Materialise Announces Innovations that Empower the Choice for Sustainability
Manufacturing Breakthrough Creates Path towards Eliminating Waste in the 3D Printing Process
Leuven, Belgium - November 18, 2020. Materialise NV (Nasdaq: MTLS), a leading company in 3D technology solutions in the industrial and medical markets, announces innovations that will help companies scale their 3D printing operations and empower the choice for sustainability.
Today’s announcements include:
Bluesint PA12, a breakthrough technology that creates a path towards eliminating waste in the 3D printing process;
the Materialise Process Tuner, an online platform to speed up the process tuning that is required for mass-manufacturing 3D printed parts;
Storefront, a cloud-based e-commerce solution to help service bureaus build a 3D Printing webshop;
“The global pandemic creates human suffering and comes with a tremendous economic cost. But in the destruction, we can already find the seeds of renewal”,
says Fried Vancraen, Founder and CEO of Materialise. “At the start of the 4th decade of 3D printing, we are entering a decade of potentially radical innovation and creativity that will replace old and obsolete processes and habits with solutions that better respond to a new reality. I believe this new reality will be more digital, more personalized and more sustainable.”
Creating a path towards eliminating waste
With Laser Sintering, a 3D printing technology associated with rapid prototyping, up to 50% of the powder becomes waste. The potential to recycle used powder is limited and 3D printing with only used powder creates surface problems that make the 3D printed object unsuitable for most applications. Today, Materialise announces Bluesint PA12, an innovative technology that makes it possible to print with up to 100% re-used powder, drastically increasing the resource efficiency of laser sintering.
“With Bluesint PA12 we are able to significantly reduce powder waste”,
says Jurgen Laudus, VP and General Manager of Materialise Manufacturing. “Bluesint PA12 represents a major step towards making 3D printing more sustainable and is an example of how we empower our customers to make a choice for sustainability.”
With Bluesint PA12, powder that would normally be wasted can be given a second life to make new parts. Parts printed with Bluesint PA12 have similar mechanical properties, allowing users to make a choice not only based on technical specifications but also on the environmental impact.
Over the course of 2021, Materialise plans to have several Laser Sintering machines running with Bluesint PA12. In the start-up phase alone, the company aims to reuse more than five tons of material that would normally become waste.
Materialise also announces a beta program for Bluesint PA12 service and invites selected customers with diverse applications and a focus on sustainability to participate in the market validation process for the new technology.
Materialise Process Tuner helps to scale up 3D print production in a more sustainable way
As companies scale their 3D printing processes, they are confronted with increased complexity and greater variability in printed parts. Today, Materialise announces the Materialise Process Tuner, an intuitive online platform that helps manufacturing companies, service bureaus and machine builders speed up the process tuning that is required for mass-manufacturing 3D printed parts. This allows them to reduce the cost and waste associated with printing hundreds of test samples before finding the optimal process parameters.
Scaling up the production of a part into the thousands, or even millions, requires companies to validate the print process, which means dealing with countless parameters that often influence each other. As a result, validating the print process for a single part can take up to 1.000 test samples, requiring dozens of test builds and weeks or even months of work. This complex and time-consuming process of trial and error is not sustainable.
The Materialise Process Tuner makes it possible to drastically reduce the amount of physical test prints required to find the optimal print settings. It builds on three decades of 3D printing experience and allows companies to scale up their 3D printing operations in a more sustainable way through advanced automation, Artificial Intelligence and smart simulations to predict sub-optimal prints.
“When we ask companies what the main obstacles are for scaling up their production, they tell us it’s too expensive, too complex and too time consuming. As a result, some companies think twice before scaling up”,
said Stefaan Motte, VP and General Manager of Materialise Software. “With the Materialise Process Tuner, we allow them to find the optimal print settings without wasting machine and engineering time. In our own 3D printing factories we were able to reduce the cost per optimized parameter set by 50%, which is impressive.”
The Materialise Process Tuner can be accessed via a web-browser as well as through an API, making it the company’s first cloud-native Magics application. Companies can also choose to deploy and run the application on site.
Materialise invites customers who are preparing for serial Additive Manufacturing, as well as 3D printer and material manufacturers that want to speed-up their process tuning, to enter the early adopter program. The Materialise Process Tuner is expected to become available in the first half of 2021.
Storefront – closing the loop between 3D print factories and their customers
Around the world, sales leaders responded quickly to the Coronacrisis by digitally transforming their sales channels, making COVID-19 a catalyst for growth in B2B e-commerce. Materialise runs one of the largest 3D print online stores in the world and builds on 23 years of experience in online 3D print services to help service bureaus build their own 3D printing online store. Storefront, its new cloud-based e-commerce solution, automates the intake and sales process of 3D printing factories and facilitates communication with customers. It is targeted at both internal and external service bureaus that deal with many incoming print orders per day and want to automate a number of these intake processes in an online environment.
Storefront is a full e-commerce and CRM solution in one platform. It supports automatic and manual price calculation and quoting; AM data preparation; order management; and integration with payment and shipment providers. Storefront can be used as a standalone solution, but it also offers out-of-the-box integration with Materialise Streamics and Magics software. This combination creates flexibility for companies that deal with complex environments with multiple print technologies - no matter what combination of printers they have. Materialise Build Processor technology also makes it possible to receive instant feedback from the machines, making it possible to provide real-time updates to customers about the status of their print orders and any possible delays.
Materialise currently runs pilots with Beta-customers and expects to launch Storefront in the second quarter of 2021.
A silver anniversary for Magics 25
In economic uncertain times, companies want to achieve more with less. With the introduction of the 25th edition of Magics, Materialise’s flagship software suite for data and build preparation, the company allows users to do exactly that: achieve more with less clicks.
Experienced Magics users will notice that the Fix Wizard, one of the most popular features in Magics, has been integrated into the tool pages. The Wizard still does what it does best: fixing parts to make them printable. But by integrating it in the tool pages, users can now see all errors at a glance and fix them with a single click.
Another usability feature is the Full Build Simulation for metal printing, part of the Simulation module. With Magics 25, users can simulate multiple parts at once, speeding up the simulation process and allowing them to predict the effect that parts may have on each other. The new edition of Magics also makes it possible to simulate the base plate together with the parts, signaling any deformation of the base plate that may impact the build.
Materialise Think-In Series
The Materialise Think-In Series is a series of five in-depth sessions to expand on today’s announcements and discuss what’s next for the 3D printing industry. For more information about the Materialise Think-In series and to register for the in-depth sessions, please visit www.materialise.com/en/think-in-series.
Materialise incorporates three decades of 3D printing experience into a range of software solutions and 3D printing services, which together form the backbone of the 3D printing industry. Materialise’s open and flexible solutions enable players in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods, to build innovative 3D printing applications that aim to make the world a better and healthier place. Headquartered in Belgium, with branches worldwide, Materialise combines the largest group of software developers in the industry with one of the largest 3D printing facilities in the world.