Advances in additive manufacturing in 2018

Published on December 26, 2018 by Michelle J.

Have you kept updated with additive manufacturing in 2018? Have you not followed the 3D printing news in recent months and you want an update? Find the highlights in our recap events, new products, strategic announcements and innovative applications that have punctuated the months of a rich year for the 3D printing industry.

January: CES 2018 to start the year

The year 2018 started on the heels of the traditional CES of Las Vegas. The technology show unveiled a preview of the new 3D printers from KODAK, Nexa3D, Polaroid, AirWolf, Dobot or XYZprinting!

additive manufacturing in 2018

Rocket Lab took off with its 3D printed rocket

In January, the SmarTech Publishing firm unveiled the potential of 3D printing in the dental sector, with a study estimating $ 9.5 billion this market in 2027.

For the rest of the news that should not be missed is; the company Rocket Lab managed to launch a rocket equipped with 3D printed components while the Dutch company CEAD presented an interesting concept of very large format 3D printer for shipbuilding.

February: Are we moving towards an increase in the wages of 3D printing?

On the occasion of the Pyeong Chang Olympics, we introduced the Athletics 3D startup, which uses Zeiss and Zortrax 3D technologies to equip biathlon athletes.

Two new studies were also published revealing on the one hand how the automation of additive manufacturing could represent a market of 11.2 billion dollars by 2027, and on the other hand how the annual wages in the field of the 3D printing is expected to increase by at least 9% in 2018.

March: Hollywood resorts to additive manufacturing

One of the most beautiful 3D creations of the year is attributed to Julia Körner, stylist in charge of the majestic costumes of the film Black Panther, released at the cinema last March. The designer used 3D printing to create unique pieces from laser sintering machines.

In another field, the Chanel brand unveiled  a mascara with a 3D printed brush. Advantages ? Microcavities to absorb the material to provide the right dose of makeup, but also a homogeneous distribution of the material on the eyelashes.

additive manufacturing in 2018

We also learned of the birth of the Run2Rail project, supported by € 2.7 million, to use additive manufacturing to improve the efficiency and ecological footprint of European trains. An initiative devised by the Institute of Railways Research (IRR) of the University of Huddersfield in England.

April: The main sellers of 3D printers are …

A much-anticipated study in April was about the 3D printer sales record of CONTEXT. While the HP manufacturer took the first place in the market for professional machines for the first time, the Taiwanese manufacturer XYZprinting remained the leader on desktop 3D printers for the second year in a row.

In April, manufacturer Ultimaker announced the arrival of its latest generation of 3D printers with the S5. A double extrusion machine that wants to be the best at the moment on the desktop FDM machine market. The other news of the month came from the startup Byflow which opened the first 3D printed restaurant in the city of Wolvega in the Netherlands.

May: 3D metal printing from HP?

May’s highlights included HP’s highly strategic announcement of its arrival in additive metal manufacturing, a buoyant but highly competitive market for the coming years. Since then, HP has unveiled the details of its future process called HP Metal Jet and the first deliveries of machines coming out by 2020!

The 3D printing of a puncture-proof bike tire by the German manufacturer BigRep also demonstrated the potential of the technology in innovative and unexpected applications!

June: Materials for 3D printing in full growth

The month of June was marked by many applications in the medical field, such as these English researchers who managed the feat of reproducing corneas by 3D printing in collaboration with the startup Cellink. An advance that aims to revolutionise the current transplants. We also learned how the company NuVasive uses additive manufacturing to create implants for the spine mimicking the natural properties of the human bone.

A study of the Filaments.Directory site finally shed light on the habits of consumption of filaments for 3D printers, allowing in particular to know more about the most used materials and common uses.

additive manufacturing in 2018

A 3D printed implant by NuVasive

July: Increasing 3D printing expenses

A study by IDC predicted that European purchases of 3D printers, materials, software, services, and so on should reach $ 3.6 billion in 2018 to reach $ 7.4 billion by 2022.

And since good news never comes alone, the Yonsei University Health System in South Korea announced the commercialisation of a their first artificial 3D printed eye after 3 years of research. An innovation that could potentially help up to 60,000 Korean!

In a completely different register, the American giant General Electric filed a patent to combine additive manufacturing with Blockchain technologies to  protect the manufacture of its 3D models.

additive manufacturing in 2018

South Korea progresses on 3D printing of eyes

August: The giant Amazon launches into 3D materials

Summer is also the period chosen by Amazon to officially launch into the 3D printing market. With its range AmazonBasics, the American giant now offers several materials such as ABS, PLA and PETG in several colours and for a price of only $ 19.99 per 1 kg reel. An announcement that has enough to give cold sweat to current manufacturers.

Another GAFA player made a name for themself in August, namely Facebook, by banning the sharing of 3D weapons files from its platform. How? You’ll might ask. By blocking all links to sites known for this practice, not sure it’s enough, but it’s a good start.

September: 3D printing, a green technology?

The acoustophoretic does it speak to you? Researchers at Harvard University were developing a 3D printing technique using acoustic levitation to create shapes from a multitude of materials such as optical resins or liquid metals. Indian students from Hindustan University were designing an ultra-light 3D satellite in a competition organised by NASA.

additive manufacturing in 2018

The mini 3D printed satellite

September was also the month chosen by the Journal Of Industrial Ecology to publish a study on the environmental impact of 3D printing. This offered a global vision of technology by taking into account all the components of additive manufacturing, from the use of raw materials to waste management. Although too rare, this kind of study offers a new look at 3D printing.

October: The largest 3D printer in the world?

The manufacturer Ingersoll Machine Tools and the laboratory ORNL last October presented the WHAM (for Wide and High Additive Manufacturing) and its gigantic print volume of 7 x 3 x 14 meters. Based on filament extrusion technology, WHAM joins the closed club of the world’s largest 3D printers.

You were also told about Kupol, a young Canadian startup that was starting to produce innovative bike helmets. These have the particularity of being modular but mostly 3D printed, and more particularly in PA12 from HP 3D printers.

additive manufacturing in 2018

In the wake of Etihad Airways, Lufthansa announced the opening of a first additive manufacturing center dedicated to the production and repair of parts for its aircraft.

November: Formnext, the long-awaited annual show!

At the end of the year, we discovered the future of food with Giusseppe Scionti of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and his project of  vegetable 3D printed steak! With the appearance and texture of real meat, the scientist wants to offer an alternative to industrial breeding. Would you be ready to taste?

November is especially the month expected by additive manufacturing stakeholders with one of the largest exhibitions dedicated to technology. Formnext 2018, which took place in Frankfurt, offered a showcase to more than 500 exhibitors. The 3Dnatives team was there to bring back the 10 innovations that should not be missed.

While the BMW car manufacturer proudly announced that it had reached the milestone of one million 3D printed parts , the Solar Voyager electric vehicle was heading to Antarctica with many 3D printing components on board.

additive manufacturing in 2018

The Solar Voyager took the road to Antarctica

December: a global market estimated at $ 9.3M

The revival of MakerBot? The American pioneer of desktop 3D printers, which was going through a bad patch since the launch of its latest generation of machines, is trying to regain its reputation with the arrival of a new extruder machine, the Method, for a price of $ 6499. A risky bet?

In partnership with the Polymaker materials manufacturer, the Chinese company  SMCC inaugurated a 3D printed bridge over 15 meters long and weighing 5.8 tons. A technical feat that will have required nearly 30 days of continuous printing!

additive manufacturing in 2018

The MakerBot Method

And to end the year in style, SmarTech Publishing published a study a few days ago describing how the additive manufacturing market (i.e. the sale of machinery, materials and related services) had risen by 18% on a year to reach 9.3 billion dollars in 2018. What to predict still beautiful things for 2019 and the years to come!

What is the news that has struck you the most in additive manufacturing in 2018? Let us know what you think in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, with all the latest news in 3D printing delivered straight to your inbox!

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