Over 200 industry professionals recently gathered to celebrate a multitude of achievements and outstanding contributions to the 3D printing and additive manufacturing sector. The 3-course dinner was held at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, as part of the 2023 edition of TCT3Sixty, UK’s main AM event.

The night saw 11 winners in total, alongside 11 projects and organisations recognised as highly commended. Two main categories were recognized:

  • the Innovation categories celebrate developments in additive manufacturing hardware, software, materials and post processing.
  • and the Applications categories that celebrate how 3D technologies are applied to give real life improvements from financial and business to social, environmental and educational.

The Applications category

Hyphen Innovation harnesses AM to assist DoD and aerospace companies in developing low-cost and damage resistant systems for future air defense strategies, efficient propulsion solutions, and general aviation applications.

As part of a project with United States Air Force and Perceptive Engineering Analytics, the company has developed a vibration suppression method called inherent Damping via Additive Manufacturing Processes (i-DAMP) that has been developed to allow the suppression of vibration stresses by up to 95% in critical turbine engine parts. This method can reduce manufacturing time of advanced small compressor suites by more than 90%.

In automotive & rail, Markforged stood out from the crowd by supporting Larsen Motorsports, in the design and production of a custom Continuous Carbon Fiber reinforced Onyx™ steering wheel. Larsen Motorsports builds jet engine drag racing vehicles that race at speeds of over 280mph; the company relied on Markforged Simulation to additively manufacture its steering wheel. The design was customised to the driver’s hand shape to maximise safety, and took the lead-time from 8 days to 2 days.

In consumer product application, AM service provider Shapeways was ahead of the curve by giving life to Microsoft Adaptive Accessories. The latter consists of an Adaptive Mouse, Adaptive Hub, and three Adaptive Buttons, designed to empower users who may have difficulty using a traditional mouse and keyboard to increase their PC productivity and create their ideal setup. Users can customise adaptive accessories with 3D printed add-ons like mouse tails and button toppers to fit their unique needs using the Shapeways Configurator.

Mackinnon and Saunders, a developer and producer of animated television shows, pilots and commercials, shone in the creative application area. They created Pinocchio, the world’s first stop motion puppet in a major movie to be animated with an armature created with 3D metal printed technology. The most significant innovation was the ability to combine and print the organic detailing with the armature itself. This allowed the creation of stronger, more durable puppets, which retained a delicacy of design seen in traditional techniques.

In healthcare, Triastek, a global healthcare company, developing medicines with proprietary 3D printing technology, worked with Eli Lilly, Merck KgA and Siemens on the development of an application for the pharmaceutical industry. The partners used Triastek’s Melt-Extrusion Deposition (MED®) technology, a pharmaceutical 3D printing technology that would ensure more effective drug delivery, while controlling when, where and how much API is released.

In Industrial Product Application, Lincoln Electric Additive Solutions distinguished itself through its collaboration with Chevron to qualify and manufacture pressure components that were installed in a hydrogen furnace of a Chevron refinery. The large-scale components weighed 225kg and were printed with nickel 617 wire using gas metal/wire arc AM (WAAM). In less than a month, Lincoln Electric delivered production parts totalling over 2,500 kg of deposited wire.

The Innovation category

Mantle’s TrueShape system convinced the assembly in the non-polymer systems field. The company’s solution prints precision injection mould tooling components at a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. Integrating extrusion 3D printing of Mantle’s metal pastes with precision CNC machining, it produces parts with the accuracy and surface finish required for tooling. Parts are then sintered in Mantle’s F-200 furnace resulting in durable tool steel components.

In the polymer area, Formlabs Automation Ecosystem caught people’s attention as it enables a scalable fleet of- multi-user, multi-material 3D printers. Using a combination of Form Auto part removal, Fleet Control software management, and High Volume Resin, the Automation Ecosystem reduces the amount of operator labour and minimises idle printer time so users can efficiently produce end-use parts at a lower cost-per-unit.

Material producer 6K stole the show in the materials segment. The company collaborated with several organizations to analyse real-world data to capture the holistic impacts of AM part production. The outcome shows that in combination, 6K’s UniMelt plasma production process and Ni718 high-quality metal AM powder produced from scrap, was shown to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions compared to conventional atomisation processes.

With its brand-new Powerfuse S PP, a green vapor polishing solution for polypropylene (PP), DyeMansion won the hearts of many in the post-processing area. The process uses a 100% bio-based non-toxic fluid in a closed loop system to smooth 3D-printed PP. The part benefits go far beyond aesthetics, including scratch resistance, impermeability to liquids, washable, and eliminates bacteria formation.

Not surprisingly, the power of Ai Build’s AiSync’s advanced software platform has been recognized. The solution supports a broad range of toolpath generation capabilities. Through integration with OpenAi’s natural language model GPT, “Talk to AiSync” makes that process intuitive by using basic text commands to generate production ready 3D print files. AiSync Defect Detection Capability validates end part integrity and immediately alerts users to 3D print defects.

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Corporate communication and marketing expert by training at 3D Adept, Kety is currently leading the publication’s editorial and content activities. She has a unique gift for knowing how to grab an audience's attention on insights that matter – in this case, everything related to additive manufacturing. She believes that a wide range of innovations still have to be discovered about the technologies that shape the world of tomorrow and she has made it her objective at 3D ADEPT Media.