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How 3D Printing Is Disrupting The $439 Billion Semiconductor Industry?

How 3D Printing Is Disrupting The $439 Billion Semiconductor Industry?

Is 3D printing a solution to enhance supply chain resilience for such a core component of the modern tech world?


Conventional semiconductor manufacturing processes limit designers in terms of interconnect architecture, planarity, and substrate shape. In contrast, 3D printed circuit boards are not limited by subtractive manufacturing limitations, saving semiconductor companies a lot of time, effort, and money, and providing designers with increased freedom to design circuit boards with sophisticated architecture and customised designs as required.

Working with a system that is designed for 3D printing circuit boards is an excellent way to complement an existing semiconductor manufacturing process for low-volume, high-complexity boards. The layer-by-layer printing process allows low-volume manufacturing runs of boards with the desired level of complexity, including non-planar circuit boards and high-value boards with very complex shapes.

Why 3D Print Components?

Wafer table thermal management

Better thermal management of critical semiconductor equipment components, such as wafer tables, can improve semiconductor equipment accuracy by 1–2 nm and simultaneously improve speed and throughput. An increased machine speed and uptime leads to more wafers processed and higher overall lifecycle value.

During lithography, keeping temperatures within milliKelvin (mK) ranges is critical as any system disturbance has an impact. Through design for additive manufacturing (DfAM), it’s possible to optimise internal cooling channels and surface patterns, thus dramatically improving surface temperatures and thermal gradients while reducing time constants. A large semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer using AM to produce their wafer tables realised an 83% decrease in ΔT (13.8 to 2.3 mK), and a 5-time reduction in time to wafer stabilisation.

Another benefit of using AM to produce wafer tables is structural optimisation and tables with reduced part counts and assemblies. Producing parts using traditional technologies relies on brazing to join parts together, which is a lengthy, low-yield process with a 50% rejection rate. Replacing multipart assemblies with monolithic additively manufactured parts increases reliability, improves manufacturing yield and reduces labor costs.

Semiconductor wafer table thermal management - 3D Systems

Semiconductor wafer table thermal management – 3D Systems

Manifold fluid flow optimisation 

Using traditional manufacturing processes to produce complex fluid manifolds results in large, heavy parts that have non-optimal fluid flow due to abrupt transitions between components, and channels with sharp angles that lead to disturbance, pressure drops, stagnant zones and leakage.

When AM is employed to produce these same manifolds, engineers can optimise their designs to reduce pressure drop, mechanical disturbances and vibration. A 90% reduction in flow-induced disturbance forces reduces system vibration and realises a 1–2 nm accuracy improvement.

Structural optimisation and advanced flexures

AM gives designers the flexibility to optimise the structural topology of your part (i.e. lightweighting) with a suite of high-strength metal alloys. These designs can more precisely meet the performance requirements of semiconductor capital equipment, improve the strength-to-weight ratio and deliver a faster time to market. Lightweighting semiconductor components and advanced motion mechanisms reduces inertia and improves lithography and wafer processing machine speed and uptime, leading to more wafers processed. In one example, a semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer was able to employ AM to achieve greater than 50% weight reduction in flexures, 23% higher resonant frequency and reduced system vibration.

A likely scenario is that AM will significantly enable newer machines that are either shipping today or will be shipping in the next 1-2 years. With this runway, there is ample time for component and system level redesigns, which will increase productivity and quality. Additionally, the manufacturers will still have enough control over those systems to rigorously test and prove performance gains. 

However, while opportunities are indeed emerging, it’s not necessarily a new market for additive nor 3D Systems. At the 3D printing pioneer’s Leuven office in Belgium, major semiconductor equipment manufacturers are said to have been leveraging its direct metal printing for well over a decade. What began as a “secret metal printer” used to print parts as a service has matured to what Scott Green, Principal Solutions Leader at 3D Systems described as “a couple of hundred” successful production projects.

“There’s maybe ten areas in semiconductor capital equipment where we’re contributing regularly,” says Green, citing opportunities in lithography, wafer handling and metrology. Green also pointed to examples of recent large-format EUV (Extreme ultraviolet lithography) machines which can contain well over 100,000 parts.

“The needs and challenges of the semiconductor fabrication industry today are directly aligned with what a direct metal solution offers,” Green tells TCT magazine. “They have challenges where, in order to really push the limits of physics, you’ve got to totally eliminate uncertainty and noise inside of a system and really optimise all the parts of handling, cooling, fluid distribution, light collimation. It’s a very complex machine.”

The design freedoms and part consolidation afforded by additive could offer a solution for parts like heat exchangers, gas manifolds and nozzles. Instead of having tens of components vibrating against each other in an assembly, you could potentially reduce the number of moving parts and links in your supply chain down to one.

VELO3D is working in collaboration with Lam Research Corp to develop new 3D printing materials and applications for the semiconductor space. (Image credit: VELO3D)

VELO3D is working in collaboration with Lam Research Corp to develop new 3D printing materials and applications for the semiconductor space. (Image credit: VELO3D)

The Challenges of AM Adoption Moving Forward

3D printing electronic components is not without its hangups, however. In an interview with TCT Magazine, VELO3D CEO Benny Buller explains that AM is best used for replacing existing parts—not redesigning a system altogether

“When you are doing legacy parts that you are already producing in one way and just want an identical replacement by additive, the barrier for qualification is much lower,” he said. “But when you start having to redesign the system or the assembly so that you can manufacture, well that’s not fine, because now you’re driving yourself into a lot of risk.”

Buller also notes that AM struggles to deliver the cleanliness and surface control one would find in the cleanroom of a traditional fab. At each layer of the semiconductor fabrication process, wafers are expected to be free of particles that are nanometers in size. This attention-to-detail cannot be replicated in an at-home or in-office 3D-printing environment.

When dealing with the precise chemistries, gases and temperatures expected by the semiconductor industry, those risks simply cannot be afforded. Those same complexities, however, Buller believes suit the capabilities of additive well.

“These are the classical problems additive manufacturing is really good at,” Buller explains. “Control of heat, control of flow, whether it’s flow in gases, form of chemicals, whether it’s forming liquid flow, these are the places where additive manufacturing is really powerful.”

One crucial area where AM does present a challenge, however, is cleanliness, a field Buller is familiar with having spent the early years of his career on the inspection side of the semiconductor space.

“Additive manufacturing, compared to some other manufacturing technologies, has struggled delivering this level of surface cleanliness and this level of surface control,” Buller says of the intense cleanliness levels required at each layer on the semiconductor fabrication process. “When we are doing gas turbines or jet engines, they also care about surface finish but we are talking literally orders of magnitude difference … [The semiconductor industry] cares about particles that are two nanometers in size. It’s a completely different level of cleanliness that they have to deal with.”

Current opportunities for AM lie primarily in semiconductor capital equipment. It’s “the ultimate high volume manufacturing technology” according to Buller, with billions of parts produced every month, but per a recent report in the Harvard Business Review, funding and building out a new semiconductor fab can take at least five years. AM could offer a solution.

“Additive manufacturing has a lot of value to this industry, both in the ability to make better processes and to make equipment that is capable of more uniform, more controllable processes, new ways to make things that were not possible before,” Buller says. “It allows for a more agile supply chain and it helps with shorter lead times.”

There are however also specific opportunities in semiconductor devices themselves as Valentin Storz, General Manager of EMEA at Nano Dimension told TCT. Nano Dimension, a manufacturer of additive electronics systems, known for its DragonFly LDM technology which simultaneously deposits a dielectric polymer and nano-silver for circuitry, is said to operate between the worlds of PCB and semiconductor integrated circuits.

Storz says: “The whole story about IoT, Industry 4.0; everything will have an IP address and communicate. That means every part will become at some place connected and needs some circuitry, some antenna in it and with parts getting smaller and having new form factors, that’s a place for us.”

New opportunities, Storz offers, are those in 3D stacking of chips on top of each other or heterogeneous integration where different components such as circuitry, RF components, optics and potentially even cooling channels are integrated into one package.

Throughout these conversations, Moore’s Law, the notion that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles about every two years, was a common thread. While the trend appears to be flattening in the semiconductor space, innovation continues apace as manufacturers strive to add more complexity to smaller chips and demand for new devices flourishes. It’s here, looking at that five-year roadmap towards next-generation semiconductor fabrication, better geometries and more uniform processes, where AM could find its sweet spot.

“Additive manufacturing allows [manufacturers] to innovate in directions that they couldn’t innovate before,” Buller concludes. “The moment this is demonstrated, that you can get to the cleanliness and you can get to the manufacturing quality that is required to support that, this will be a floodgate.”

3D Systems Introduces Next Generation ‘High Speed Fusion’ 3D Printing System For Aerospace And Automotive Market Applications

3D Systems Introduces Next Generation ‘High Speed Fusion’ 3D Printing System For Aerospace And Automotive Market Applications

3D Systems has introduced a novel High Speed Fusion industrial 3D printer platform and material portfolio. Developed in a collaboration with Jabil Inc., this unique HSF  family of products, including the Roadrunner 3D printer, is expected to provide the best economics of any high throughput industrial fused-filament offering in the market today. Through the use of advanced electric motion control, this unique system operates at speeds and precision levels well beyond current state-of-the-art production platforms.

With temperature capability and available build areas greater than those of competing systems, combined with an outstanding materials portfolio, the Roadrunner system is designed to address the most demanding aerospace and advanced automotive applications. The result is not only unique application solutions but compelling manufacturing economics driven by the size, speed, and precision of this new technology platform.

“By introducing our High Speed Fusion filament printer, 3D Systems will build on the organisational focus that we adopted in 2020, and expand our presence in growing markets that demand high reliability products such as aerospace and automotive,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, 3D Systems.

“Our investments in this solution, and collaboration with Jabil, will allow our customers to increase productivity and performance by using additive manufacturing with a hardware, software, and materials platform that is uniquely designed for the rigors and requirements of an industrial setting. The value proposition, which we believe is compelling, will open new markets for our company that are estimated to be over $400 million, with the promise of new markets, beyond these current opportunities, as the economics of this new technology platform are fully demonstrated.”

Existing industrial fused filament printers have often been constrained by high costs of production and low throughput. In recognising these constraints, Jabil and 3D Systems application and industry experts are applying their combined knowledge to bring to market a robust solution that meets the day-to-day requirements of the most demanding industries. Specific applications include:

  • Direct Printing: aerospace interiors and ducting, drone components, automotive under dash and under hood, and other general industrial applications.
  • Tooling & Fixtures: manufacturing aids, automation and robotics tooling, lift assist tooling, as well as moulds and sacrificial tools.
  • Prototyping Parts: automotive, aerospace, medical, heavy equipment, and general industry support.

3D Systems estimates the current marketplace for these types of industrial solutions is greater than $400 million and further expects this revolutionary solution to open up new markets by filling a large unmet need of balancing low cost and high throughput. The result is that 3D Systems’ High Speed Fusion industrial printer, Roadrunner, is made for manufacturing and solves key limitations of competitive offerings by providing:

  • Highest deposition rates combined with the best dimensional precision of any standard industrial class of fused filament platform.
  • Lowest landed part cost without sacrificing part quality.
  • Capability to process high-performance, high-temp materials, like ULTEM and PA CF with a broad range of general-purpose filaments like ABS and PETg ESD.

“We are proud of the progress the Jabil and 3D Systems teams have made and the ability of this solution to overcome the historical system and sub-system level limitations of current market offerings,” said John Dulchinos, vice president, 3D printing and digital manufacturing, Jabil. “Jabil understands the needs of a large-scale manufacturing environment and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with 3D Systems to make this new system available to the marketplace while also using it within our own factories.”

Application engineering and materials development on the new platform has been underway for more than a year and will continue during 2021, with shipments of the Roadrunner system to begin in 2022.


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3D Systems’ Metal AM Solutions Selected By Raytheon Technologies And CCDC Army Research Laboratory For Novel Thermal Application

3D Systems’ Metal AM Solutions Selected By Raytheon Technologies And CCDC Army Research Laboratory For Novel Thermal Application

3D Systems has been selected by Raytheon Technologies and the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as part of a research project titled “Research for Virtual Design and Qualification Process for Additively Manufactured Parts Optimised for Multi-Laser Machines” awarded through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences’ (NCMS) Advanced Manufacturing, Materials, and Processes (AMMP) program.

Working in conjunction with Raytheon Technologies, the Penn State Applied Research Lab, Johns Hopkins University, and Identify3D, the goal is to optimise a component relative to an Army modernisation product to maximise cooling and improve overall system performance. Using additive manufacturing (AM) to address this need is a novel approach to the project that covers the entire part lifecycle including determining performance requirements, topologically optimising the design, manufacturing the part with attention to process monitoring for quality control, component performance validation, and data security.

Dr. Brandon McWilliams, deputy program manager at the CCDC ARL Weapons and Materials Directorate states, “The novel integration and concurrent design of structures, materials, and processes to create topologically optimised heat exchangers will enable disruptive advancements in munitions technology in support of multiple Army Modernisation Priorities.”

The size and complexity of this specific application require a large frame AM system. 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) designed a bespoke solution built on the company’s DMP Factory 500 solution for its best in class build volume (up to 500 x 500 x 500 mm) and its ability to produce parts spanning the entire build area without the need for stitching. The AIG has architected a custom configuration of the DMP Factory 500 that includes multiple modules to meet the unique requirements of this application. This advanced metal production system recently installed and commissioned at Penn State’s Center for Innovative Material Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) in December 2020, will be powered by the company’s 3DXpert additive manufacturing software and LaserForm materials. This particular printer will be upgraded with some of the innovative technologies 3D Systems is working on for its 9-laser, 1m x 1m x 600mm metal 3D printer including coaxial process monitoring and a high contrast single-lens reflex (SLR) camera within the build chamber that delivers a comprehensive view of the build insitu. By using the same optical train included in the even larger frame, 9-laser system, the development activity on the DMP Factory 500 will be directly transferrable to the larger system. 3D Systems’ AIG application experts will continue to provide support throughout the project, including design guidance and training.

“Our work with the Army Research Laboratory is taking 3D Systems’ technology in new directions,” said Chuck Hull, co-founder and chief technology officer, 3D Systems. “We’re able to combine our metal 3D printing innovation with unique advancements in process modeling and monitoring, data security, and topology optimisation to deliver an unparalleled solution. ARL is strengthening its position as a leader in technology innovation to improve the capabilities of the warfighter and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them.”

In addition to the thermal application, this team will also develop and evaluate new technology for process modeling and defect prediction, process monitoring and defect detection, topology optimisation, and cyber-physical security.

“The migration to larger build envelopes significantly expands the domain of Department of Defense applications addressable by additive manufacturing, yet it brings new challenges for process monitoring and quality control,” said Ted Reutzel, associate research professor, Penn State’s Applied Research Lab, and director, Penn State’s CIMP-3D. “The installation of this system at our Center will enable our team to leverage prior developments—funded by the US 3D Systems Press Release Page 3 Navy, US Air Force, America Makes, and others—to help meet these challenges and rapidly integrate advanced flaw detection technologies.”

“The team is establishing a singular fluid architecture that encompasses design optimisation, sensing, machine learning, security, testing, and production,” said Lisa Strama, president and CEO of NCMS, a cross-industry technology development consortium. “This will result in a prototype-based upon a holistic, machine agnostic, interconnected workflow. Leveraging the NCMS’ AMMP program and our trusted collaborative model, this project fully showcases the advancements made possible and efficiencies gained when bringing together OEMs, nontraditional defense contractors, and academia to address the full life-cycle of Army relevant components.”

“Identify3D is proud to be part of this program by providing end-to-end protection of the core manufacturing process from build file generation to DMP Factory 500 production and sensor data generation,” said Chris Adkins, chief scientist, Identify3D. “In addition to the DMP Factory 500 integration, Identify3D is developing an architecture to securely collect sensor data in the inspection and defection detection workflow as well as secure the design and defect prediction process to ultimately optimise the full digital workflow.”


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AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

Making the most of additive manufacturing (AM) is not only about installing the technology. As with anything, the deeper the knowledge of the process, the more one can get out of it and the more applications can be developed. AM experts and application engineers are thus in a unique position, from which they can innovate and solve many challenges associated with traditional manufacturing.

Perhaps no area illustrates this dynamic better than fluid flow applications, which exist across many industries that are driving adoption of AM: from automotive and motorsports, to aerospace, energy and beyond. For years, our knowledge of fluid dynamics has gone beyond what we’ve been able to achieve using conventional manufacturing processes. Now, additive manufacturing is changing this reality, enabling engineers to produce optimised designs that would have previously been impossible to make.

Thanks to AM, it is now possible to create fluid flow systems that are superior in terms of performance, efficiency and reliability. In a new, free to download eBook, 3D Systems explores applications of its AM technologies for fluid flow systems, highlighting real and extensive benefits in terms of everything from performance to weight reduction.

Bed of 3D printed fuel nozzle

Untethering design

Many of the benefits of additive manufacturing for fluid flow applications are related to design. Compared to subtractive manufacturing, AM offers an exceptional level of design freedom, allowing for the creation of parts with complex internal geometries and features. In short, this means that we can now conceive of new and better designs for fluid flow applications.

CERN, the Switzerland-based European organisation that operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider (and the world’s largest machine), partnered with 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) to redesign and manufacture titanium cool-bars for LHC experiments. AM enabled the partners to overcome several challenges associated with the parts, which are used to cool the detection area to -40 deg C to preserve particle reactions for study.

CERN and 3D Systems designed 3D printed cool-bars for the LHCb assembly

Chief among the challenges was space: the cool-bars had to fit into a limited space while still dissipating enough heat. They had to achieve temperature uniformity over the length of a photo-detection strip, which measures 140 meters in length and less than 2 mm in width. All while meeting flatness specifications for detector efficiency and resolution.

Based on these requirements, the partners conceived of the perfect part design. “This design was so beautiful, but it was not producible in the usual ways,” explained Antonio Pellegrino, a leader on the LHCb SciFi Tracker project at CERN.

Using Direct Metal Printing (DMP), 3D Systems’ AIG and CERN were able to manufacture more than 300 units of the titanium cool-bars, each of which met the necessary specifications, including 0.25 mm wall thicknesses (to improve heat dissipation), leak tightness and flatness with a precision of 50 microns. The full case study can be found here.


Flowing across industry segments

A lamella heat exchanger design

The benefits of AM in fluid flow systems extend well beyond CERN, from heat exchangers, to integrated cooling, to propulsion systems and fuel injectors, to fluid manifolds and all the way to microfluidics. AM is enabling improved efficiency for all these fluid flow applications, in more ways than one.

On the one hand, additive manufacturing can enable the production of more lightweight structures thanks to optimised geometries. This ability is especially crucial in applications like propulsion systems and fuel injectors, where weight is a critical factor and can drive up operating costs.

In designing a liquid rocket engine injector, for example, the German Space Center (DLR), in cooperation with the 3D Systems Customer Innovation Center, was able to consolidate 30 components into a single part, which resulted in a final weight reduction of 10 percent. On top of that, the consolidated design eliminated points of failure that existed in the original system, improving overall system performance. The 3D printed fuel injector also integrated certain features, like pressure and temperature sensor channels, which resulted in superior cooling and combustion performance. These performance-enhancing features were enabled by 3D Systems’ DMP technology.

A recent test fire by the DLR

“Based on the success of space-related initiatives involving DMP, we thought that 3D Systems was perfectly suited for providing the design-for-manufacturing aspects of the injector head, with an eye on new possibilities for sensor integration and fuel and coolant distribution,” explained Markus Kuhn, who is managing the injector head project at DLR.


A simply better flow

AM can also improve the efficiency of fluid flow applications by directly improving on fluid dynamics. Most conventional manufacturing processes favor designs with sharp corners, which can be problematic, as fluid moving through internal channels can become trapped in stagnant zones. This, in turn, leads to pressure loss and reduces efficiency. Design for AM can eliminate these troublesome design features and create internal channels that are optimised for fluid dynamics. These benefits can be seen most clearly in fluid manifolds in semiconductor machinery and microfluidic devices used in research labs.

Similarly, it is possible to design fluid flow systems with intentional turbulence to achieve peak cooling. In heat exchangers, for instance, built-in turbulence can increase thermal transfer, which can be useful in refrigeration appliances, energy generation and many other applications. Overall, AM enables engineers and fluid flow specialists to base designs off of fluid dynamics rather than on manufacturing limitations.

A 3D printed hydraulic manifold with optimised flow

To sum it up, additive manufacturing is changing the state of fluid flow applications for the better, offering improved manufacturability through part consolidation, superior efficiency through weight reduction and mixing efficiency, and better space utilisation. This is true in virtually all fluid dynamics areas, whether you are 3D printing metal cool-bars for the LHC, a fuel injector, or a plastic microfluidic device with tiny channels.

Still, the learning curve can be fairly steep, as it encompasses not only a new manufacturing process but also a whole new design mindset. Fortunately, the experts are on hand to ease the adoption of AM. Partners like 3D Systems can help end users to make the most out of 3D printing for fluid flow applications, through consulting, as well as through training and manufacturing services. The company says: “We help to discover where and how AM fits within an existing architecture, and advise on how to simplify the onboarding process.”

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3D Systems And GF Machining Solutions Expand Partnership

3D Systems And GF Machining Solutions Expand Partnership

3D Systems and GF Machining Solutions, a division of Georg Fischer AG , have expanded their partnership in the Greater China region that will enable customers to enhance their metal parts production and redefine their manufacturing environments. By combining the strength of 3D Systems’ innovation and expertise in additive manufacturing with GF Machining Solutions’ leadership in precision machining and industrial automation, manufacturers will now be able to more efficiently produce complex metal parts within tight tolerances, and reduce total cost of operation.

As of this month, manufacturers in China and Taiwan will be able to order 3D Systems’ and GF Machining Solutions’’ co-branded scalable metal additive manufacturing solutions—DMP Factory 500, DMP Factory 350 and DMP Flex 350—exclusively through GF Machining Solutions. The companies’ co-branded solutions, which integrate traditional and additive manufacturing technologies, are a new concept in scalable, digital factory automation that includes software for digital production workflows, including enhanced part design, 3D printers, materials, electrical discharge machining (EDM), milling equipment, advanced post-processing technologies, and services. These new design and manufacturing options can lead directly into improved existing products, innovative new designs, new business models, and new markets.

Customers in the region will also have access to GF Machining Solutions’ Customer Innovation Centre (CIC) in Shanghai. Engaging with the CIC provides customers with the ability to consult and collaborate with experts from 3D Systems and GF Machining Solutions to develop applications with metal 3D printing solutions which include materials, services, hardware and software. As part of this process, manufacturers will have the ability to benchmark their parts and products to ensure quality control and validate final parts against specifications—ultimately saving them time, money, and providing faster time to market.

3D Systems and GF Machining Solutions have a presence in more than 50 countries, which includes production facilities, research and development centres, and broad sales and service networks encompassing internal teams as well as channel partners.



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Global 3D Scanning Market Outlook

Global 3D Scanning Market Outlook

The global 3D scanning market was valued at US$1.007 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach US$3.26 billion by the end of 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2 percent from 2019 to 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence.

3D scanning technology has witnessed considerable adoption from commercial applications. Furthermore, the flexibility of the technology to be customised to meet professional needs in various industries has made it profoundly popular across major end-user industries. For instance, in the medical sector, 3D scanners are used to model body parts in three-dimensions, which is used to create prosthetics. It can also be used to facilitate wound healing and care and generate body implants.

In the current scenario, the use of 3D scanners provides dimensional quality control in the manufacturing and production of, both, small and large, critically essential, components. Whether the usage is on-site or at the point of production, it becomes vital to deliver ultra-precise, ultra-accurate, and ultra-resolution result.

However, price is one of the major factors restraining the adoption of 3D scanning solutions as the technology is still in the nascent stage in terms of global and commercial adoption.

In terms of product segment, medium rage 3D scanning is expected to hold a major market share. Phase shift 3D scanners, which capture millions of points by rotating 360 degrees while spinning a mirror that redirects the laser outward toward the object or areas to be 3D scanned, are ideal for medium range scan needs, such as large pumps, automobiles, and industrial equipment. Phase shift scanners are better suited for scanning objects with maximum distance up to 300m or less.

Meanwhile, medium-range terrestrial laser scanners, which measure point-to-point distances in spaces of 2-150m, are increasingly becoming critical for large-scale manufacturing and assembly operations’ applications, such as aircraft and ship assembly.

From a regional market perspective, the United States seen to be one of the most significant and momentous 3D scanning markets across the world, driven by the healthcare, aerospace and defence, architecture and engineering applications.

3D Scanning Landscape Remains Competitive

The 3D scanning market is fragmented. Overall, the competitive rivalry amongst existing competitors remains high. Moving forward, the new product innovation strategy of large and small companies will continue to propel the market. Some of the key players in the market are 3D Systems Inc. and Hexagon AB, and recent developments include:

  • April 2019: Creaform launched the third-generation scanning solution of its Go!SCAN: the Go!Scan SPARK, which is a portable 3D scanner designed for product development professionals.
  • February 2019: 3D Systems released a new version of Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS. With improved workflow, user interface and compatibility to various scanning device and export-import formats.
  • June 2018: Hexagon launched Leica RTC360, a laser scanner equipped with edge computing technology to enable fast and highly accurate creation of 3D models in the field. According to the company, it is the world’s first 3D laser scanner with automatic in-field pre-registration.


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3D Systems Helps Advance High-Performance Automotive Sector

3D Systems Helps Advance High-Performance Automotive Sector

Rodin Cars and Stewart-Haas Racing have been using 3D Systems’ 3D printing solutions to dramatically improve speed and performance in their cars. With the help of 3D Systems’ additive manufacturing solutions, Rodin Cars and Stewart-Haas Racing can rapidly create durable parts, including design and prototyping with faster iteration, and production, enabling quicker time to implementation, and lower total cost of operation.

Rodin Cars uses 3D Systems’ direct metal printing (DMP), selective laser sintering (SLS) and stereolithography (SLA) technologies to design, develop and build maximum-performance open-wheel cars for racetracks. It uses the sPro 230 for SLS production parts, the ProX 800 for SLA tooling for carbon fibre forms with 3D Systems’ Accura Bluestone material, and the ProX DMP 320 with 3DXpert for titanium production parts of exhaust collectors and mufflers, uprights and hubs, as well as a wide range of component mount brackets. As a result, Rodin Cars can quickly manufacture full-size prototypes as well as production components without the need for tooling. It is also able to advance complex design concepts and produce lighter weight metal parts not manufacturable in any other way.

Stewart-Haas Racing uses powerful 3D scanning with 3D Systems’ Geomagic Wrap reverse engineering software and the ProX 800 printer to produce aerodynamic components for race car component development and wind tunnel testing. For a NASCAR team, perfecting automotive components designed to increase speed and performance is a vital ingredient for success. Geomagic Wrap is used to collect scan data from the car components, process it, and create .stl files for shape deviation comparison. 3D Systems’ 3D Sprint software is used to prepare and optimise the CAD data and manage the additive manufacturing process on the ProX 800. Using 3D Systems’ Accura 25 material, Stewart-Haas Racing’s engineers are able to rapidly print large parts with a smooth surface finish and precise dimensional accuracy.


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3D Systems Introduces New Metal And Dental 3D Printers

3D Systems Introduces New Metal And Dental 3D Printers

South Carolina, US: 3D Systems, a company committed to dental 3D printing, has launched two new 3D printers: one for dental applications and another for 3D printing metal. The company has deep expertise in these areas and the new printers testify to this.

An entry-level 3D printer, DMP Flex 100 is used for application development, research and development and production. Compared to the previous entry-level ProX DMP 100, the new version offers double the throughput.

The DMP Flex 100 also produces precision metal parts with thin walls, along with fine, complex details with a surface finish as fine as Ra 5 μm. With high levels of accuracy and repeatability, the printer is also designed for intricate and small components with a building volume of 100 x 100 x 80 mm.

With the ability to print with titanium and several other alloys, 3D systems is offering the LaserForm CoCr (B) and LaserForm 17-4PH (B)—which the company has developed extensive print databases for. Development for other materials to be used with this new printer is also in progress. Included with the DMP Flex 100 is also the software solution, 3DXpert by 3D Systems.

For the dental market, the company’s new DMP Dental 100 is an entry-level metal dental 3D printer. Designed for maximum price-performance ratio, it can 3D print up to 90 crown copings in fewer than four hours within a single print run—besides requiring only 25 minutes for heat treatment.

It produces high surface quality which only needs minimal post-processing, with a typical print accuracy of 50 microns—making for highly fitting crown copings, bridges and supra-structures and partial frames. This printer also comes with the LaserForm CoCr (C) materials and a software solution that helps with the manufacture of fixed and removable dental prostheses.

The DMP Dental 100 was developed with the aim of helping dental labs to reach efficient turnaround times, with higher flexibility to respond to customer needs. Amidst the increasing competitiveness in the dental 3D printing industry, such traits are sough-after among dental professionals—including accuracy and overall quality.

“3D Systems is demonstrating its commitment to bringing industrial-grade metal additive manufacturing to a wider customer base with the launch of the DMP Flex 100 and DMP Dental 100 metal 3D printers,” said Kevin McAlea, executive vice president metals and healthcare at 3D Systems.

Mr McAlea added: “Both solutions feature levels of throughput, print quality, ease of use and material choice that put them in a class by themselves. We believe these 3D printing solutions will further expand the adoption of metal additive manufacturing by designers and engineers, researchers, manufacturers and dental professionals.”

The two new 3D printing systems are currently available.

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