The votes are in and the winners of the 2020 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) were announced in a digital ceremony with products across 12 categories, including Additive Manufacturing.
Critical to LEAP’s success is the involvement of the engineering community. No one at WTWH Media selected the winners. Instead, our editorial team did the arduous work of assembling a top-notch independent judging panel, comprised of a cross-section of OEM design engineers and academics — 14 professionals in total. This judging team was solely responsible for the final results.
In the category of Additive manufacturing, the Bronze went to:
MakerBot, for its METHOD X 3D Printer.
Noted the company about the printer’s development: rapid prototyping is essential for testing new concepts, verifying designs, and meeting increasingly aggressive time-to-market goals. However, there is a gap between desktop and industrial 3D printing solutions on the market—both in technical capability and in accessibility. Large manufacturers have been using some form of in-house 3D printing successfully for years. Smaller machine shops have been more hesitant to adopt in-house 3D printing solutions without first understanding the cost and benefits.
METHOD brings affordable and reliable industrial-grade 3D printing in-house and provides engineers with direct access, enabling them to review, test and approve designs far earlier and more frequently in the production process. METHOD offers both reliability and accessibility, helping to reduce the costs and barriers of training technicians. By combining the inherent benefits of desktop solutions, such as ease-of-use and affordability, with industrial-level capabilities, 3D printing is now more accessible to a wider user group.
The Silver went to HP, for its 3D High Reusability Polypropylene (PP) material.
The material is durable and chemically resistant, enabled by BASF. The material was created specifically for HPs production-grade additive manufacturing systems, particularly the 5200 Series 3D printer. The printer and material enable companies across automotive, industrial, consumer goods, medical, and manufacturing, to design and produce 3D printed parts faster, more cost-effectively, more sustainably, and at higher volumes.
Polypropylene has historically been a highly desirable material in industrial manufacturing due to its low cost, colorability, chemical resistance and UV stability, with nearly unlimited use in consumer appliances and the automotive market, and without associated moisture issues that may occur with other materials.
This material can be used for prototyping and production of final parts. It is a sustainable solution, reducing waste by enabling up to 100% surplus powder reusability, as well as breakthrough economics and performance.
And the Gold went to 3DEO for its Intelligent Layering process.
Intelligent Layering is a metal additive manufacturing process that enables serial high-volume part production. The process begins by spreading a thin layer of metal powder onto a build tray, and then uses a wide spray system (non-inkjet) to apply binder over the entire layer. A micro end mill is then used to cut the perimeter of the part and any internal features on that layer. From then on, the process is a layer-by-layer CNC operation until a precision green part is created. The process is robust and highly repeatable. The green part is then sintered in a furnace to achieve exceptional material properties, including an as-printed surface finish of ~100 Ra microinch, tight tolerances of +/- 0.002-4 in., and density of 99.5% or greater. Intelligent Layering unlocks the potential for high volume metal AM with a highly repeatable process that produces low-cost metal parts.
The judges commented: “One of the most challenging parts of metal AM is the post processing required. To integrate the CNC milling into the process. Should really help 3D Metal parts move from prototype to production.” Congratulations!
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