Plymouth-based Materialise, a 3-D printing company, has partnered with HP, Nikon, and Essentium to bring improved productivity and connectivity to manufacturing operations. The partnerships, announced during the 2019 Rapid+TCT Conference in Detroit, are designed to support the adoption of 3-D printing by industrial manufacturers.
The company also announced strategic collaborations and innovations to its flagship software suite.
California’s HP and Materialise will collaborate in an effort to advance industrial-scale 3-D printing. Materialise has also expanded its current collaboration with HP by developing a new version of its build processor to support the full range of printers in the HP Multi Jet Fusion portfolio. In addition, the Materialise HP Build Processor 2.0 allows users to retrieve operational data from the HP machines for better production monitoring. The Materialise HP Build Processor 2.0 will be available in the second half of the year.
HP has gained certification as part of Materialise’s program to test and validate 3-D printing technology. This certification allows medical professionals to use the HP Jet Fusion 580/380 3-D printers, in combination with Mimics software technology, to print full-color anatomical models for diagnostic use and surgical planning.
Materialise was the first company in the world to receive FDA clearance for software intended for 3-D printing anatomical models for diagnostic and surgical planning uses and introduced a program for manufacturers to have their printers tested and validated. With this certification, HP joins Formlabs, Stratasys, and Ultimaker, bringing the total number of certified printer manufacturers to four.
Materialise has also announced collaboration with Japan’s Nikon, a supplier of advanced opto-electronics and precision technologies, to improve insight into the 3-D printing build process. Service-bureaus and industrial manufacturers increasingly rely on software and automation to increase productivity and efficiency in the 3-D printing process, especially for metal 3-D printing. These collaborative research activities aim to provide users more control and increase productivity through analysis of the building process.
Along with Nikon, Materialise has announced Essentium, an innovator of disruptive 3-D printing solutions for industrial additive manufacturing, as another partner. With a joint goal of advancing and scaling industrial 3-D printing, the companies have announced the integration of Materialise’s Magics Essentials software with the Essentium High Speed Extrusion 3D Printing Platform. This integration creates an open and complete platform for industrial scale 3-D manufacturing without the need to compromise accuracy or speed.
Materialise will also release Streamics 8, a new 3-D printing operations management software, in June.
Streamics 8 allows remote design departments to better interact with the production floor for optimized designs and minimized production costs. The web-based application programming interface enables easier integration of the 3-D printing production environment with existing business and manufacturing information technology systems. This represents an important step toward making 3-D printing an integral part of the overall manufacturing process.
Streamics 8 also offers features to help increase productivity, including automatic nesting process which can significantly reduce annual labor cost. Additionally, the new software automatically stores all relevant build data, such as serial numbers, process parameters, and part revisions, and makes this data available at all times.
Materialise’s new software supports both text labels and data matrix labels. Data matrix labels, which convert the alphanumerical data from standard 3-D-printed labels into a data matrix code, reduce human error and further automate the post-production process.
With the introduction of Streamics 8, Materialise paves the way toward digital rights management in 3-D printing. Materialise is working with partners to establish a true end-to-end, secure 3-D printing manufacturing process, allowing users to restrict the printing of a file to a pre-defined printer and guarantee the exact build quality or to limit the number of reprints.
In addition to Streamics 8, Materialise has also introduced the second version of its simulation software, which offers speed improvements of up to nine times and advanced simulation features. Materialise Simulation 2.0 allows operators to predict and analyze the behavior of a part during physical production by creating a virtual prototype, reducing the number of reprints and fails. Materialise Simulation 2.0 is available as an optional module with Materialise Magics 23.
Materialise incorporates nearly three decades of 3-D printing experience into a range of software solutions and 3-D printing services. Materialise’s solutions enable players in a wide variety of industries to build 3-D printing applications that aim to make the world a better and healthier place. Materialise is headquartered in Belgium.