Globenewswire | March 24, 2023
3D Systems today announced its collaboration with TE Connectivity, a world leader in connectors and sensors, to jointly develop an additive manufacturing solution to produce electrical connectors meeting stringent UL regulatory requirements. The solution comprising 3D Systems’ Figure 4® Modular, Figure 4 material, 3D Sprint® software, and services was designed to meet TE Connectivity’s unique requirements for material performance and high tolerance, reliable printing. The foundation of the solution is a newly developed photopolymer 3D Systems engineered specifically to meet TE Connectivity’s requirements. In addition to a world-class flammability rating at 0.4mm thickness, it is the first known printable photopolymer to complete a UL®1-recognized long-term thermal aging (RTI) study. This material combined with an optimized print process enables the necessary reliability and accuracy required for TE Connectivity’s products. Using 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology, the combination of new material properties, speed, and accuracy allows the production of rugged industrial products for the first time, targeted at appliances, cellular and data-center applications. Additive manufacturing provides TE Connectivity freedom of design to create complex geometries that would be difficult to create using injection molding. It increases flexibility for low volume, quick turn production runs, and tooling avoidance, allowing TE to quickly demonstrate its capabilities and its customers to more efficiently meet demand.
3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) collaborated with TE Connectivity’s team to develop a full production workflow from design to a finished connector. The program included the development and UL certification of a new Figure 4 material. UL regulatory approval has been obtained, including UL94 V0 flame rating at 0.4mm, Glow Wire Ignition (GWI) of 800°C, Comparative Tracking Index (CTI) of 600V (equivalent to a PLC of 0), and Relative Temperature Index (RTI) for long-term electrical and mechanical use of 150C and 130C, respectively.
“As 3D printing technology evolves, we’re seeing more opportunities for using it to manufacture products for customers who need a low volume of parts in a short timeframe,” said Philip Gilchrist, VP and segment chief technology officer for Communications Solutions at TE Connectivity. “Our work with 3D Systems enables us to provide our customers with functional parts in just weeks instead of months.”
“Customer-centric innovation is at the core of everything we do,” said Reji Puthenveetil, executive vice president, industrial solutions, 3D Systems. “The collaboration with TE Connectivity provided the understanding and requirements of the unique application being addressed and enabled the development of the solution. Our materials scientists and print process experts worked very closely with the TE team to formulate a material that, when used in conjunction with our Figure 4 technology, delivered on the high quality, high-reliability standards their customers have come to expect. This is yet another example of how 3D Systems is partnering with industry leaders to accelerate innovation and build competitive advantage through additive manufacturing solutions.”
About 3D Systems
More than 35 years ago, 3D Systems brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Today, as the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, we bring innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction - empowering our customers to create products and business models never before possible. Thanks to our unique offering of hardware, software, materials, and services, each application-specific solution is powered by the expertise of our application engineers who collaborate with customers to transform how they deliver their products and services. 3D Systems’ solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace & defense, automotive, and durable goods.
About TE Connectivity
TE Connectivity is a global industrial technology leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive and connected future. Our broad range of connectivity and sensor solutions, proven in the harshest environments, enable advancements in transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications and the home. With more than 85,000 employees, including over 8,000 engineers, working alongside customers in approximately 140 countries, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS.
MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION
Machina Labs | March 20, 2023
Machina Labs today announced that the United States Air Force (USAF) has awarded Machina Labs $1.6M to advance and accelerate the development of its robotic technology for manufacturing of metal tooling for high-rate production of composites.
Higher vehicle production rates in comparison to current rates is anticipated as experts project that the airline industry will need to triple its fleet to about 60,000 airplanes over the next 20 years. With respect to military applications, there is a similar drive towards balancing mission agility, sustainment, and vehicle cost; giving rise to emerging air vehicle concepts like the Low-Cost Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP) program where there is a higher tolerance over limited life and loss of vehicles during operations.
In addition, Advanced/Urban Air Mobility (AAM/UAM) vehicles have received considerable commercial traction in recent years. These highly automated, on-demand passenger and air cargo vehicles are anticipated to have production rates in the tens to hundreds of thousands per year. Lightweight, high-strength composite structures are a key enabler for achieving these goals. As such, the factory throughputs of advanced composite structures have to be increased and their production cost lowered.
Machina Labs’ AFWERX Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) contract will be focused on metal tooling for a fast-cure, out-of-autoclave (OOA) composite processing route. Through its previous contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Machina Labs has validated that its tools have vacuum integrity, are dimensionally stable once thermally stabilized, and are thermally more responsive than conventional metal tools.
Composite tooling, depending on the materials selected and the tool size, could cost more than $1 million per tool and require 8-10 months of lead time. These costs and lead times for composite tooling do not support referenced increased manufacturing goals.
“Machina Labs has demonstrated that its large-envelope, two-robot, incremental sheet metal forming technology can be used for manufacturing of metal tooling for composites resulting in dramatically reduced tool costs and time-to-market of composite parts,” according to Craig Neslen, Manufacturing Lead for the ACP Program at AFRL. “At the same time, given that no part-specific hardware is necessary for manufacturing of the sheet metal tools, it is possible to not only fabricate the tools expeditiously, but to quickly accommodate design changes when necessary.”
Machina Labs uses robots the way a blacksmith uses a hammer to creatively manufacture different designs and material, introducing unseen flexibility and agility to the manufacturing industry. The company’s manufacturing platform combines the latest advances in robotics and AI so great ideas can quickly and affordably turn to reality and businesses can benefit from rapid iteration to bring more innovative products to market, faster.
“We are pleased to advance our work with USAF in order to advance composite tooling for a wide variety of applications,” according to Babak Raeisinia, Co-Founder and Head of Applications & Partnerships at Machina Labs. “Keeping inventory of tooling is expensive. I believe technology will free up capital and allow organizations such as USAF to transition to an on-demand tooling model.”
Machina Labs combines the latest advances in AI and robotics to deliver finished metal products in days – not months or years – and gives customers unprecedented time to market and competitive advantage. Robotic sheet forming is the first process enabled by Machina’s patented manufacturing platform. Using material- and geometry-agnostic technology, the platform outperforms traditional sheet forming methods that rely on custom molds or dies.
About Machina Labs
Founded in 2019 by aerospace and automotive industry veterans, Machina Labs is an advanced manufacturing company based in Los Angeles, California. Enabled by advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics, Machina Labs is developing Software-Defined Factories of the Future. The mission of the company is to develop modular manufacturing solutions that can be reconfigured to manufacture new products simply by changing the software.
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING
Oqton | March 14, 2023
On March 13, 2023, Oqton, a provider of software that helps manufacturers boost productivity and creativity through the intelligent automation of production, and Baker Hughes, a leader in energy technology, announced the formation of a commercial software development and technical partnership.
The agreement will combine the engineering and manufacturing know-how of the two companies to create an industrial digital ecosystem that will revolutionize how products are brought to market in highly regulated sectors like the aerospace, energy, and healthcare industries.
The system aims to speed up the design and production of additively built parts throughout the manufacturing workflow. This will increase productivity and make it easier to facilitate compliance.
As part of the development agreement, Baker Hughes is incorporating Oqton's Manufacturing OS into its workflow, including the company's patented additive manufacturing technologies developed for vertical applications over the past decade. As a result, the firms will be able to improve the additive manufacturing platform for the energy industry by combining Oqton's self-sufficient approach to production with Baker
Baker Hughes specializes in developing and implementing manufacturing processes in highly regulated industrial environments. The companies look forward to paving the way for developing additional applications and plug-ins that will be incorporated into the Oqton Manufacturing OS and allow them to expand into new markets with more stringently regulated industries with more demanding end-use applications, such as the aerospace and healthcare sectors.
Dr. Ben Schrauwen, SVP and General Manager of Oqton, stated, "We believe that manufacturing is going through its most significant phase of disruption since the first industrial revolution."
(Source – Globe Newswire)
Jim Sessions, Vice President for Completions, Interventions and Measurements at Baker Hughes, remarked, "As an energy technology company, Baker Hughes is fully committed to the development of the most advanced technologies looking for more efficient, more reliable, and cleaner energy solutions."
(Source – Globe Newswire)
By delivering end-to-end software solutions for additive manufacturing, 3D scanning, and robotic welding, Oqton speeds up intelligent manufacturing, which in turn aids industrial and healthcare enterprises in their pursuit of efficiency and innovation. The company's additive manufacturing platform provides AI-powered features for additive design, image segmentation, build prep, MES, simulation and additive inspection, enabling total traceability and visibility across an organization.