We popped into the Additive Manufacturing Europe 2016 event in Amsterdam and wanted to share some images with you. The event brought together lots of vendors from the desktop 3D printing and industrial Additive Manufacturing space.
German company Trumpf is a leader in lasers and makes high end CNC and laser welding machines. The company previously had a foray into 3D printing and is now back with its TruPrint 1000 metal 3D printer. The company is taking industry leaders such as EOS and SLM Solutions head on with a printer capable of printing titanium, cobalt-chromium, nickel alloys and stainless steel.
Höganäs is a Swedish multinational which amongst many things is a supplier of metal powders for metal 3D printing. The company is a relatively new entrant to the market. It has also acquired Digital Metal, a metal inkjet technology that in terms of cost and time to first part could challenge DMLS and other metal 3D printing providers. The company seems very focussed on bringing down the costs of metal 3D printing which should see more applications for the technology emerge.
We can also see the emergence of much larger 3D printers. Desktop 3D printer manufacturers such as Builder are making systems such as the Builder Extreme 2000. The huge printer has a 700 by 700 by 1820 mm build volume and dual extruders. These kinds of systems could challenge industrial additive manufacturing companies. Industrial machines have higher reliability and repeatability but now some desktop manufacturers are coming up with larger build volume machines.
Another huge machine was the Ghettoblaster by AMR Europe. It has a 1200 by 600 by 600 mm build volume and four print heads that can move independently. Rather than go up this printer is relatively low to the ground which should make it a good candidate for printing large but not tall industrial parts. AMR’s take on the large scale desktop 3D printers is an interesting one and I’m curious to see what companies will join the race to go big or go home.
A lot of people in 3D printing are thinking about the Innovator’s Dilemma, the concept that previous innovators will be surpassed by newer companies offering good enough cost competitive solutions. Large scale machines by new companies are directly challenging industrial AM companies dominance of manufacturing. A more subtle and perhaps overlooked new product was by Ultimaker. The open source desktop 3D printing company showcased a cabinet. At first glance it might not seem that interesting. Integrated air flow and exhaust in a cabinet made for 3D printers will let industrial companies use many desktop systems instead of more expensive industrial AM machines. Clusters of desktop machines could, similar to what has happened in servers and mainframes, replace much more expensive equipment. Lulzbot and Makerbot already have similar solutions but it is by coupling such a 3D printing cluster with powerful print management software that companies can really bring desktop machines to manufacturing. And maybe the makers of Cura are doing just that.