leader Stratasys recently merged with desktop 3-D printing specialist MakerBot, whose 3-D printers you might recall Ford intends to put in the hands of every one of its engineers by the end of 2013.
Then there's relative newcomer ExOne , which held its initial public offering this past February and exclusively focuses on selling high-end industrial 3-D printers.
All three stocks have had solid runs in 2013 so far, with 3D Systems and Stratasys rising around 26% year to date, and ExOne up almost 70% since the day after its IPO.
Curiously enough, however, though you'll usually find these three stocks trading in lockstep, much of this year's gains for Stratasys and 3D Systems have come over the past three months, a period during which ExOne shares have plummeted by nearly a third:
XONE Total Return Price data by YCharts.
So what gives?
If you're wondering what happened since then, look no further than ExOne's secondary stock offering, which closed last month and during which more than 3 million shares of common stock were sold at $62 per share for a total of more than $189 million.
So what's the big deal, right? After all, 3D Systems has had no problem diluting shareholders to finance its recent acquisition spree, and Stratasys held its own public offering just last month, selling almost 5.2 million shares, which netted the company more than $462 million.
Unfortunately, investors frowned especially hard at ExOne last month because the company itself only sold just 1.106 million shares in the offering -- or less than half the total -- receiving only $64.8 million after deducting underwriting expenses. Meanwhile, the remaining ExOne shares were actually sold by existing stockholders, notably including CEO Kent Rockwell and three other high-ranking executives.
As a result, the offering predictably resulted in no less than two negative analyst initiations for ExOne, both of which simultaneously recommended holding shares of Stratasys and buying 3D Systems.
To their credit, however, it's also worth noting that shares of both 3D Sytems and Stratasys currently trade just under 41 times next year's earnings estimates. If that sounds steep, consider that even after the recent plunge, shares of ExOne are currently trading for around 97 times next year's earnings.
But can you blame ExOne management? Remember, that $62-per-share number was more than triple the $18 IPO price back in February, and the stock's valuation was admittedly richer than ever. What's more, as an ExOne representative also pointed out shortly after the offering, insiders still own 27.5% of all outstanding shares and that includes Rockwell's massive 21.9% stake.
Call me crazy, but that makes it awfully difficult to argue ExOne management has completely lost faith in its company.
In addition, investors also need to remember while the much smaller ExOne has yet to turn a profit, it may deserve a slightly higher premium as it's also growing much more quickly than its larger competitors.
Remember, while ExOne did plunge around 8% following its August 14 earnings release after narrowly missing analysts' expectations, you can see from its gradual rebound during the ensuing weeks the market seemed to agree with my assessment that its earnings report really wasn't all that bad, especially as gross margin continues to improve, its net loss narrowed by more than two-thirds, and revenue nearly doubled from the same year-ago period.
At the same time, the already-profitable Stratasys and 3D Systems last quarter posted year-over-year organic revenue growth of 20% and 32%, respectively.
All in all, as I wrote at the end of August, I'm still "convinced it will only be a matter of time until the yet-to-be-profitable ExOne finds a way to propel its operations into the black." When that happens, something tells me patient long-term investors who buy today will look back and laugh at the opportunity the recent dip has presented.
Wednesday 02 October 2013 10:15
Sales of 3D printers are set to double in the next two years, according to Gartner.
Gartner has released a report claiming shipments of the consumer and enterprise level products – valued at up to $100,000 – would grow by 49% in 2013 to over 56,000.
However, this figure would be dwarfed by a 75% growth in 2014 – with unit shipments just shy of 100,000 – and a doubling of sales by 2015.
"The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point," said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner.
"While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results."
The revenue from the sales is expected to reach $412m in 2013 – up from $288m 2012 – with most coming from the enterprise sector ($325m).
This spending will increase to $669m in 2014 but will remain primarily a target of businesses, with $536m coming from enterprise and $133m from consumers.
"As the products rapidly mature, organisations will increasingly exploit 3D printing's potential in their laboratory, product development and manufacturing operations," added Basiliere.
"In the next 18 months, we foresee consumers moving from being curious about the technology to finding reasons to justify purchases as price points, applications and functionality become more attractive."
Gartner claimed 3D printing would have a major effect on consumer products and manufacturing. However, it also believed industries such as construction, education, energy, government, medical products, military, retail, telecommunications, transportation and utilities would feel some impact from the technology.
"Most businesses are only now beginning to fully comprehend all of the ways in which a 3D printer can be cost-effectively used in their organisations, from prototyping and product development to fixtures and moulds that are used to manufacture or assemble an item to drive finished goods,” said Basiliere.
“Now that many people in the organisation, not only the engineering and manufacturing department managers but also senior corporate management, marketing management and others, have heard the hype, they want to know when the business will have a 3D printer."
As the popularity of 3D printers increases, Gartner predicts the price will drop and at least seven of the 50 largest multinational retailers will be selling them by 2015.
02 Oct 2013
The Cube works by enabling the user to design a three-dimensional product, and then send that design's instruction to the printer, either via Wi-Fi from their computer or by plugging in a USB stick.
The Cube then 'prints' the design by building up fine layers of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polylactic acid (PLA) – both types of plastic – to form a 3D object. Although the printing materials comes out of a cartridge hot, they quickly dry to form a hard resin.
Currys said the "plug-in-and-play simplicity" of the Cube allows anyone using it to start 3D printing as soon as they take it out of the box.
The printer comes with 25 free 3D print files designed by professional artists, and is also compatible with software for Mac or Windows that prepares additional files for printing from a personal device. There are no cables, and the Cube’s Wi-Fi facility allowing users to send prints straight from the computer.
The Cube costs £1,195 and is available in 5 colours - white, silver, pink, green, and blue. The cartridges are recyclable and compostable, and come in 16 different colours including vibrant and neutral colours, metallic silver and ‘glow in the dark’, priced at £52.80 each.
The Cube is almost twice the price of the Velleman K8200 3D printer, which went on sale at electronic specialist Maplin in July for £699. However, the Velleman model is supplied in kit form and may not be suitable for non-technical users, whereas the Cube claims to be the only 3D printer certified for safe at-home use by adults and children.
While 3D printing has been used in the construction and aerospace industries for some time, the launch of these desktop 3D priniting devices indicates that the technology is finally making its way into the mainstream.
A report published by analyst firm Gartner today predicts that worldwide shipments of 3D printers priced less than $100,000 will grow 49 percent in 2013 to reach a total of 56,507 units. Shipments will increase further in 2014, growing 75 percent to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.
"While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results," said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner.
"In the next 18 months, we foresee consumers moving from being curious about the technology to finding reasons to justify purchases as price points, applications and functionality become more attractive."
Gartner predicts that by 2015, seven of the 50 largest multinational retailers will sell 3D printers through their physical and online stores.
"Simply experiencing the technology and conceiving ways to use it will mainly drive makers and hobbyists, not the average consumer, to purchase a 3D printer to begin with," said Basiliere.
"However, we expect that a compelling consumer application – something that can only be created at home on a 3D printer – will hit the scene by 2016. This application, which will be the most compelling use case yet for consumer 3D printing, will arise from work done by makers and other enthusiasts who push the envelope of consumer 3D printing uses and enabled by manufacturers who develop 'plug-and-play' tools."
3D printing remains a nascent market, despite high levels of hype around the technology’s potential — such as, most recently, news that astronauts will be using a 3D printer in space next year. The hype may be a little overblown but there’s no doubting the technology’s trajectory. Enter analyst Gartner with a new report, which predicts worldwide shipments of sub-$100,000 3D printers will grow 49% this year, to reach a total of 56,507 units.
That rate of growth is forecast to rise to 75% in 2014, fuelling shipments of 98,065 units. It’s the first time Gartner has put together a forecast for the sub-$100,000 3D printer market so that’s something of a rite of passage for the technology too.
“The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner, in a statement. “While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results.”
“As the products rapidly mature, organisations will increasingly exploit 3D printing’s potential in their laboratory, product development and manufacturing operations,” he added. “In the next 18 months, we foresee consumers moving from being curious about the technology to finding reasons to justify purchases as price points, applications and functionality become more attractive.”
The analyst expects the price of 3D printers to be driven down by competitive pressures and higher shipment volumes over the next several years, helped by increasing numbers of large multinational retailers selling 3D printers through their physical and online stores. By 2015 it’s predicting seven of the 50 largest multinational retailers will do so.
“Office superstore Staples is already in the market, and other superstores and consumer goods retailers, such as Yamada Denki, are prime candidates to sell printers and finished 3D printed items. Their presence in the market will have an impact on average selling prices, forcing providers into low-margin sales of consumer 3DP by 2017,” Basiliere added.
Combined end-user spending on 3D printers is predicted to hit $412 million this year, up 43% from spending of $288 million in 2012. While the analyst expects spending to increase 62% next year, reaching $669 million. Gartner’s forecast shows enterprises continuing to dominate 3D printer purchases over the next few years, with enterprises spending more than $325 million in 2013 vs $87 million in the consumer segment; and $536 million in 2014 vs consumer spending of $133 million.
Gartner noted that current enterprise uses of 3D technology focus on “one-off or small-run models for product design and industrial prototyping, jigs and fixtures used in manufacturing processes and mass customisation of finished goods”. But as advances in 3D printers, scanners, design tools and materials reduce the cost and complexity of creating 3D printed items, it said applications of 3D printing technology will expand further — drawing in other areas such as “architecture, defence, medical products and jewellery design”.
The analyst expects 3D printers to have the biggest impact on industries, including consumer products, industrial and manufacturing, and a “medium impact” on construction, education, energy, government, medical products, military, retail, telecommunications, transportation and utilities. Low impact industries include banking and financial services and insurance.
“Most businesses are only now beginning to fully comprehend all of the ways in which a 3DP can be cost-effectively used in their organisations, from prototyping and product development to fixtures and moulds that are used to manufacture or assemble an item to drive finished goods,” said Basiliere.
And while earlier buyers of 3D printers will continue to be makers and hobbyists, rather than average consumers, Gartner reckons the former group will contribute to the development of a 3D printing ‘killer app’ — some form of “plug and play” tool — that will be key to driving consumer sales in future. ”We expect that a compelling consumer application — something that can only be created at home on a 3D printer — will hit the scene by 2016,” Basiliere added.
Office Depot will begin stocking 3D Systems' Cube line of of 3-D printers with a launch in Denver featuring an interactive display at the Wynkoop St. location.
Industrial-Grade Scale & Flexibility in Metal
The M-Print is ideally suited for large parts and for large volumes of parts,
resulting in improved reaction time and productivity throughout the entire
manufacturing process chain.
Industrial-grade additive manufacturing
• Largest build size in its class
• Industry-proven materials
• On-demand material management system
• Proven printhead technology for precise dosing
of binding agent
• No support structures
• Complex internal details and structures
capability, otherwise unattainable using
Simplifies Your Operations
• One click – simple user interface
• Easy unloading
• Print in stainless steel, bronze or tungsten
• Functional parts with superior wear
• Flexible job box can print one prototype or
short runs of multiple and/or custom parts
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Suited for complex geometry
• Greater design freedom
Currently available metals include 420 & 316 stainless steel & bronze, bronze
and tungsten. Soda lime (semi-opaque) glass, sand and other casting media also
Sep 24th, 2013
FBR Capital Markets assumed coverage on shares of The ExOne Company (NASDAQ:XONE) in a report issued on Friday, American Banking and Market News reports. The firm issued an outperform rating and a $75.00 target price on the stock.
Stratasys Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of 3D printing company Stratasys Ltd. today announced the opening of its local office in Singapore. The new office will enable Stratasys to meet the demands of its Asean-based customers and the local 3D printing market.
“Adoption of 3D printing, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, has increased significantly in the past few years.” said Jonathan Jaglom, general manager for Asia-Pacific and Japan at Stratasys. “In addition to Singapore, other governments, including China and Japan, have also stated their support for the industry. We expect adoption to grow in the region.”
The Singapore government recently announced the support of the industry with an investment of S$500 million over the next five years under its “Future of Manufacturing” program. This program is designed to drive the development and adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies. Stratasys has been serving customers in the South East Asia and in particular, in Singapore, for many years and the new local operation allows Stratasys to capture the new opportunity in Singapore.
The company is optimistic about the Asian market. Stratasys had revenues of $US359 million ($383 million) in 2012 and the Asia-Pacific region accounts for about a quarter of the company’s sales.
Stratasys has now six offices in Asia: Two in Japan, two in China (in Shanghai and Hong Kong where it has its regional headquarters), one in Singapore and a small office in India.
Emerging Technology Series: 3D Metal Printing
2000 Technology Drive
6:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
As always, we like to provide you with topics that you'll find engaging and interesting. So this time around, we have Tom Pasterik from ExOne to talk about 3D printing. As usual, we will have beer and pizza provided. Event details: Where? Pittsburgh Technology Council 2000 Technology Drive 1st floor, Resource Room Pittsburgh, PA 15219 When? Monday, September 30th, 6-8pm Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 25th. This is a FREE event, however it is on a first come first serve basis.
Sep 30 2013, 12:59
With time, 3D printing is expected to evolve into the next generation technology for industrial manufacturing. Over the years, 3D printing has witnessed the introduction of new technologies which has extended its utility from prototyping to digital manufacturing. Though this technology isn't new, the installation of the machines required high capital investment, but the introduction of new technologies has largely reduced the scale of capital investment required.
Direct digital manufacturing has many benefits and this has resulted in increased demand in numerous industries. Due to growing demand, industry consultants estimate that the 3D printing market will grow at the rate of around 20% yearly.
As a result, there's big opportunity for companies like 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS). ExOne (XONE) is another player in the 3D printing industry, but unlike 3D systems and Stratasys, the company hasn't been very consistent, missing earnings estimates in every quarter since it went public. Surprisingly, the market has overlooked ExOne's flaws and the stock has gained an impressive 70% so far this year.
The 3D printing market is expected to be worth $6 billion by 2017. Credit Suisse started the coverage of the sector with a positive review and predicted that the growth of this segment may exceed the high end of consensus estimates. Let's see how the three players are positioned to benefit from this growth.
3D Systems -- The one to buy
3D Systems is Credit Suisse's top pick in the sector as it was initiated with an Outperform rating and a price target of $62. With a variety of products that cater to prototyping and the consumer segment of 3D printing and a wide range of technology and materials, 3D Systems is expected to attain growth rates well above the industry average. This is clearly seen in Yahoo! Finance estimates, which show that 3D Systems' earnings are expected to grow at an annual rate of 21.55% over the next five years while the industry growth is expected to average 16%.
In addition, 3D Systems has been on an acquisition spree and has acquired 38 companies so far to further strengthen its position. The company has also released a variety of new products, such as advanced 3D printers and new software that have been received well in the market. Such moves helped 3D Systems record more than 100% increase in its printers and other products segment revenue to $54 million in the second quarter.
Recently, the company also started selling its affordable Cube 3D printers at Staples. In addition, the company also announced that it has acquired a California-based start-up micro-design firm known as The Sugar Lab. The Sugar Lab specializes in the 3-D printing of real sugar and is driven by 3D Systems' Color Jet Printing technology. All these moves point to the fact that 3D Systems is trying to pursue all possible areas of growth in the 3D printing industry and that's why investors should take a closer look at it.
Stratasys -- The one to watch
Stratasys' coverage was initiated with a Neutral rating with a price target of $103. The Credit Suisse team wrote,"Stratasys has undertaken some major portfolio moves in the past 12 months, including the merger with Objet Systems (which added the PolyJet printing method as well as a strong Far East sales presence) and the recently closed the acquisition of MakerBot (providing a strong position in consumer markets)."
This acquisition will enable it to compete against 3D Systems in the rising consumer and desktop market, where its presence is still weak. Makerbot recently unveiled Digitizer, a desktop 3D scanner which will scan small objects to make digital 3D models. The machine will not only be extremely user-friendly, but will also cost a lot less than professional scanners. The benefits of Digitizer should increase its demand and will put in into direct competition with 3D Systems' Cube 3D printer.
Stratasys has not performed upto the level of 3D Systems as its share price has gained just 30%. In addition, Credit Suisse's Neutral rating also suggests that it is not superior to 3D Systems. Moreover, its earnings are expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the next five years, which is pretty low. This expected growth rate is below the industry's average. However, the acquisition of MakerBot could help Stratasys fight off relatively strong competition going forward and it also gives it a good start in the consumer market as against 3D Systems.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the opportunity in 3D printing is sizable and these two companies have been making some interesting moves to gain over one another. However, 3D Systems has been winning the battle so far. The company is profitable and has been making acquisitions to strengthen its market share. It is moving into the consumer market with Cube and analysts expect robust earnings growth in the future. Hence, I believe that Credit Suisse's Outperform rating on 3D Systems is justified and investors should consider it for their portfolio.
Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/30/2013 -- Transparency Market Research published new market report "3D Printing in Medical Applications Market (Medical Implants (Dental, Orthopedic, Cranio-maxillofacial), Surgical Guides, Surgical Instruments, Bio-engineered Products) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019", in 2012, the global 3D printing in medical application market was valued at USD 354.5 million and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% from 2013 to 2019 to reach a market of USD 965.5 million by 2019.
Increasing demand in the medical industry for various technological developments has augmented the growth of 3D printing in numero us medical applications. 3D printing has provided the medical industry with a plethora of solutions for large problems. It has revolutionized the healthcare segment by providing surgical guides, medical implants, surgical instruments and bioengineered products. 3D printing in medical applications is expected to grow at a significant CAGR of 15.4% from 2013 to 2019. This growth is attributed to an increase in demand of quick and cheap solutions for medical problems. In addition, the market would also grow owing to an increase in investment in R&D for the technologies of 3D printing. The growth of this market may, however, get affected due to lack of trained professionals and raw materials.
3D printing technologies help in manufacturing medical implants and surgical guides such as dental, orthopedic and cranio-maxillofacial. In addition, they increase the efficiency of surgical instruments by manufacturing self-sterilizing surgical instruments. The manufacturing of these bio-models is done by using various raw materials such as metal, polymer, ceramic and biological cells. These raw materials, when used with 3D printing technologies such as laser beam melting (LBM), electron beam melting (EBM), droplet deposition manufacturing (DDM) and photopolymerization, result in the manufacturing of various bio-models.
Geographically, although the North American region constituted the largest market for 3D printing in medical applications in year 2012; Europe is expected to witness the highest growth rate of more than 15% from 2013 to 2019. This growth is mainly due to the increase in government funding in this market along with various small and big mergers and acquisitions of companies for technological advancement coupled with enhancement in application areas. Favorable reimbursement policies in the region will also provide the required impetus for the growth of the market.
He also did this -
10:58 am ExOne Co XONE ROCKWELL S KENT (Chair and CEO Director)
611,667 $16.74 $10,239,306 4,931,027(Indirect)
He sold shares at $16.74, not very smart considering he could have gotten over 4X that amount if he waited a few months. The imporant thing is: Where is the 3D market going? Other 3D stocks are not too much off of their 52 week highs, XONE's selloff gives it more upside potential if the sector starts to break out again.
September 30, 2013
It’s entirely possible that additive manufacturing (AM) has made a bigger impact in the medical field than it has in more purely mechanical fields, such as aerospace. Dentists and doctors benefit from the technology’s flexibility by being able to design medical implants and devices on a case-by-case basis, and in a timely fashion.
3D printing has also found a place in pre-surgery prep and training with the assistance of AM-built models of hearts and brains using CT data to build the models. 3D Systems is hoping to tap into the 3D modeling aspects of medical AM with its new Bespoke Modeling program. The new service is a cloud-based program, with a minimal monthly fee, that allows users to upload data, view 3D models and either order a print, or send the data to a printer in-house.
The service is fully automatic, and builds models based on CT, MRI or ultrasound data without requiring vast amounts of CAD expertise. Bespoke Modeling colors the model based on material or tissue density, and users can filter the results further to focus on specific areas of interest. The cloud-based model also makes information easy to share with colleagues.
Bespoke Modeling is compatible with popular web browsers, like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. It will also be available on iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The service costs $30 a month.
The service has the potential to be useful to educators as well as medical personnel. Models can be built and printed to give students a chance to work with models that are similar to actual human bone. The same models the program produces to assist doctors in planning surgeries can also be useful classroom aids for learning.
“We use 3D-printed models in our educational exercises whenever possible,” commented Dr. W. Paul Brown, a consulting associate professor at Stanford University. “The ability to manipulate a 3-dimensional, digital anatomical model on a computer in Bespoke Modeling and at the same time hold and manipulate a 3D print of the same structure is a unique and useful teaching tool.”
One to buy
Shares of ExOne are down more than 40% from August's high, but are still nearly double from the IPO price early this year. While this is no stock on "sale," the potential this 3D printing company offers is significant. The Fool's Rich Smith highlighted how a recent "sell" rating by Credit Suisse was partially responsible for pushing shares lower. And where Rich is not convinced that ExOne deserves what is still a very richly valued share price, there are a handful of reasons why the current share price may not be as much of a premium as it appears, from the second quarter earnings release:
Company guidance is only $48 to $52 million in annual sales this year, double the year before.
Net losses were reduced by 68% versus the year-ago period, on strong margin and revenue growth. If this continues as projected, next year will be profitable by a large margin.
This is a tiny company with great big potential. Just recognize that it will be a bumpy ride, and start small.
The article shows a picture of the printer and it is massive. It weighs 6 tons.
On Thursday, UNI’s Metal Casting Center, which is just beginning some of its operation at TechWorks, took delivery on a massive $1.5 million 3-D printer that center leaders say will give area manufacturers previously unavailable access to time- and cost-cutting technology.
“The printer will be used to strengthen Iowa's industrial base by bringing advanced manufacturing technology to TechWorks and the state through service to the castings industry under the name of Rapid Casting Technologies,” said Jerry Thiel, the center’s director. “It brings the ability to really help advanced manufacturing technology in the Cedar Valley, if not all of Iowa."
The Metal Casting Center, which is part of the Department of Technology at UNI, also will conduct research in alternate materials to advance the 3D printing process and work with regional companies to evaluate the benefits of the technology according to Thiel.
The unit, a product of Germany-based Ex One Pro Metal, is expected to be in operation by the end of October.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority, through the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, provided $1.2 million in funding for the printer, with the university and the Metal Casting Center paying for the balance.
Thiel said the printer is one of the largest in North America and can produce a solid part with a volume of more than 13 cubic feet.
“We look at the casting used in 97 percent of the durable goods being produced in North America, and it would be of interest to casting producers in automotive and tractors to something as complicated as a computer,” Thiel said, discussion potential applications for the printer. “There’s been interest from all over the country.
"We’re working with organizations as far east as Youngstown, Ohiio, and into Pennsylvania that have interest in partnering with us, either by utilization of the services or following our model of research into the industry or self-sufficiency,” he said.