3DEO’s President, Matt Sand, will be speaking at the upcoming MD&M West conference; a must-attend event for any medtech professional. The conference is in Anaheim, CA on February 5-7, and is the largest three-day medtech conference in North America.
As our industry continues to expand, and with optimistic forecasts coming from many additive manufacturing experts, competition for talent is also intensifying. Here we report several recent moves in the 3D printing industry.
Intelligent Layering for Economical Metal 3D Printing
A related but proprietary and unique process developed by 3DEO, dubbed Intelligent Layering, takes on six distinct steps to deliver high quality parts at a cost that’s competitive with CNC machining and metal injection molding (MIM) at production volumes. The process produces a superior surface finish and tolerances as compared to any other metal AM process.
California-based 3DEO manufacturers 3D-printed metal parts using its own proprietary printers. With a heavy focus on reducing the per-part cost of metal 3D printing, the company claims its patent-pending Intelligent Layering technology is able to fabricate parts that meet quality MPIF Standard 35 and reduce the final cost of printing a part by as much as 80 percent. The company primarily works with stainless steel powder but is currently developing technology to print with other metals as well including Inconel, nickel alloy, cobalt chrome, titanium, soft magnetic alloys, Tungsten heavy alloy, and bronze, copper, and brass.
Suppliers take note.
Parts consumers are not the only ones benefiting from 3D printing. Metal parts supplier 3DEO makes precision-engineered metal components on demand with its proprietary 3D metal printers featuring patented Intelligent Layering technology. The company specializes in manufacturing low/medium volumes, including complex part designs, and is selectively accepting new high-volume orders.
Even though additive manufacturing and 3D printing (AM/3DP) are still in the early adoption phase by most medical device manufacturers (MDMs), these technologies continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Today, most AM/3DP applications in the medical industry are for prototype development, anatomical models, and “one-off” custom components. 3D-printed surgical instrumentation and cutting guides for procedures such as knee, spinal, and dental implants are on the rise. On the manufacturing side, AM/3DP is used to make components for prototype mold tools, conformal cooling inserts for production tools, and jigs and fixtures for making or inspecting production parts.
"3D printing, with its digital manufacturing, has the potential to completely change the game for manufacturers". - Matt Sand, President of 3DEO
3D metal printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process where metal powder is fused together, layer by layer, to make objects derived from digital data. The benefits of 3D metal printing including reduction in material loss, adaptability, and shortened production times. Additive manufacturing has the potential to lead to a 5-27% reduction in global energy consumption by 2050. Cameron Chateauneuf, CEO of ErgoKiwi, discusses how they use additive manufacturing with 3DEO to keep production cost and energy consumption low. 3D metal printing adoption is rapidly growing and experts project the industry could be worth as much as $10 billion over the next 15 years.
Advances in 3D printing could make medtech mass customization a reality. Matt Sand, president of 3DEO, will discuss the role of 3D printing in medtech in the MD&M Minneapolis session, “3D Printing: The Journey from Prototyping to Production to Metal 3DP.” His October 31 talk will include five tips for moving from prototyping to production.
“Metal serial production is the holy grail,” says Matt Petros, chief executive officer of Gardena, California-based 3DEO. “We intend to deliver hundreds of thousands of parts, creating additive technology at scale.”
3DEO is just one of a growing number of manufacturers applying additive manufacturing (AM) to provide end-use parts at production scale. But rather than using a supplier’s 3D-printing technology to produce those parts, 3DEO’s founders elected to develop their own AM process. Today 3DEO manufactures thousands of small, repeatable metal parts using this technology. Its goal is not to compete with other metal AM processes, but to win work that would otherwise be made via machining or metal injection molding (MIM). The speed of the process and its lack of tooling make it possible for 3DEO to compete on price versus these more conventional technologies.
Although additive manufacturing (AM) has been around for decades, it’s much younger than metal fabrication. That’s what makes it appeal to so many metal fabricators, including those who will be stopping by the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion at next month’s FABTECH® show in Atlanta. There’s an excitement to it, a feeling of untapped possibilities. There’s hype, of course, but within that hype are gems of opportunity, and sheet metal fabricators are just starting to find them.