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Additive technology company Stratasys has teamed with the US Olympic luge team to 3D print customized racing sleds for each athlete.
Customized luge sleds made with 3D printing can travel at speeds of about 87 mph.
The US Olympic luge team is going for gold with the help of 3D printing. As the team competes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, athletes are using customized racing sleds created with additive technology from Stratasys that are tailored to their individual bodies.
Using Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technology, the luge team can rapidly and cost-effectively build and test customized racing sleds, according to a press release.
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As 3D printing advances, the technology has proven to have a number of enterprise applications, including for rapid prototyping and medical device testing. However, it’s been slow to catch on: Only 18% of organizations said they were actively using 3D printers as part of business operations in 2016, according to a Tech Pro Research survey. Projects like this could help bring the technology to the attention of more professionals and consumers alike.
The partnership could also help convince professionals and consumers that 3D printed products are indeed safe to use for a variety of activities, including potentially dangerous ones.
Tech has made a number of appearances at the Olympics this year, as noted by our sister site CNET. Members of the US ski team have been using virtual reality (VR) to train for the games. Self-driving buses are transporting people between event locations. And some of the first 5G networks are being tested at the games, as reported by our sister site ZDNet.
“Partnering with USA Luge highlights a perfect example of an environment where our additive manufacturing technology enables customers to meet critical needs in specialized applications,” said Scott Sevcik, vice president of manufacturing solutions at Stratasys. “We’re proud to partner with Team USA, one of the best teams in winter sports, to help them apply the power of FDM technology to keep moving faster, in the shop, and on the track.”
The FDM process allows for levels of customization not possible with standard composite fabrication, according to the release. This is critical for success with racing sleds that travel at speeds of around 87 mph.
3D printing was used to create mandrels at the front of the sled, called the Doubles Tower, which are used to correctly position athletes’ legs during competition. The team also used additive technology to print the layup and sacrificial tools used to manufacture the carbon-fiber composite sleds.
Using Stratasys machines, the team was able to 3D print the mandrel, layup and cure the composite structure, and wash out the tooling material, in less than one week, the release noted. Based on the success of that project, the team tested 3D printing the entire sled body layup tool, adjusting the height based on each athlete.
“Competitive luge racing is an extremely demanding sport where fractions of a second are the
difference between winning and losing. Our riders depend on comfortable, aerodynamic sled
designs to win races,” US luge technical programs manager Jon Owen said in the release. “In teaming with Stratasys, we’ve become much more competitive on the world stage – continuously adjusting designs and running them on the track much faster than traditional processes. Additionally, we’ve balanced both comfort and performance by tailoring the sled to each rider’s body, while minimizing fabrication cost and time.”
A limited selection of materials is one of the primary factors hampering growth of additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, on an industrial scale. Consequently, providers of 3D printing technology increasingly are forming partnerships with chemicals companies and compounders to accelerate materials development: French 3D-printing pioneer Prodways (Les Mureaux) has signed a strategic agreement with materials supplier A. Schulman (Akron, OH), and BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) strengthened its collaboration with HP (Palo Alto, CA). In both cases, the objective is to develop 3D-printing materials for large-scale industrial applications.
Head of R&D at Prodways, André-Luc Allanic developed one of the first European high-speed 3D printers.
Prodways aims to “boost the emergence of additive manufacturing in series production” by offering industrial customers with appropriate laser sintering technology and support. A subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé, a company focused on people and property safety technology with reported revenue of €264 million in 2015, Prodways has developed high-end 3D printers on an open materials platform. The partnership with A. Schulman, a supplier of high-performance polymer compounds and composites, will allow Prodways to “access state-of-the-art compounding know-how to develop materials that are economical, reliable and whose mechanical properties are not yet reachable with 3D printing,” said Prodways CEO Alban d’Halluin.
The partnership seeks to work with industrial and high-value companies to develop custom solutions in a range of markets, according to a press release distributed by the firms.
In another trans-Atlantic partnership announced today, BASF reports that it is strengthening its collaboration with HP to develop materials for large-scale production via the HP Multi Jet Fusion Open Platform.
HP’s technology differs from other 3D-printing techniques and, notably laser sintering, in that a print head applies agents in the desired shape on a polymer powder, which are then fused through exposure to an energy source. The agent’s thermal conductivity results in melting of the polymer powder only where the print head has applied the fusing agent and not where the detailing agent is present. In conventional laser sintering, powder is applied and melted incrementally via a moving laser. The company claims that the Multi Jet Fusion Open Platform can accelerate large-scale production by a factor of 10 while cutting costs in half.
BASF says that it has the broadest product portfolio of materials that can be developed for 3D-printing applications. One recent example is its Ultrasint PA6 X028, a polyamide-6 powder that outperforms other polyamides currently used in 3D printing in terms of mechanical stability and heat resistance, according to Dietmar Geiser, who heads BASF’s 3D-printing strategy within the BASF New Business group. “We are working to develop durable materials that can be used in goods such as automobiles, electronics, sports equipment and materials for the machining industry,” said Geiser.
Furthering its commitment to this market, BASF has established a new dedicated business unit and created an Application Technology Center for 3D printing in Heidelberg, Germany. The center is dedicated to developing custom material solutions and downstream applications for customers.
James L. (“Jim”) McCarley joins as Chief Executive Officer; brings strong operational and sales experience, particularly in metals
S. Kent Rockwell transitioning to role of Executive Chairman; will continue to lead execution of ExOne strategy
NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa., Aug. 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The ExOne Company (NASDAQ:XONE) (“ExOne” or “the Company”), a global provider of three-dimensional (“3D”) printing machines and 3D printed and other products, materials and services to industrial customers, announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a new management structure effective immediately. James L. (“Jim”) McCarley has joined the Company as Chief Executive Officer and S. Kent Rockwell , previously Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, is transitioning to Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. In his new role, Mr. Rockwell will continue to lead the Company’s strategic planning and execution.
S. Kent Rockwell stated, “Our Board is committed to continuing our mission to bring binder jetting to the industrial production floor. We are pleased to add Jim as CEO, bringing his extensive experience in both operations and sales, particularly on the direct metals side of our business where we are strategically focused over the next several years. This is the perfect time to add Jim to our leadership team, having just finished a record second quarter and first half of 2016. His role as CEO is a critical component of our succession plan and will broaden and strengthen our management team, as I move to Executive Chairman and focus more on strategy.”
Mr. McCarley, age 52, formerly served as Executive Vice President—Operations of RTI International Metals, Inc., a producer and global supplier of titanium mill products and a supplier of fabricated titanium and specialty metal components, from May 2010 until July 2015, when Alcoa Inc. acquired RTI by merger. Mr. McCarley also served in the same position during the transition period after the merger, through September 2015. During his time at RTI, Mr. McCarley was its highest ranking operating officer, overseeing daily operations, asset and cash management, talent recruitment/retention, customer care, and growth strategy deployment. Mr. McCarley had previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of General Vortex Energy, Inc., a private developer of engine and combustion technologies, from September 2009 to May 2010. From 1996 through 2009, Mr. McCarley held a variety of management positions within the forging segment of Precision Castparts Company, including Division President of Wyman Gordon Forging West from 2008 to 2009, and Vice President and General Manager of Wyman Gordon Forging, Inc. from 2006 to 2008. From 1987 to 1996, he gained engineering and other relevant experience working for various companies, including Quantum Chemical, Cameron Iron Works , and General Electric Company. Mr. McCarley received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1987.
Lloyd Semple , Lead Independent Director of ExOne’s Board of Directors, commented, “As one of ExOne’s founders and its largest stockholder, Kent Rockwell has led and funded the Company from its early development stages through its 2013 IPO, applying his entrepreneurial approach in introducing our binder jetting technology to the world of industrial manufacturing. The entire Board is extremely grateful to Kent for his outstanding leadership and continued commitment to ExOne. We are appreciative of the thoughtful and strategic succession planning process that resulted in today’s announcement. We look forward to Kent’s continued active and ongoing strategic leadership of ExOne in his new role as Executive Chairman.”
ExOne also announced that President Hans Sack will be retiring at the end of August. Kent Rockwell commented, “We are thankful to Hans for his contributions to the Company, particularly with respect to his focus on global operations. We wish Hans the very best as he retires from ExOne to pursue other interests.”
For more information regarding ExOne’s operations, visit the Company’s website at www.exone.com.
Webcast and Conference Call
ExOne will host a conference call and live webcast on Monday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. During the conference call and webcast, management will discuss these leadership changes. A question-and-answer session will follow. The teleconference can be accessed by calling (201) 689-8470. The webcast can be monitored on the Company’s website at www.investor.exone.com/.
A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available from 1:00 p.m. ET on the day of the teleconference through Monday, August 29, 2016. To listen to a replay of the call, dial (858) 384-5517 and enter the conference ID number 13644062, or access the webcast replay via the Company’s website, where a transcript will also be posted once available.
ExOne is a global provider of 3D printing machines and 3D printed and other products, materials and services to industrial customers. ExOne’s business primarily consists of manufacturing and selling 3D printing machines and printing products to specification for its customers using its in-house 3D printing machines. ExOne’s machines serve direct and indirect applications. Direct printing produces a component; indirect printing makes a tool to produce a component. ExOne offers pre-production collaboration and print products for customers through its network of PSCs. ExOne also supplies the associated materials, including consumables and replacement parts, and other services, including training and technical support that is necessary for purchasers of its 3D printing machines to print products.
Safe Harbor Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties which change over time and are typically identified by words or phrases such as “trend,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “pipeline,” “believe,” “comfortable,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “current,” “intention,” “estimate,” “position,” “assume,” “outlook,” “continue,” “remain,” “maintain,” “sustain,” “seek,” “achieve,” as well as similar expressions, or future conditional verbs such as “will,” “would,” “should,” “could” and “may.” Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning future revenue and earnings, involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from the results expressed or implied by such statements and from historical performance, which include: timing and length of sales of three dimensional (“3D”) printing machines; risks related to global operations including effects of foreign currency and risks related to the situation in the Ukraine; our ability to qualify more industrial materials in which we can print; the availability of skilled personnel; the impact of increases in operating expenses and expenses relating to proposed investments and alliances; our strategy, including the expansion and growth of our operations; the impact of loss of key management; our plans regarding increased international operations in additional international locations; sufficiency of funds for required capital expenditures, working capital, and debt service; the adequacy of sources of liquidity; expectations regarding demand for our industrial products, operating revenues, operating and maintenance expenses, insurance expenses and deductibles, interest expenses, debt levels, and other matters with regard to outlook; demand for aerospace, automotive, heavy equipment, energy/oil/gas and other industrial products; individual customer contractual requirements; the scope, nature or impact of alliances and strategic investments and our ability to integrate strategic investments; liabilities under laws and regulations protecting the environment; the impact of governmental laws and regulations; operating hazards, war, terrorism and cancellation or unavailability of insurance coverage; the effect of litigation and contingencies; the impact of disruption of our manufacturing facilities or PSCs; the adequacy of our protection of our intellectual property; material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting; the impact of customer specific terms in machine sale agreements on the period in which we recognize revenue; the impact of market conditions and other factors on the carrying value of long-lived assets;andour ability to continue as a going concernand other factors disclosed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because they are forward-looking, these statements should be evaluated in light of important risk factors and uncertainties.
When 36-year-old Rajesh Ojha, a mechanic, working in industrial plants of Kutchh, lost four fingers of his left hand in August 2015, it was a loss of more than just a means of livelihood. Though prosthetic science has advanced, advancement for partial amputees like Ojha have been few. Rajesh Ojha with Dr Mukesh Joshi at Kutchh’s Jaya Rehabilitation Centre and Research Institute where he was fitted with the prosthetic