With a new president and CEO, 3D Systems used the IMTS Show to announce it is taking its 3D printing businesses in a new direction—focusing on additive manufacturing for production.
To an audience of investors, customers, media, and others, CEO Vyomesh Joshi (VJ) said, “Rapid prototyping was the original application for 3D printing and will continue to be an important part of our business. However, we believe we have the technology and assets today to make 3D production real and provide profitable growth for our company.”
Joshi outlined how 3D Systems’ full digital manufacturing ecosystem enables customers to digitize, design, simulate, manufacture, inspect and manage as they shift towards end-use part production.
In an interesting development, Joshi announced a strategic partnership with PTC, a leading provider of CAD, PLM, and IoT technology. Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s President and CEO, joined Joshi on stage to share how the two companies are working together to integrate 3D Systems’ 3D Sprint SDK into PTC’s flagship Creo CAD platform. The collaboration will provide Creo-users with seamless CAD-to-print functionality as well as a full set of print management tools.
“Partnering with 3D Systems allows our users to take full advantage of the power of 3D printing and work seamlessly from digital design to physical part,” said Heppelmann. “The 3D Sprint SDK integration into Creo is just the beginning of what our two companies can accomplish across the digital manufacturing value-chain.”
Also at the news conference, Joshi announced the official launch of 3DXpert, 3D Systems’ software solution for streamlining and automating pre- and post-production processes for Direct Metal Printing.
3DXpert eliminates the need to work with multiple software packages by covering the full workflow—importing data, optimizing the geometry and lattice creation, calculating the scan-path, arranging the build platform, sending it to the printer and even machining the final part when necessary.
With 3DXpert, you can import and work with any geometry (STL, Surfaces, Solid). Structure optimization tools within the software let you save weight and material with fast creation and editing of micro lattices, based on the Volume Representation (V-Rep) technology. You can also use the software to assign printing to different zones of a part and automatically fuse separately assigned zones into a single scan-path, reducing print time while maintaining part integrity.
As part of the shift to manufacturing production, Joshi brought Chuck Hull, CTO, on stage to discuss the Figure 4, 3D Systems fast, modular stereolithography (SLA) system for the production of plastic parts on the factory floor.
3D Systems claims Figure 4 offers print speeds up to 50-times faster than conventional systems, as well as the ability to integrate with secondary processes such as finishing and coating. It is targeted as a viable and intelligent digital alternative to injection molding.
The company has expanded Figure 4 capabilities to incorporate automatic, in-line 3D inspection of parts for closed-loop manufacturing. Simultaneous to part inspection and measurement, the system also generates a real time, detailed report with go/no-go feedback.
Lastly, new additions to the 3D Systems’ management team include:
–Herbert Koeck, SVP, Go-to-Market, EMEA
–Christopher Morgan, SVP, Go-to-Market, Americas and APAC
–Jim Ruder, SVP, General Manager, Plastics
–Phil Schultz, SVP, On Demand Solutions
–Doug Vaughan, SVP, Marketing and Demand Generation
–Reinhard Winkler, SVP, Supply Chain
3D Systems is working to shift out of its identification with the low-cost desktop 3D printer market for the home, and to identify instead with production manufacturing using additive as the main technology. It has had a number of business segments for additive manufacturing for some time, based on its hardware developments and years past buying sprees. All that’s needed is to bring it all together. 3D Systems was one of the founding companies of 3D printing / additive manufacturing, so it’s nice to see the renewed energy and enthusiasm of the 3D Systems team.