Local Motors has completed the installation of the world’s largest composite 3D printer, the Thermwood LSAM, at its Knoxville, TN microfactory. The large-scale machine will be used to produce Local Motors’ autonomous Olli shuttle.
Local Motors has relied on large-scale additive manufacturing systems for quite some time now. In 2016, for instance, the Arizona-based company invested in two BAAM 3D printers by Cincinnati Incorporated. Now, the company seems interested in scaling up its AM capacity even more, as it has installed an LSAM system by Indiana-based company Thermwood Corporation.
Thermwood’s LSAM technology was built specifically for producing large-scale structures and parts using composite materials and an additive approach. The system is part of its line of dual gantry additive manufacturing machines that are capable of printing parts and then trimming them down for precision. The machines are also scalable and can reach up to 100 feet in length.
The LSAM system recently installed at Local Motors’ facility spans 10 feet by 40 feet (approximately 3.05 x 12 meters) and will be used to print production parts for the company’s innovative Olli vehicle, an autonomous 3D printed shuttle bus that has created a fair amount of buzz in both the AM and automotive sectors since its unveiling in 2016.
“LSAM is intended for industrial production,” writes Thermwood on its blog. “It is not a lab, evaluation or demonstration machine, but is instead a full-fledged industrial additive manufacturing system intended for the production of large scale components.”
Marking yet another step in its recent growth and expansion across the AM industry landscape, London-based 3dpbm is partnering with SmarTech Publishing, selecting the US-based market research firm as its exclusive provider of AM industry data. As per the agreement, 3dpbm will also provide AM industry-wide communication support for SmarTech’s publications and reports. The Smartech Publishing-3dpbm alliance will serve to provide more complete and widely accessible information on the latest evolutionary trends in the AM market.
SmarTech Publishing is a leading provider of vertical- and materials-specific market data, analyses and forecasts for the AM industry. The company, founded by Lawrence Gasman, has built the most extensive database for AM hardware, materials, software and part sales in every major AM vertical segment. Leveraging its unique network of industry contacts, it is able to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on the latest market trends. Over the years it has published reports on all the important revenue opportunities in the 3D printing sector including aerospace, automotive, industrial automation, 3D printing materials, medical/dental markets and other promising 3D market segments.
Through its network of online editorial properties and partners, 3dpbm is emerging as a leading reference for day-to-day product and company news, opinions and reportages from the global 3D printing landscape. 3dpbm’s own database of AM companies is today the largest global index of companies that operate within the additive manufacturing industry. The company also stands out as a specialized communication agency for the AM industry, having expanded its product offering to include a wide range of communication services through all media platforms, ranging from social media campaigns to video production, webinars and events.
“We are excited about the possibilities of working with 3dpbm to further expand our reach into the global 3D printing market” says SmarTech Founder and President, Lawrence Gasman. “We see this relationship as a key means of supporting our firm’s brand and as a platform for us to share our market data and analysis.”
With this partnership, SmarTech will become 3dpbm’s exclusive provider of market data and information for AM industry verticals. 3dpbm will provide communication and PR services as well as extensive editorial coverage for SmarTech’s publications through all its communication channels, including proprietary websites (3D Printing Media Network, Replicatore, Replicador) social media, editorial and media partnerships, newsletters, direct mailings to its community of AM professionals and more.
“SmarTech data will enable our team to offer even more accurate analyses of the market since most of the time when you really want to understand why things are happening, you just follow the money,” says 3dpbm Co-founder and CEO Davide Sher. “Our combined objective is to provide long-term research and forecasts along with quick and accurate daily news, in order to offer the most complete view of the AM market, every day.”
CIMON (Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN), the AI-based assistant for astronauts for the DLR Space Administration, developed by Airbus in cooperation with IBM, took off last Friday aboard SpaceX‘s Dragon cargo capsule and is scheduled to arrive today (June 2nd). Like many unique robots, the technology demonstrator was built using metal and plastic 3D printing processes. It is the size of a medicine ball and weighs around 5 kg. It will be tested on the ISS by Alexander Gerst during the European Space Agency’s Horizons mission scheduled to last through October 2018.
“CIMON will be the first AI-based mission and flight assistance system. We are the first company in Europe to carry a free flyer, a kind of flying brain, to the ISS and to develop artificial intelligence for the crew on board the space station,” said Manfred Jaumann, Head of Microgravity Payloads from Airbus. Pioneering work was also being done in the area of manufacturing, Jaumann continued, with the entire structure of CIMON, which is made up of plastic and metal, created using 3D printing.
CIMON is designed to support astronauts in performing routine work, for example by displaying procedures or – thanks to its ‘neural’ AI network and its ability to learn – offering solutions to problems. It uses Watson AI technology from the IBM cloud and, with its face, voice and artificial intelligence become a genuine ‘colleague’ on board.
With CIMON, crew members can do more than just work through a schematic view of prescribed checklists and procedures; they can also engage with their assistant. In this way, CIMON makes work easier for the astronauts when carrying out everyday routine tasks, helps to increase efficiency, facilitates mission success and improves security, as it can also serve as an early warning system for technical problems.
Airbus initially examined the concept for the assistance system as part of a self-financed study. Then, in August 2016, the Bonn-based DLR Space Administration commissioned Airbus’ aerospace experts to carry out the project. Since then, a 50-strong project team comprising members from Airbus, DLR, IBM and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) has been working to ensure that CIMON takes shape and is brought to life: the system is learning to orientate itself and move around, it accumulates knowledge with the help of Watson AI technology and is training to recognise its human partners.
Amongst other things, the Watson AI was trained using voice samples and photos of Alexander Gerst, and procedures and plans of the Columbus module of the International Space Station were loaded into the database. Alexander Gerst also had a say in the selection of CIMON’s screen face and computer voice so that he, too, could ‘make friends’ with his electronic colleague.
Once the functional testing of the system has been completed, Gerst will work in Space with CIMON a total of three times: They will experiment with crystals, work together to solve the Rubik’s cube and perform a complex medical experiment using CIMON as an ‘intelligent’ flying camera.
In its first Space mission, CIMON will only be equipped with a selected range of capabilities. In the medium term, aerospace researchers also plan to use the CIMON project to examine group effects that can develop over a long period of time in small teams and that may arise during long-term missions to the Moon or Mars. Social interaction between people and machines, between astronauts and assistance systems equipped with emotional intelligence, could play an important role in the success of long-term missions. Airbus’ developers are convinced that, here on Earth, developments of the assistance system could also find future use in hospitals and social care.
CIMON will get its first ‘taste of space’ as early as March 2018: the 31st DLR parabolic flight campaign will focus in particular on testing and optimizing GNC algorithms (Guidance, Navigation and Control) under zero-G conditions.
Since partnering with shipbuilding company Fincantieri last month, Australian metal AM company Titomic has signed a Material Science Testing (MST) agreement with Fincantieri Australia. The agreement is the first step in evaluating Titomic’s Kinetic Fusion technology’s viability for Fincantieri’s manufacturing processes.
As part of the new agreement, Titomic will conduct various tests on a Fincantieri specified alloy (following ASTM International Standards) using its AM process to achieve desired mechanical and chemical properties. The tests will include hardness, strength, porosity and chemistry analysis tests. The goal of these tests will be to offer insight into the material properties, performance and costs of Titomic’s additive manufacturing process.
“We are pleased to kick off this first project with Fincantieri as part of our MoU,” said Jeff Lang, CTO of Titomic. “We will be producing test samples at our new state of the art facility in Melbourne in order to conduct the stringent tests required. This is the first step towards manufacturing large marine parts on our metal 3D printers of limitless scale.”
As part of the companies’ agreement, Titomic’s technology and operational team recently made a trip to the Riva Trigoso Shipyard in Italy to learn how Fincantieri’s mechanical ship components are designers, developed and produced. Eventually, the aim is to transfer Fincantieri’s marine technology to Australia.
“Titomic’s technology combined with Fincantieri’s technology transfer program to Australia creates the potential to return Australia’s capability in mechanical componentry,” said Sean Costello, Director at Fincantieri Australia. “Our aim is to return high-value jobs to Australia, reduce costs and become sovereign as a shipbuilding nation.”
May 14: Titomic signs MoU with Fincantieri
In a world first for AM adoption by the Marine sector, Titomic signed a MoU to work with Fincantieri to evaluate the potential for the Company’s additive manufacturing process, Titomic Kinetic Fusion, to be used in Fincantieri’s manufacturing activities. Effective immediately and with a 12 months duration, Titomic’s signing with Fincantieri explores the Company’s proprietary processes to complement and improve existing manufacturing process and is the start of a synergistic partnership.
“This agreement with Fincantieri marks a significant milestone for future shipbuilding and industrial scale additive manufacturing,” said Jeff Lang, CEO and CTO of Titomic. “Titomic’s signing with Fincantieri to evaluate our Titomic Kinetic Fusion process will not only add value to existing manufacturing and repair activities, it will lead to the creation of next generation high tech vessels.”
With 20 shipyards across four continents, Fincantieri S.p.A is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation. It is the leader in cruise ship design and construction, and a reference player in all high-tech shipbuilding industry sectors – from naval to offshore vessels, from high-complexity special vessels and ferries – to mega-yachts, ship repairs and conversions, systems and equipment production, and after-sales services.
Fincantieri also carries out maintenance and refurbishment of cruise ships – a major and growing international industry. The company is also one of the shortlisted bidders for The Future Frigates SEA 5000 program. Titomic was awarded Best Maritime Innovation award at Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition. This MoU affirms Titomic’s entrance into the shipbuilding and offshore industries. The initial R&D phase will take place at Titomic’s Melbourne facility.
Dario Deste, Chairman of Fincantieri Australia also commented on the deal: “We are pleased to partner with Titomic, an innovative advanced manufacturing company, to pursue new technological development, continuous improvement and value creation for all our stakeholders. The significance of this partnership examines how we can introduce new manufacturing technologies to make Australia sovereign in advanced naval technology and improve our solutions on the world-wide market.”
Founded in 2009 as a consumer-oriented 3D printing service, France-based Sculpteo has grown into something more over the past decade. Serving a more professional market, the 3D printing and laser cutting service now operates a range of sophisticated 3D printing factories in France and the United States and is seeking to diversify and expand its …