Formnext, the leading international platform for Additive Manufacturing and industrial 3D Printing, returned in full swing to the halls of the Frankfurt convention center in Germany this November. With challenging economic forecasts headlining the news around the world, manufacturers from a variety of industries came eager to discover agile production solutions to help their businesses survive and thrive in through forecasted challenges – and Desktop Metal’s portfolio of innovations took center stage.
With over 350 parts presented in the Desktop Metal booth, Additive Manufacturing 2.0 solutions for metal, polymer, sand, and wood were on display showcasing the possibilities of 3D printing. Interest in metal 3D printing remained strong as many sectors look for processes to help reduce lead times, costs, and waste. With the most experienced team of metal binder jetting and sintering experts in the world, Team DM presented the broadest range of scalable printing systems and material capabilities.
The entry-level Studio System was running at the show, highlighting the ease of use and office-safe nature of bound metal deposition 3D printing. The two-step process makes getting started with metal 3D printing without loose powder as easy as print and sinter.
One highlight of many discussions was the Shop System, the plug-and-play binder jetting system designed for the easy adoption of metal binder jetting. The world’s best-selling metal binder jet 3D printer, the Shop System is an ideal solution to produce metal products quickly with an outstanding surface finish and resolution at scale. Part of the Team DM family, Aidro showcased hydraulic components with complex internal geometries that also reduce component weight built with Desktop Metal binder jetting. With production rates up to hundreds of green parts per day, the Shop System produces parts up to 10x faster than laser powder bed fusion and many visitors discussed investing as a doorway into the future of metal production. Two stainless steels, 17-4 PH and 316L, as well as Cobalt Chrome and Inconel 625 are qualified for use on the Shop System with additional materials in development.
As the company grows, it was clear to attendees that Desktop Metal offers solutions for industrial production in materials beyond metal. Announced just before the opening of the expo, the Shop System Forust edition is also the world’s first high-speed 3D printer for upcycled wood parts. Based on metal printing platform, the Shop System Forust Edition is modified to safely process unfinished sawdust byproduct from the wood milling industry. By unlocking the power of 3D printing of wood, architects, designers, and manufacturers can produce luxurious custom pieces with a variety of printed grains that combine design and functionality for home décor and lighting, consumer products, architectural design, and automotive applications.
Desktop Metal company ExOne featured the European debut of the S-Max Flex, an all-new robotic sand 3D printing system. The printhead end effector attached to an industrial robot creates sandcasting molds and cores without traditional tooling, saving foundries costs and months of lead time. The easy-to-use system focuses on providing easy, affordable integration into digital casting with a faster payback. Beyond metalcastings, sand binder jetting from ExOne machines then infiltrated with resin for durability offers unique new ways to bring products to market fast, as showcased at the booth with sinks, speakers, and lamps made from 3D printed sand.
Completing the companies showcase of its material capabilities, Digital Light Processing (DLP) machines for the production of polymer parts was highlighted with the Einstein 3D printer for dental and healthcare applications and the Xtreme 8K for industrial production. As the world’s largest production-grade digital light processing (DLP) system, the Xtreme 8K showcased the process and material breakthroughs of Desktop Metal brands ETEC and Adaptive3D. The two-projector top-down design unique to the Xtreme 8K provides an extremely large build area and better material properties without sacrificing surface quality and part accuracy. With the ability to 3D print a range of industrial photopolymers from widely trusted brands, such as Loctite, the proprietary breakthrough DuraChain resins from Adaptive3D stole the show. The all-new category of resilient and durable photopolymers includes Elastic ToughRubber and FreeFoam, and the 3D printed then expanded foam car seat on display was a discussion piece all week.
The impressive display from Desktop Metal’s portfolio made it clear the company is now more than just metal. The cohesive theme presented by all Team DM brands and technologies throughout the week was offering production-capable technologies that deliver the combination of speed, tolerance, surface finish, and material properties to compete with conventional manufacturing methods. The tooling-less solutions presented by Desktop Metal helped spur ideas to help manufacturers drive down the cost and increase innovation to move into the next era of digital production.