Over recent years, the adoption of 3D printing technologies continues to rise, and an increased number of industries and businesses start to explore the possibilities for their needs. New collaborations and partnerships on a level of technology, materials, applications and manufacturing methods continue to evolve. Recently, Nexa3D and Henkel have joined the scene with the launch of three new high-performing polymers.Here’s the latest!
Nexa3D and Henkel – A Photopolymer Marriage
Early 2020, Henkel, a true collaborative materials firm, has never been shy to task on new adventures that help to take 3D printing to a next level. The collaboration with Nexa3D dates back to early 2020 when they released a medical-grade polypropylene-like 3D printing material (named ‘xMed412’), and a multipurpose photopolymer for rapid prototyping (‘xPRO410’). The latest generation of photopolymers that was recently launched, offers a durable solution for high-performance prototyping.
The recent developments came about with the goal to boost mass production capabilities for any industry, offering enhanced options for 3D printing a greater range of items from shoes to housings to packaging and much more.
New Materials – New Industries
There are three new material variations available, all of them suited for use with the Nexa NXE400 3D printer.The first material, xPP405-BLACK, is a semi-rigid print material with high-impact resistance. The material performs similar to propylene (unfilled). It is tough yet has a sleek industrial black finish and boasts 130 percent tensile elongation at failure. This material is well-suited for creating for example housings, enclosures, piping or packaging in manufacturing and engineering applications.
xPEEK147-BLACK, the other black alternative, is the preferred option when ‘toughness’ and a good surface finish are needed for tooling or molding applications. Whereas xPP405-BLACK is mainly developed for engineering and design environments, xPEEK black is initially developed keeping an eye on the direction of use in end-parts. Even for demanding applications, such as automotive industries, xPEEK147-BLACK is a fairly interesting material. The temperature resistance goes up to 230°C and it has high stiffness while providing long-term thermal stability with good solvent resistance and dimensional stability.
Clear 3D Printing for Entry Lighting Applications
While a black opaque material may be fine for a broad range of applications, having a clear material could be beneficial too in many situations. When creating ‘translucent objects’, such as 3D printing bottles, light pipes, packaging, or other products that need to include lighting applications, xPP405-CLEAR provides a see-through alternative. Again, ‘durability’ and ‘toughness’ are the keywords, along with having a high-impact resistance. The material offers a generally low heat deflection temperature between 50°C and 60°C with a 130 percent tensile elongation at failure.
Whether you are just starting to delve into 3D printing or looking for new material solutions, the partnership between Nexa3D and Henkel brings some interesting options to the table. Both companies are committed to democratizing access to scalable additive polymer solutions empowering customers to own their supply chain throughout their entire product life cycle. Starting from design to production and aftermarket success.
We’re always keen to see new options arrive that help to reduce the total cost of ownership, while delivering higher productivity, extended lifespan, and exceptional economics. At our end, we keep tracking the partnership with great interest!
FutureWave is a Belgium based product agency founded by designers and engineers with a passion for cutting-edge technology. With a deep background in design, technology, and digital fields, it is their goal to offer an integrated service for applications in automotive, electronics, furniture, lighting among other markets. The agency’s combined competencies allow them to work together, gather their skills, and tackle in detail every aspect in the conception of a qualitative product.KIT Lighting is one of their latest creatures, which made us decide to take a deeper dive into FutureWave.
FutureWave: Crafting Unique Experiences
FutureWave tightly combines designers and engineers to craft unique experiences. From the initial idea to final production of the parts, the agency focuses on the design and development of its products on innovation, aesthetics, interactions and performances by coupling designers and engineers over the whole process. KNIT Lighting is one of their latest concepts, fully produced by using advanced 3D printing technologies.
KNIT Lighting: Designed to Build Emotions
The KNIT lighting solution is made out of recycled PET. The closed-loop shape of this light is meant to work in correlation with 3D printing. The structure of the object follows a “vase-mode” process in order to print continuously without interruption. This process saves time and energy. The organic and soft curves of the light are in contrast with repetitive perpendicular stratification lines marked by the printer, which play a role in the refraction of the light. The process is part of the aesthetic language of the object and manifests the importance attached to its materials.
Design Approaches for innovative Technologies
According to Joachim Froment, Co-Founder of the agency and designer of ‘KNIT Lighting’, it was quite a challenge to design the Knit lighting because the idea was to deform the linear LED source into a more organic curve. Around this project, the main concept was to play around with the refraction of the light.
Froment loved to see how the light vibrates in traditional chandeliers made in crystal. So, he was wondering if it was possible to use recycled plastic and new 3D printing technologies to reproduce a contemporary version of the same principle of light refraction. Initially, he found it was nearly impossible. It was rather an instinct, a dream combined with some material and technology understandings. But it is through the making and the ongoing experiments that eventually it happened to become a physical product. Products communicate stories starting in the early process of the making, which is very important to consider when designing for a new lighting concept.
It’s not Silicon Valley and it’s not a collection of boffins in a “think-tank’, but in a light industrial precinct of Thomastown, one company may be changing the future of a worldwide industry:Limelite – an Australia based company, fabricates the next-generation light fixtures at the inhouse ‘Limelite 3D Printing Hub’. At 3DPrinting.Lighting, we’ve got some deep and exclusive insights in Limelite’s activities and, in addition, we had the privilege to speak to Paul Hearne, Limelite’s CEO, and get his deeper outlooks in his philosophy regarding the future of advanced lighting manufacture.
From Traditional to Additive Manufacture
A couple of years ago Paul Hearne, the founder of Limelite, attended a seminar on 3D printing at the Swinburne University of Technology. All of a sudden, Paul realized the flexibility offered by additive technologies could help build more customized luminaires at a lower cost and with great added value, in contrast to having them fabricated in traditional ways.
What began as a premature discovery ended up in a restructuring of his company, including an expansion of his facilities and the appointment of a specialized internal design and manufacturing team. Ultimately, Limelite moved from a project lighting company advising end-users on the lighting solutions of their needs, to an advanced 3D manufacturing business in only a few short years. From ‘selling fixtures made by others’ to create their own range of ‘customized 3D printed luminaires’.
To make change happen, Paul and his design team – led by his Chief Designer Nigel Brockbank – launched a joint project with industrial designers working at Swinburne University. As a result, the ‘On Track’ lighting collection was born, the first lighting Limelite range that was almost entirely 3D printed. The ‘On Track’ range was designed for additive manufacturing from scratch. After the moment the first 3D printed Luminaires hit the market, Limelite started to expand its 3D printing operations. At the moment of writing, it includes the production of three collections of Luminaires along with custom-made jigs supporting Limelite’s traditional manufacturing plants.
The Limelite 3D Printing Hub: Future Proof and ready for (further) take off!
LimeLite 3D Printing Hub
The Limelite investment in their own 3D Printing Hub was intended to achieve a number of goals.
First, the aim was to expand its business into the decorative lighting market, while still offering the commercial smarts. To date, Limelite had experience in providing standardized lighting solutions for educational buildings and medical facilities. Decorative lighting was a different story because the Luminaires had to fit skillfully designed interiors of aged care, offices, schools, hotels or cafes. Apart from getting the design right, the traditional manufacturing costs in this field proved to be higher as the 3D printed decorative lighting range and now also offer a much greater variety.
Secondly, Paul and his team realized that through the application of 3D Printing technologies, Limelite would get access to a range of unique features and benefits that were not available through conventional fabrication, such as molding technology. This would add significant value for the company and its customer base. In the section here after, we break them down for you in more detail.
Finally, growing a ‘future-proof-company’ requires some serious ‘forward-thinking’. Paul and his team believe that the future of fabrication is vastly different from today. 3D Printing will change the way products are designed, fabricated and transported. Limelite is about the ‘localization’ of manufacturing. With their innovations in the advanced manufacture with 3D printing as a process, they aim to create “Point of difference” luminaires. Limelite has found a creative and scalable way of doing business, utilizing ‘Industry 4.0 Thinking’ with a just-in-time methodology.
3D Printing Benefits for LimeLite
By setting up the 3D Printing Hub, Limelite got access to a range of interesting benefits, that put them in a unique competitive edge in the lighting market. While allowing tremendous flexibility of design, 3D printing also gives the business a number of very practical benefits. Let’s breakdown some of the advantages they now have access to in relation to their business:
On-Demand Production: While injection molding is obviously faster, speed is not critical in decorative lighting. Making thousands of luminaires in a week rather than in a couple of months is easily possible, but then you are also forced to keep stock and pay for it. With 3D printing on-site, production is closely matched to demand. Limelite makes the luminaires after the orders come in. At the end of the day, using 3D printers for production is cheaper than injection molding, when tooling and storage costs are included.
EnhancedCustomization: Customization of Light Fittings. Customers buying Limelite luminaires can ask for slightly ‘tweaked’ designs. For example, if a luminaire has a visible heat sink at the back and the customer wants it covered, that’s easily doable with only a small design change. With traditional manufacturing technologies, they would have to pay for retooling just to make the housing longer to cover the heat sink. With 3D printing the design could be adjusted in a couple of hours and printed accordingly.
Easy Design Iterations: Absorbing and implementing new technologies that appear on the lighting market brings along challenges in design. To give an example: if a next-gen light sensor comes to the scene, and it needs to be incorporated in the design, integrating this new sensor would take weeks or months if it had to be done with injection molding. With 3D printers, we could integrate this sensor in days.
No Tooling/Inventory: In fact, Limelite has no costs for tooling and storage. Typically, both 3D printing and injection molding are used for production. Standardized parts, like the ones with which a pendant fixture that’s attached to a ceiling, are injection molded. Decorative elements that bring out a particular style of the lamp are 3D printed. For the initial one, dozens if not hundreds of parts need to be sourced, components for the latter one can be produced to demand.
No-post Processing Needed: At this point, Limelite does not use any post-processing for their 3D printed luminaires. They are happy with the quality of surfaces and consistency of the 3D printers, and decided to use the fine detail layering of the print process as a ‘design gift’. Currently, they see no reasons for post-processing the physical, but it is not to say it is not going to change in the future when further optimizations can be done or value can be added.
Shortened Cycle Times: With the 3D Printing Hub in house, it takes 3 days to go from a sketch to a functional luminaire. Roughly, Limelite’s Hub can produce roughly 20 fixtures a day. Typically, from the 30 available 3D printers, 20 are used for production while 10 are busy running new prototype lamps, jigs and components for conventional products. This baseload can be scaled up overnight to meet increased demand. Limelite has designed room in its Hub for over 150 printers, designing for the future.
Easy Assembly: Also, the assembly can be significantly eased. It’s possible for to produce parts that simply clip into each other so there is no need for using glues or screws to put them together. In the assembly, the entire process turned out to be quite cost-effective. Additionally, this can also reduce assembly fatigue on staff, improving workplace health and safety too.
Cost-Efficiency: Last but not least: 3D printers allow them to achieve designs that are difficult or downright impossible to achieve with injection molding technology. With the lack of storage and tooling costs, 3D printed lamps are price-competitive. Although added value remains the primary driver, having moderate pricing for exclusive products is a welcome additional benefit. It all helps Limelite to compete and win against low-priced imports while giving our customers unique designs and better quality in the bargain. A true win-win scenario!
Lighting a New Way Forward
There’s another factor at work at Limelite and that boils down to passion for the job. Limelite began as a family company operating out of a garage. When you do that, you simply have to love what you do or you won’t last long. Limelite wants everyone who works here to be excited about the future of this company. After all, it’s their employees’ future too, so they encourage people to learn and grow.
“We come to work each morning knowing we’re making a difference. I reckon that excites us all!”
The company is also adamant that no item bearing its brand will leave the factory without being thoroughly tested. It’s important that Limelite customers know what they’re getting – and that it works exactly the way it should. Every single light made is thoroughly tested – it’s another edge they have over the cheap imports.
Limelite is steadily growing as a manufacturer and marketer of 3D printed commercial and architectural lighting, and is one of the first of its kind in the world to recognize and harness the potential of 3D printing. According to Limelite CEO, Paul Hearne, the revolution has just begun.
Are you equipped for the next Lighting Revolution? The Lighting Research Center (LRC), conducting research and development activities in the application of 3D printing to lighting since 2015, is sharing the knowledge they gained to date in a six-week, interactive, online course on the application of 3D printing to the design, development, and manufacturing of lighting components and products. The LRC 3D Printing Course will begin on September 30, 2020, and will run through November 18, 2020.
The 3D Printing Revolution has Begun
Additive manufacturing (AM), more commonly known as 3D printing, is poised to revolutionize the lighting industry. The revolution has already begun with a handful of designers setting the pace and some OEM manufacturers now offering 3D-printed lighting fixtures to the commercial market, but it’s just a glimpse of what’s more to come. It is expected that 3D printing will offer many benefits in the manufacturing of components for lighting systems, including the fabrication of cost-effective unique parts that cannot be made using traditional manufacturing methods, such as differentiating custom optics, heatsinks and flexible PCB and fixture designs.
3D Printing Course for Lighting Professionals
The course brought to you in an online setting, will provide training in the application of 3D printing to the design, prototyping, and manufacturing of lighting system components, and give participants the knowledge and skills needed to begin applying this technology in their own companies.
The course is designed for professionals from the lighting, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and related industries to understand the possibilities of 3D printing for lighting and to learn more about each industry’s needs and capabilities.
Luximprint, a leader in offering multi-market prototyping services for Printed Optics and Optographix based in The Netherlands and SilvaCo Optics, a renowned California based optics, sensors and components consulting practice announced this week the partnership they entered into for marketing Luximprint solutions in California. An interesting move that makes access to rapid prototyping services for custom optics easier in the Silicon Valley surroundings.Here’s the latest.
Printed LED Optics – Fast, Flexible and Cost-Effective
Rapid prototyping services for custom optics are an interesting approach for designers and engineers working with light. Thanks to the optical 3D printing process, a proprietary solution by Luximprint to generate custom optics, tailored parts are available in days, which enables a fast, flexible and cost-effective engineering job when it comes to the development and implementation of new high tech systems in multi-market applications.
The direct ‘CAD-to-Optic’ manufacturing process from Luximprint grows optical clarity parts additively, aiming to offer a novel approach to validate optics designs, justify mold-tooling investments, as well as to create inspirational and functional mock-ups for event and user demonstration.
Printed Optics Come to Sillicon Valley
By having SilvaCo appointed as a local sales agent, needs centering around optics and photonics applications can now easily be addressed, just in time. Peter Silva, Principal of SilvaCo, was raised and educated in Silicon Valley when the South Bay was more orchards than manufacturing and before there was high tech. SilvaCo will work diligently to help find a solution that can satisfy customers that are in search of fast, flexible and cost-effective solutions in custom optics and other 3D printed solutions as marketed by Luximprint.
Custom Optics in Days by SilvaCo Optics
Companies located at the US West Coast in search of rapid prototyping custom optics solutions are encouraged to contact SilvaCo to discuss their next projects and utilize the powerful benefits of optical 3D printing. With typical lead times of 5-10 business days and global delivery with local support, rapid availability of custom optics is now guaranteed!
After over two years of intense research & development, the Seattle based company ‘Lightart’ finally shared its new ‘Coil Collection’ with the world. An exciting, 3D printed series of new pendants created from upcycled waste. These distinct matte fixtures have a look and feel like pottery, spun and handcrafted. Unexpected from fixtures produced through additive manufacturing.
A Unique Merge of Design and Upcycled Materials Science
How can we make recycled content look as good as possible? This was the key question during the product development phase for LightArt’s founder Ryan Smith and his team: “This is where things started to get really challenging. When we first started, it did not look polished—it looked like what you might expect when you’re trying to turn garbage into something beautiful. But we kept following the promise of the process, and made something we’re so proud of.”
The new Coil Collection addresses a central question the industry is facing: What can we do with waste? The team worked with the engineering division of parent company 3form to figure out what the base material possibilities were, and pushed the boundaries in collaboration with other polymer companies across the US to tap into collective expertise and drive for innovation.
Upcycling Plastic into Pendants: The Coil Collection
LightArt’s Coil Collection is made from internal waste material, but the brand hopes to expand the practice throughout the industry over time, as the LightArt facility strives to become a manufacturer of goods that are net positive in climate, waste, and energy.
Visually Appealing Content, Curvatures and Distinct Geometries
The design team of LightArt aimed for recognized classic pendant shapes focused on distinct geometry and curvature with a matte finish, giving the fixtures a pottery-like quality. The textured finish, inherent to the additive manufacturing process, is complemented by subtle algorithmic adjustments to achieve a handmade, one-of-a-kind feel.
The LightArt tdesignersfinally chose seven elegant shapes, deliberately defining the endless options afforded by additive manufacturing to create a curated product with a distinct LightArt feel. Departing from what is expected from a 3D printed item, the form is textured, tactile, and unique.
In design, recycling and sustainable innovation cannot be the sole drivers for innovation —the product has to be attractive, too. LightArt wanted the color and aesthetic of the Coil Collection to have a distinct value. Sorting the colors of the waste through new technology, the company came up with a monochrome black and white palette for the pendants.
We at 3DPrinting.Lighting will keep following LightArt with great interest and report upon the availability of new and sustainable concepts!
Interplay Lighting is an Eatonton, GA, United States-based manufacturer of 3D printed decorative lighting fixtures. Passionate about light, they love to play with light and reveal its power and beauty in ways that have never been done before. Interplay is anti-mass-produced, soulless, generic lighting, and tries to establish a new standard in elegant and customized lighting to fight ‘old-school’, ordinary, and cookie-cutter lighting.
25 Years Breakthrough Lighting Experiences
The team at Interplay Lighting has a proven track record of creating breakthrough lighting products for over 25 years renowned firms, such as Cree Lighting. They hold dozens of patents on some of the most significant lighting innovations over the last two decades.
With the introduction of the 3D printed lighting concept, Interplay is providing access to a new range of commercial lighting, architectural lighting and residential lighting solution taking benefit of unparalleled design freedom.
3D Printing Your Light Imagination
Today we’re able to print our imagination in ways never dreamt of before. 3D printing technologies make it possible to create designs traditional manufacturing processes can’t. The results are stunning designs that capture the magic of light in ways that haven’t been seen before.
The layerwise building process of most 3D printing methodologies create fabric like appearances that looks soft, but are incredibly durable. And with countless material and color options, there is a look that’s just right for your setting to be lit.
“Give your home an instant upgrade with unparalleled lighting that makes people say “Wow!”
The company is another interesting start-up in the lighting arena that utilizes the power of 3D Printing to create unique and customized light experiences.
Interplay just launched a series of pendants and desk lamps based on the classic medium-base socket/cord/canopy design. You can visit their offering and easily buy via the online store.
We have added them to our ‘to watch’ list and will share more news upon availability!
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading safety science company based in Northbrook, Illinois,recently published its research findings detailing the effects of 3D printing on safety-critical polymer performance properties. The UL 3D Printing Research study findings have been used to develop a framework for evaluating and qualifying materials, helping stakeholders across the additive manufacturing (AM) supply chain to mitigate risk and deliver quality and performance.
UL 3D Printing Research Study
The key topics UL investigated include flammability, ignition and electrical properties of samples that were 3D printed against samples manufactured using conventional, injection-molded methods. UL Researchers identified significant safety and performance variations and concluded that performance ratings from traditional manufacturing techniques cannot be applied when the same material is used in a 3D printing process to print a 3D part.
UL Blue Card Certification Program
In response, UL has developed a certification program for plastics for additive manufacturing (Blue Card), The UL Blue Card presents the data necessary to ensure the integrity and usefulness of materials intended for 3D printing and 3D printed components and products. A Blue Card is automatically issued when a material intended for 3D printing receives a UL Recognized Component Mark.
“UL Researchers identified significant safety and performance variations and concluded that performance ratings from traditional mFG. techniques cannot be applied IN 3D pRINTING”
UL Certified AM materials are published in UL’s publicly available Product iQTM database, making them searchable to thousands of manufacturers looking for a certified 3D material. By using an independently tested and certified 3D material, end-product manufacturers can save time and money certifying their end-products or systems. As Blue Cards are specific to a 3D printer, a 3D printer manufacturer can also certify material for explicit use on his equipment.
Designed by Ammunition and made possible by Gantri’s radical approach to manufacturing, three new collections of lighting are now available for people seeking a better approach to design, craft and sustainability as they shape and illuminate their spaces. Named ‘Carve’, ‘Gio’ and ‘Signal’, the three collections are inspired by Gantri’s 3D printing platform and the intricate, organic and unexpected possibilities it provides compared to conventional manufacturing.
The Collection: Designed by Ammunition – Fabricated by Gantri
Sustainably produced using a corn-based material and manufactured in California, each light is 3D printed on-demand, hand-assembled and finished, in a process that feels less like industry and more like artistry.
Featuring table, floor and wall-mounted lights, the lighting range includes next collections:
1. Signal Collection
The Signal collection features louvered slats that are fused to the main body of each light through 3D printing technologies. The slats were inspired by the functional aspects of exterior architectural louvers used to bring light and air inside.
2. Carve Collection
The Carve Collection’s monolithic forms and seamless surfaces feel carved from stone rather than assembled like conventionally manufactured objects.
3. Gio Collection
The Gio Collection is inspired by Italian Lighting Designs of the 1970’s that sought to remake and refresh historic archetypes through new materials and processes. The unique character of the lights came to life by manipulating and rationalizing classical geometric elements so they interact with each other in playful ways.
Ammunition and Gantri Designer Toolkit
In addition to bringing floor and wall lighting into the Gantri platform, Ammunition also worked together to create an improved process and toolkit that makes it easier for any designer to make use Gantri. This major update offers designers the freedom and flexibility to create while maintaining Gantri’s high standards for materials, additive manufacturing, packaging, pricing, shipping, and user experience.
Germany based lighting manufacturer OSRAM approached XTPL, a technology provider of ultra-precise printing based in Wrocław, Poland for a cooperation in the field of additively fabricating conductive connections. OSRAM is looking for effective technological solutions to address the challenges connected with the manufacture of future generations of lighting elements, and it is the XTPL printing technology that might provide a answer to their needs.
XTPL and OSRAM Cooperation
OSRAM has decided to cooperate with XTPL to evaluate the technology for creating specific conductive connections. XTPL is a company developing globally innovative, additive manufacturing technology that enables ultra-precise printing of nanomaterials with a precision of 1-8 micrometers.
Additive Manufacturing Technology for Various Applications
The unique XTPL printing system allows for precise deposition of an in-house formulated nano ink on a variety of substrates to obtain conductive and nonconductive submicron structures. The potential industrial application of the XTPL method in the lighting industry is proof of its platform character which allows it to be used in a number of fast-growing high technology industries.
The purpose of the agreement signed by both partners is to confirm the parameters of the technology developed and commercialized by XTPL and to assess the possibility of implementing it in OSRAM’s production processes.
OSRAM and its Track Record in the Lighting Industry
OSRAM is a global player in the lighting industry. Together with GE Lighting and Signify, it is one of the three largest manufacturers of lighting equipment in the world. The enterprise also develops and manufactures optoelectronic materials. OSRAM operates as part of a corporate group which in the financial year 2018/2019 generated revenue of nearly EUR 3.5 billion. The group has a highly developed research and development arm with almost 18,000 patents and patent applications in its portfolio. In 2019, OSRAM allocated more than 11% of its annual revenue to R&D activities.
Solutions for Displays and Smart Glass Industries
A solution similar to the one sought by our partner has been partly developed by XTPL during work on a technology dedicated to repairing open defects in displays and the smart glass industry. As a result, XTPL can start cooperation with OSRAM at the proof of concept stage, without first going through a several months-long research project related to the opening of new application fields. For many years, the lighting industry has been looking towards increased use of light-emitting semiconductor materials that convert electrical energy into light energy. They are used in LED lighting and OLED.
The Global Lighting Industry
The size of the global LED lighting market in 2019 is estimated at almost $70 billion, and is expected to be driven towards $100 billion by 2023, which means a rapid growth of 9% (CAGR 2019-2023). This makes it a very interesting and promising sector for the Polish company.
At 3DPrinting.Lighting, we’re following these interesting cross-market partnerships with great interest and will report upon further developments once they appear.
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